As American implemented its Manifest Destiny political ambitions in the 19th century, some of its last opponents were the Chihuahua Apache in southeastern Arizona. Chief Cochise and his associates hid out in the Dragoon Mountains, today part of the Coronado National Forest. His hiding area has become known as the Cochise Stronghold.
I took my two daughters to the area for some nature and Indian lore experiences. We camped the night before at the Cochise Stronghold Campground, west of Sunsites, AZ. A nice campground with restroom but no running water. We started hiking at around 8am in early November 2010. We hiked three miles up the Cochise Trail to the Stronghold Divide -- the area between the east and west sections of the Stronghold. It climbs about 1100 feet over those three miles. The hiking trail is great. There are some rocky sections but there is little impact from horses so the trail is smooth and un-rutted. It is a great hike for families, youth, scouts, etc. -- not overly challenging but rewarding.
When I think about the the Apache history in the area, I cannot help think that they enjoyed their surroundings, despite the on-going battle with destiny. Cochise was buried up there, where only a few know. But it is refreshing to walk the land that this once proud people lived and walked.
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