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Cochise Stronghold Trail #279
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mini location map2016-10-04
49 by photographer avatarDevilChild
photographer avatar
page 1   2   3   4
 
Cochise Stronghold Trail #279Tucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Oct 04 2016
DevilChild
Hiking9.64 Miles 1,989 AEG
Hiking9.64 Miles   6 Hrs   9 Mns   1.88 mph
1,989 ft AEG   1 Hour   2 Mns Break15 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
I've wanted to hike in the Dragoon Mountains for years and finally said now is the time. Gathered my gear for a planned overnight camp at the West Stronghold Trail Head to do an out and back early in the morning. In my mind sounded much better than waking up 3am in Phoenix.

One thing I learned quickly after passing Benson on the drive in is to NOT trust google for directions. The shortest route was blocked due to private roads. Had to make a detour back with longer drive on the 80, Middlemarch Road, and the forest roads. Somewhat frustrating as I had planned to arrive, set up camp, and then hike in to watch the sunset. That plan went out the window and I was happy to have just enough light to set up camp. Forest road was definite 4wd only and had to make 2 minor water crossings and one moderate one. Had a nice cold night listening to an extremely active forest with lots of critters making noise all night long. Awesome.

A heavily shaded and wooded camp site quickly changed to stunning views of the Dragoon Mountains and mind blowing formations of Cochise granite. The climb was nice and steady through overgrowth of grasses and wildflowers. My hiking time slowed substantially as I just could not help myself from stopping and taking pictures of everything I encountered. There were fresh signs of wildlife from the past night or days with javelina tracks/scat, deer tracks, and some fresh bear scat which naturally put me on higher alert.

Halfmoon Tank was filled to the brim from what I assume was recent rains, hiking past this spot turned me into a blood donation service for the tanks hordes of mosquitos. I was surprised by the abundance of water. There was water flowing in spots I had not heard about on this site or other sources. Even encountered a full pond of water of what I assume was an abandoned livestock watering tank. I had trouble finding John's Well so I couldn't get a water report for this source.

I was so impressed with the overall experience that I am eager to return for more camping and to explore Middlemarch Canyon and Slavin Gulch trails. Cochise Stronghold and the Dragoon Mountains gave me just what I was looking for including a sense of the history, the geology, flora & fauna, relaxation, and a damn fun hike.

Dragoons, I love you!
Named place
Named place
Halfmoon Tank
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Moderate
Plenty of wildflower overgrowth along the trail. In some sections hiking through wildflowers trying to obscure the trail.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Halfmoon Tank 76-100% full 76-100% full
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2 archives
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DevilChild's
6 Photosets

  2016-10-24
  2016-10-09
  2016-10-04
  2016-09-26
  2016-06-04
  2016-04-02
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