Hiking in the Dragoon Mountains – Winter Journey – February 2018

Saturday February 17:   I go for a walkabout first thing to check on the water in the wash.  It is far from flooding, but fun to see a stream where a few days it was dry sand.

Stream in the wash near Gnome Home
Lichen-covered tree seems odd in the desert
Cochise Stronghold in the Dragoon Mountains of SE Arizona

As fog rolls in, I go out again to take photos.

A text from our Cochise Stronghold Campground host friend, Jimi, suggests a hike this afternoon, so I go on up to the campground.

Creek crossing on the way to Cochise Stronghold Campground

We hike up the trail to the pictographs, an interesting trail, not really for the casual hiker, but not too strenuous, either.

Pictographs in the Cochise Stronghold

Instead of hiking back down the trail, we hike down into the ravine, which now because of the rain holds a flowing stream, and make our way down around boulders, dead fall, and shin dagger yucca – wicked little desert plant best seen at a distance.

A stream in the ravine, dead fall and boulders
Waterfalls along the way

I learn that the bubbly scum I’ve seen on pooling water is from the abundant yucca, since the rain has saturated the soil enough to get the roots. The soaptree yucca derives its name from the soapy material in its roots and trunks which made this plant a popular substitute for soap. (www.desertusa.com).

Bubbly scum from yucca roots and stems carried down the mountain


Pond of “yucca soap”

Sunday February 18: Still cool and mostly cloudy this morning, but enough sun to hang out everything that is wet from the rain that leaked in a couple of the camper windows.

First light on the mountain behind our campsite
Golden light of morning even though mostly overcast

In the afternoon, beautiful cumulus clouds form over the mountain with the sky a gorgeous blue backdrop… quite wonderful to see.

Beautiful cumulus clouds form in the afternoon

Message and pic from Ang showing two feet of new snow. Guess the high of 66 here today would seem like a heat wave to my kids and siblings in Montana. I miss seeing my kids and siblings and feel a little sad that we are so far apart.

Big wind and more rain in the evening and during the night.

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