Saturday, March 18, 2017
My location: Las Cienegas NCA near Sonoitas, Arizona
Another beautiful morning. The horse camp is still there, so I suspect there will be many more horses again today.
This morning, we have other plans. We got an early start and finished our breakfast around 9 o’clock and jumped in the Jeep. Our destination today is Coronado Peak Memorial. Read about this drive from Al in his blog, Travel With the Bayfield Bunch.
We drove the back road through the grasslands to hwy 82 and turned left heading for Sierra Vista about 20 miles East. We drove between the Greystone and Mustang Mountain ranges. Turned right onto hwy 90, going through Huachuca City and then hooked onto hwy 92 South out of Sierra Vista.
It’s hard to miss the Huachuca Mountains South of town.
Passed this beautiful entrance as I was leaving Sierra Vista.
Wasn’t long before I saw the sign telling me to turn toward the mountains onto Montezuma Canyon Road towards Coronado National Memorial.
Stopped briefly at the Visitor Center and then it was all up from there.
I think we’re heading up there.
Here’s looking down the way we came. It was a narrow dirt road and if you’re afraid of heights, as I am, it was best not to look over the shoulder of the road.
Our friendly Border Patrol had a commanding presence at the end of the road in the parking area.
That is Miller Peak in the background. The only way to get to that peak at 9466 feet, is to hike the 6.5 mile trail. Unfortunately, they don’t allow dogs, so that dashed that hike. (I couldn’t do it anyway.)
We did walk Montezuma Trail to the top of Coronado Peak and could see forever in all directions.
There is Carr Peak to the Northeast.
Yuma is looking toward Mexico to the South.
Looking straight East through Montezuma Pass, the way we drove up.
Looking West into San Rafael valley and into the Coronado National Forest.
I believe those are the Santa Rita Mountains in the distance to the West..
It is hazy unfortunately, so the photos don’t show you forever very clearly.
There is a Coronado Forest road that heads from the summit and it will take us back to Sonoita. It’s a rough dirt road and it’s 62 miles down the West side of the Huachuca Mountains , but that’s the way we’re going.
First stop was at Copper Canyon. There were three men with dogs. The dogs had antennas on their collars. Asked what they were for, and they said it was for tracking the dogs. Figured out later, these guys were border patrol and the dogs were used to track illegal aliens. Their ride was definitely ready for anything, anywhere.
This is where I’m headed.
The road was quite good and firm as we came down the mountain and headed into the San Rafael valley.
Stopped at this beautiful mountain stream to rest.
Yuma got his fill of the clear stream water.
It was a pleasant drive with views everywhere.
After about 30 miles of dirt road, we came onto pavement at Parker Canyon Lake. We also hit civilization. There were campgrounds and homes at the lake. The campgrounds were overflowing with people. Must be a popular lake for Tucson residents to get away from it all. (Not really.)
One last look back at the Huachuca Mountains.
At Parker Canyon Lake, we turned onto the pavement of hwy 83 that takes us 32 miles North to Sonoita and home. You can see the Mustang Mountains. We’re headed just Northwest of those mountains.
The County Fairgrounds in Sonoita.
Few more horses for the horse lovers.
See you later.