Local

May 2, 2014

Cochise Stronghold in Dragoon Mountains has rich history

A hiker and his dog set out for adventure in the Dragoon Mountains. Pets are welcome, if leashed.

The current weather conditions make this an ideal time for hiking. A good location is Cochise Stronghold, located in the Dragoon Mountains, with canyons and trails thick with vegetation and oaks. At an elevation of 5,000 feet with granite domes and cliffs rising high above the floors of the canyons, the trails vary in length and difficulty. The stronghold is on the Douglas Ranger District, Coronado National Forest.

Camp at Cochise Stronghold

Those who like to camp might enjoy a stay at Cochise Stronghold before the summer heat arrives. The campground is located in a rugged canyon that served the famous Apache Indian leader, Cochise, as a refuge against his enemies. When entering the East Stronghold Canyon, you pass in the shadow of rocks that likely served the Apache warrior as perches for his lookouts. The haunting shapes into which the forces of nature have carved those rocks helps make a visit to this charismatic place an unforgettable experience.

Campsites are shaded by oaks and surrounded by a diverse community of vegetation that includes plants of both the Upper Sonoran and Chihuahuan Desert. To help a visitor become better acquainted with this unusual environment, the Stronghold Nature Trail follows a 0.4 mile barrier-free loop that wanders among the yucca, cactus and rocks.

This short, easy stroll provides a self-guided introduction to a number of desert plants as well as some of the principles of desert ecology. It also provides good views of the rocks that form the ramparts of the Stronghold. A barrier-free history trail in the campground tells of the area’s colorful past.

Those who would like to retrace the steps of this area’s historic residents even deeper into their nearly impenetrable refuge may choose to follow the Cochise Trail past dozens of rock formations as it makes its way across the Dragoons to West Stronghold Canyon and the Council Rocks historic area.

Area was home of Chiricahua Apache

In addition to being a much enjoyed hiking and camping area, it’s easy to understand why the Stronghold was a bastion for the Chiricahua Apache.

Historically, the Stronghold has strong ties to southeastern Arizona as it was the home of eastern Chiricahua Apache Chief Cochise for about 15 years in the mid 1800s. Cochise, along with about a thousand of his followers, of whom 250 were warriors, used this natural, rugged terrain as their home base. With sentinels standing watch on the towering pinnacles of rock, Cochise and his people could live without fear of ambush. Conversely, any enemies stalking Cochise could easily be seen and, without warning, be attacked.

The Cochise Trail connects East and West Cochise Stronghold.

The Cochise Trail connects East and West Cochise Stronghold.

While historians disagree on many of the details, it is well chronicled that the Bascom Affair was considered the detonator that launched the Apache Wars and the decades of raiding, looting, and killing. Until this incident, Cochise had been cooperative, if not friendly, with the soldiers and the settlers.

In early 1861, Apache raided the ranch of John Ward at Sonoita Creek, kidnapping his stepson and stealing his livestock. When Ward rode to Fort Buchanan and advised the commanding officer of the raid and the kidnapping, Lt. George Bascom was dispatched to locate the child and punish the raiders.

Bascom was inexperienced and, some believe, determined to make a name for himself in the military. As history played out, his inexperience and zeal changed the dynamics of the southwest for decades to come.

Bascom had decided the Chiricahua Apache had kidnapped the boy and demanded to meet with Cochise. The chief, suspicious of Bascom’s intent, arrived at the meeting at Apache Pass with his brother and several relatives. When Cochise denied involvement in the raid and kidnapping, Bascom doubted Cochise’s honesty and had him and his family held hostage. Cochise escaped and attacked a Butterfield stage which then led Bascom to have Cochise’s relatives and other Apache hostages hanged.

In retaliation for the hangings, Cochise set upon a decade-long course of bloodshed and violence by attacking, raiding, and killing soldiers, ranchers and settlers. Bascom’s actions also drove Cochise to join forces with his father-in-law, Apache Chief Mangas Coloradas, in order to exact revenge. The two warriors struck an alliance, agreeing to drive all settlers and “white” people out of Apache Territory.

When Mangas Coloradas was captured and killed by U.S. Army soldiers in 1863, Cochise became Chiricahua Apache Chief. He renewed his resistance to settlers, ranchers and soldiers by aggressively attacking and raiding for nearly 10 years.

In 1872, with the help of his only trusted white friend, Thomas Jeffords, Cochise negotiated a new treaty which allowed him and his people to stay on their homeland. Cochise died in 1874 and is purportedly buried in his beloved fortress, Cochise Stronghold. The exact location has never been revealed nor located since.

For more information about Cochise Stronghold and other Cochise County and Sierra Vista area attractions, visit the Sierra Vista Visitor Center located in the Oscar Yrun Community Center at 3020 E. Tacoma Street, call 417.6960 or go to the Coronado National Forest website http://mbreiding.us/ert/Arizona/Rincons/coronado/www.fs.fed.us/r3/coronado/forest/recreation/camping/sites/cochise_stronghold.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Tanja Linton

Intelligence Senior Leader Conference maps out ‘way ahead’

Tanja Linton U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence Commander Maj. Gen. Robert Ashley opened the Intelligence Senior Leaders Conference at the Intelligence System Integration Laboratory Dec. 10. Senior intelligence leaders...
 
 

HOLIDAY SAFETY MESSAGE

The end of the year is a great time to take a moment to reflect on our many accomplishments at Fort Huachuca and as an Army. I want to thank everyone for their hard work and dedication as we continue to build on our accomplishments and enhance America’s fighting force. Many of us will be...
 
 

What makes chaplain assistants unique

SAN ANTONIO — As the U.S. Army Installation Management Command chaplain assistant sergeant major, I am proud of all the chaplain assistants supporting our Soldiers, Families and Civilians. We are celebrating 105 years since the Army officially introduced this unique Military Occupational Specialty, or MOS. The Army officially created the position of chaplain assistant On...
 

 
Sgt. Jarred Woods, 1st Sustainment Command (Theater)

Looking for career progression? Join Civilian Expeditionary Workforce

Sgt. Jarred Woods, 1st Sustainment Command (Theater) Department of the Army Civilians inspect a base expeditionary targeting surveillance systems-combined tower before transferring it over to the Afghan National Army near Kabul...
 
 

Colonel Smith MS Panthers end perfect basketball season

It was an exciting, perfect season for the Smith Panthers, a boy’s basketball team at Colonel Smith Middle School. The 14-member team started the season winning 3-0 at the three season tournament. During the regular season the team kept winning, ending their games 9-0. They also won during the CAC Championship. “[That’s] 14-0 wins total,”...
 
 

Fort community donates items in big way

From left, Warren “Russ” Barnes, logistics officer, shows Deborah Bohn, budget analyst, and Sheri York, RAYTHEON site lead, how to ride one of 55 bikes the 2nd-13th Aviation Regiment collected for the Fort Huachuca toy drive this year. This week, chapel personnel distributed toys and clothing collected from many units and organizations on Fort Huachuca...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin