Cochise County: A beautiful little corner of Arizona
Friday, May 24, 2019
It's a beautiful morning in the San Pedro Valley as I sit on my patio and gaze out among the desert landscape. Patches of sunlight brighten the shaded areas of the cacti.
I feel house bound, my three visits to the VA Medical Hospital for surgery has kept me close to home. However, I am healing well and have a burning desire is to be on the road again.
As I gaze and dream of past adventures, I revel at the wonder of our great mountains, vast grasslands and scenic forest.
As my mind wonders I recall the birds and other wildlife that would flee before us, cawing, whistling or chirping sending forth a warning to other residents as we hiked the narrow trails. I recall the beauty of a group of aspens of white bark invigorating the dark world of green pine on many higher hilltops.
Arizona is a beautiful and diverse state. Where we live in Cochise County, the desert is in full bloom of marvelous colors. Following the trail along the San Pedro River, we admire the tall, green cottonwoods and the cool, mossy riverbank where we stop from time to time among the flowering cacti and mesquite to take in a deep breath of clean-scented air.
This early May morning, the desert is alive with life, and I notice a spider web radiating in the morning sunlight, dew drops glistening on the yucca plants, the beauty of the red flower high on the desert ocotillo. The countryside is covered with golden poppies and yellow brittle brushes growing from the desert floor.
Nearby, in bloom are purple verbena and Palo Verde trees. Here and there among the sage brush a Gambel quail sets to air, and in the distance a coyote can be heard calling their mate.
We enjoy feeding the many birds that visit our patio. Six types of hummingbirds dance around a nectar feeder, purple finches dart among our flower plants arguing over a feeding position, cat birds sing their morning song from beyond the desert growth, and the sap suckers hammering on the soft pine along the arroyo bed.
This is the land of the cactus wren, the unique roadrunner, the noisy long billed thrasher, the cunning black raven, and the screech of red-tailed hawks. We reside in an urban environment, but nature’s wonderful music is heard daily to anyone taking the time to listen.
We first came to Cochise County on a visit to Tombstone, “the town too tough to die.” Tombstone is still home to gunslingers and sassy saloon girls.
Take a walk down Allen Street and you can see authentic 100-year-old buildings where street brawls and gunfights can occur at any time. Visit the Bird Cage Theatre and enjoy a stay at a raucous Big Nose Kate’s saloon while downing a cold beer.
Our initial stay at an RV park near Whetstone was so enjoyable we kept returning to the desert each winter. Over the years, we built friendships with many seniors, some of whom have left this world.
We have visited so many wonderful and exciting places yet we kept returning to the San Pedro Valley. Living conditions were ideal, it has a year-round comfortable temperature, a reasonable cost of living, well-developed medical services, and the awesome beauty of the surrounding mountains. It just seemed natural when we sold our coach, we would take up housekeeping in Cochise County.
There are many activities in the valley, and bird watching is big in the Huachuca Range. Do you enjoy wine? Nearby are some of Arizona’s finest wineries.
There’s plenty of trail riding here, hiking, several mountain ranges to choose from, or you can take a walk along the San Pedro River. There are eight golf courses in the valley, including the championship course at Pueblo Del Sol Country Club. With 300 days of sunshine you can chase the little ball all year long.
We have plenty of educational facilities, shopping accommodations, a weekly open farmer’s market with local growers, and seasonal entertaining events. An hour’s drive north and you can be at some of the country’s best shopping and food to be found in Tucson.
We can travel a short distance and be in the mountain town of Bisbee, which is the home of the Copper Queen Hotel and Mine. Tourists visiting Bisbee can ride into a 950-foot-deep shaft on an open mining train.
Old Bisbee is dotted with unique mountainside homes, boutique shops, distinctive cafes and restaurants and, my favorite, a corridor of craft beer taprooms in Brewery Gulch.
Just off Interstate 10 is the sleepy town of Willcox, a town with a strong history of the Apache Tribes that once dominated the land. Outside of town is the stronghold of the prominent Apache Chief Cochise, the remembrance of Fort Bowe, and the home of Apple Annie’s. It’s worth a drive to Willcox just to taste Apple Annie’s pies and in season pick your own fruit.
Cochise County has some of the most stunning blue skies, white fluffy clouds and unique desert corridors with secreted canyons and caves. The valley at 4,600 feet remains cooler than its surrounding Sonora Desert environment.
In fact, the mountain heights in the winter are normally white from fresh falling snow. For those of us who crave outstanding natural beauty, our little corner of Arizona is absolutely wonderful. The streams, hidden mountain lakes, rolling grasslands, and unforgettable vistas it makes life enjoyable, gratifying and stress-free.
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