With the break in the heat, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to get out and see how the Southeast Arizona grasslands were faring with all the rain we've been getting in the last few weeks. So I wasn't upset at all when the rest of the crew backed out of the Pinelano camping trip. After a little debate, I settled on Cochise Stronghold as the perfect blend of photo ops for Tibber, a reasonably easy hike to try out my healing knee and some primo camping.
The Stronghold never disappoints, and it was really pulling out the stops for us this time! Water in every creek we crossed (even some that I was pretty sure are nearly always dry), critters at every turn, wildflowers, blooming grasses and perfect temperatures. I felt like it was a little gift meant just for Angela and I - especially since we were the only two on the trail past the 1/2 mile mark.
The trail on the west side of the divide is in rough shape in spots - but it's easy enough to follow. It's more a case of deep ruts, loose slopes falling off the mountain and downed trees. However, with a little care and creativity we waltzed right through to the waterfall. Last time I did this hike was in a wet winter, and there was water in the fall, but just a drip. This time there was a decent flow, and it made for a delightful spot to sit and get your rump wet
Originally, I wanted take the little use trail down into the West Stronghold Canyon to see about campsites down there. However, I knew that if there was too much water on my previous visit to explore without getting wet, it would be worse this time. Just gotta prepare for some splashing - I think there's more water up there than we give credit for.
Our hike out was just as delightful as the hike in, with the afternoon light hitting the rocks and creating warm colors and stark contrasts. It was perfect to hike out and camp at the campground there - it let us continue the enjoyment well into the night. The bugs were bad, and the campfire was difficult (wet!) - but we managed and soon I was swinging in my hammock under a starry sky. Perfect.
The next day we hit Bisbee on our way back to town, which was a first for Angela. I just love that funky hillside town - and though it was getting warm I managed to drag us over a pretty fair portion of it (even a staircase or two). I'm lucky to have Angela to follow me around on these adventures - she's always so positive and full of wonder at it all.
Overall, another miserable weekend in the Sonoran Desert (to steal a phrase from a friend)...