My four things and a very good boondock

When it comes to our health, JJ and I have instituted a lot of habits that now come easily, and are just part of our everyday lives.  We cook meals at home, eat lots of veggies, and get to bed early for a full night of shut-eye. But, there’s still some actions that are easy to forget, especially when we’re busy or working.  Heck, even when we’re traveling a lot, I sometimes realize I’ve ignored a couple other important parts of staying well.  So, when we found an amazing, beautiful, quiet spot for the week, I knew it was the right time to institute my “4 things rule”in earnest.  Everyday, I’ve made a point to take a long walk or hike, exercise my muscles, get some sunshine, and do yoga and stretching.  And honestly, our current location is so fabulous that it made the whole endeavor awfully easy, as we enjoyed the perfect weather and stunning scenery.

We are in the Dragoon Mountains of Southeast Arizona, in a particularly rugged part called the Cochise Stronghold. These steep cliffs were a natural castle for the Apaches and their leader, Cochise, during the wars with the U.S. Calvary.  We are camped in a long canyon, with those tall cliffs on either side of us, which made a lovely canvas for sunrises and sunsets.

We only left the canyon once all week, because there was so much here to keep us busy.  We walked all the roads, ranging from the fairly level one we came in on, to a steep monster that’s only suited for rugged jeeps.  People were camped all over, and we met a wide range of interesting folks, like the Austrian taking a 7 month tour of the US, and a Canadian snowbird couple that comes down every year.   We hiked just a small portion of the trails leading into the interior, taking in distant mountain ranges as far as we could see. We toured the homestead sites of early European settlers, saw petroglyphs in the rocks, and petted the horses that are used by a retreat for trail rides.

Cattlegards ought not be crossed hastily:

But, even in the midst of grandeur, one does need provisions.  So, we headed out to the grocery one day, by way of a giant circle around some interesting sights in the area. We went to a few ghost towns, Courtland and Gleeson, relics from short lived mining boom in the area.

The most interesting stop was Whitewater Draw, a wintering spot for birds, where up to 20,000 sandhill cranes spend the winter! We were there a bit late in the season, but we still saw an amazing sight, as about 1000 birds flew in from their foraging time, and landed near the wetlands to rest. We stood there for a hour, transfixed.

Sorry for the bad picture, but can you believe all these birds?!

Cochise Stronghold was a great stop, with completely clean camping areas, and neighbors that were quiet.  Best of all?  It is public land, and free for 14 days of camping.  This was definitely one of our best finds yet!

We are headed to a campground that’s part of our camping club, to hole up during a few days of cold, rain, and clouds predicted through Tuesday.  After that, we’re off for more natural wonders of Southeast Arizona!


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