With a geriatric cat at home, we've been taking shorter trips this fall. And we rediscovered the Dragoon Mountains, not far from home with
a wealth of great hiking and camping possibilities.
November 11-13, 2016
This was a trip where we got everything wrong, but still came out alright. We decided we'd try for another SOTA peak, and to our amazement,
nobody had activated China Peak in the Dragoon Mountains. Little did we know that there are several China Peaks in Arizona, and we were aiming for the wrong one.
(Scroll for panorama). Though getting lost seemed pretty unlikely, we turned on GPS tracking. We were almost to the top when we
realized we had climbed the wrong mountain. Instead of Cochise Peak, we climbed an unnamed peak with an elevation of 7010' — 213 feet taller than our original objective.
(Scroll for panorama). We weren't disapointed. This mountain has a rocky summit composed of weirdly stratified
gray and rust ancient seabed and has fabulous views across the Willcox Playa to the Chiricahuas and south into Mexico.
We were hoping to see the Sandhill Cranes lift off
in the morning. There were very few cranes, and the water seemed curiously low given all the rainfall we had this summer. Agribusiness is
buying up land like crazy in Cochise County, where they have unrestricted access to water for thirsty crops like pistachios and almonds. Over the last few years, I have noticed a drastic
decline in water levels here and on the eastern side of Aravaipa Canyon. Is anybody paying attention?
November 18-20, 2016
That was way too much fun! So back we went the following weekend to the sunnier west side of the Dragoons.
(Scroll for panorama)
November 24-26, 2016
We returned to the west side of the Dragoons for Thanksiving with our friends Flo and Tom