Cochise Stronghold and The Ghost Town of Pearce

March 13 – 17, 2017

When I left the Chiricahua Mountains I didn’t have to go far to my next stop. I simply crossed the Sulphur Springs Valley to Cochise Stronghold. I’d been skirting around it for a while because a friend had said he might come down to do some climbing there, so I was saving it. However, he changed his mind, so it was time for me to check it out on my own.

It’s a very small park, and it looked incredibly like Lumpy Ridge, in Estes Park, CO. I hiked off the trail from camp one day, but there were no trails and the going was rough, so I didn’t go out more than twice. I found a spot on the side of a hill that had a great Wi-Fi signal, so I spent most of my three days there, just catching up on blog posts, editing pictures, creating videos and corresponding. It was blazingly hot, and although I was in direct sun, I have a lovely breeze coming through the van all the time and was very comfortable.

The bugs were huge. There was an enormous bee that hung around the van in the morning and late afternoon, just swinging side to side, facing the van, with its very loud buzz for hours.  Occasionally a sparring partner would arrive, and they would really get into it. They lost all sense of direction and ended up in my van a few times. These bees were the size of nickels, and I didn’t want to spar with them, so I always opened the door to let them out again. Then there was this wasp, which was about 2 1/2” long. I thought it was a tarantula wasp, but that is questionable. Let’s just say, that thing got my entire respect. When he came in, I went out until he left again.

One evening I saw movement in the grass, and a family of Peccary came through, complete with mum, dad, and four little ones.

The closest town to Cochise was Sunsites, and one day I decided to treat myself to breakfast out. However, there were no restaurants in Sunsites, in fact, I did all my grocery shopping the Dollar General, because there were no grocery stores either, except a health food store that was very expensive. I enquired around and was told that on the junction of Hwy 181 and 191 is an RV park and restaurant called Sandys, so I decided to go there for brunch.

I’ve been doing a lot of traveling in southern AZ, and I know it’s a very religious, gun-loving, and far-right area of the United States, but because I’d spent most of my time camping on my own and avoiding towns except for necessities, I hadn’t seen much evidence of this (other than the endless target practicing everywhere I went, and the truckloads of trash left around that had been used as targets). So Sandy’s was quite an experience for little old me. Let’s just say I’m glad I didn’t have one of those Coexist stickers, or worse a Bernie or Obama Sticker on my vehicle.

While I waited for my order I took in the decoration of the restaurant. One sign read “Protected by God and a gun – you may meet both if you come here NOT welcome.” Another read “We have the right to refuse service to anyone FOR anyone.” (Which I interpreted as they had the right to refuse black people, gays, lesbians or people from other nationalities if they wanted to. I may be wrong on this, but that’s how I interpreted it). There were religious pamphlets on the counter, along with religious necklaces and earrings for sale. Other signs were supporting the fifth-amendment and there were plenty of National Rifle Association signs. I eavesdropped on some conversations, and spittle was practically flying from people’s mouths about Clinton but the same lips spoke wondrous praises for Trump. Fox News was on the TV.

I have no opinion of the place, other than to say that the food was excellent. I’m merely telling you what I saw and heard. I found it to be quite fascinating because I’d heard of such places but had never been in one before. The people were very nice to me and I left a decent tip.

Once my tummy was full to popping, I decided to check out the Ghost Town of Pearce. I spent the rest of the day driving and walking around the historic buildings and the cemetery.

The Historic Pearce Jail.

And the Historic Pearce Cemetery.

This sad looking grave simply read “PAPA.”

Although I take some interest in the history of the United States, I’m afraid I find the buildings and old towns and much of the history rather boring. This is probably because I was born and grew up in England, with castles, bomb shelters, Roman history and Roman roads dated back before Christ, canals with barges and barge poles, cemetery’s with gravestones dated 800 AD and earlier, cobblestone streets and so on. Even the little street house I once owned in England was older than some modern-day American history (the street house I owned was built somewhere between 1880 and 1890). The wood and metal buildings of the wild west just don’t quite do it for me. However, the history of the Native Americans touch me deeply, and the geological history of this great land just blows my mind!

It was finally time to leave Sunsites because the package I’d been waiting for at the Post Office finally arrived. One package was just never going to get here, it was in some town on the other side of two mountain ranges west of Sunsites and I wasn’t driving there to get it, so I just had them return it to Amazon.

On my last visit into Sunsites, they were having a very small farmers market on the boardwalk. I bought a couple of things then said goodbye to one of the friendliest little towns I’ve ever been in. People spoke to me first, offered to help me before I asked, and even had me follow them when I was looking for some place on my first day there.

1143-Sunsites

I’d been in the southern most parts of Arizona for a couple of months by now, and it was time to start heading north. Temperatures were rising, a super bloom of wildflowers was going on in Anza-Borrego State Park in California, and spring was around the corner. I wanted to go to the super-bloom but it was over 500 miles away, and in the opposite direction to what I’d planned. I wanted to see what the mountains in eastern Arizona were like, so that was next. North I said…”North!”

I hope you have enjoyed this installment of my travels during the winter of 2016/2017, and hope you’ll continue the journey with me. Please visit the HOME page to find more articles, and feel free to share, sign up and leave a comment. Also please visit my YouTube Channel. Until next time…remember to step outside of your comfort zone as often as possible and watch it grow.

Roxy ~ A Nomad for Nature

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