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Hike For November 15: Crest Trail

Meet at the Silver Preak trailhead at 8:00 am

Pat Owens 557-7722 rodeonm@vtc.net

Carol Simon 558-2433 casimon@vtc.net

Jonathan Patt558-0152 jonathanpatt@gmail.com


Nine of us rented the Shaw Cabin by Cochise Stronghold in the Dragoon Mountains. It was a treat to spend a couple of days in this beautiful mountain range: another “sky island” so different from the Chiricahuas.

Famous for spectacular weathered granite slabs and spires separated by a matrix of hidden canyons, the Dragoons were a perfect “stronghold” for the Chokonen Apache, and now they have become a magnet for rock climbers and hikers.

On Tuesday, some of us decided to drive around to visit the Council Rocks area on the west side of the range.This site is probably not exactly where Cochise met with Tom Jeffords and General Howard to sign the peace treaty in 1872, but the name stuck.It is, on the other hand, a site used by the Mogollon people (+/- 1000 years ago) with grinding holes, carved-out steps and pictographs.We had lunch by a large, beautiful panel, then enjoyed exploring up the canyon and climbing around on the rocks.

We met at the cabin for the evening, then two more hikers joined us on Wednesday morning to walk up the Stronghold Trail to the divide.At this point some of us chose to go up a side canyon (off-trail), eventually looping back around to the cabin.This canyon took us to an area of spectacular granite cliffs which are popular with rock climbers.As we enjoyed walking up the canyon bottom, we spotted several groups of climbers, and stopped a couple of times to watch them.It helped that two of our group had been climbers, and could explain the intricacies of what they were doing to get up the rock face safely.By the end of the day, we had become invested in their effort, and we hollered & clapped as they stood on the summit.

We explored the cliffs & boulders ourselves, finally climbing over a pass & down a steep trail to the Stronghold road.On the route down, you pass another nice set of pictographs under some fallen boulders.

The next morning, we packed up to depart.A few people had other commitments, but 8 of us wanted one more adventure.One person had spoken with some locals, who told her about a small canyon on the way out of the Stronghold.We were able to find it – a deep, burned wash that turned into a delightful narrow canyon with bedrock pools and waterfalls with ferns and wildflowers still blooming.We could barely walk 5 feet without picking up another beautiful rock or spotting a bright patch of flowers.

One interesting experience was finding a Clark’s Spiny Lizard (head out of the water) in the cold creek.We put it up onto a log in the sunshine to warm up, thinking we’d look for it on the way out.The same person spotted it as we were walking down – back in the creek!Our herpetologist/hiker wasn’t with us at the time, but one theory brought forth was there might be a behavior-altering parasite involved. More research is needed on this idea!

Next week, we chose to hike the crest one last time for the season (weather permitting). Some expressed the desire to go all the way out to Monte Vista lookout, but people can turn around whenever they wish. Meet at the Silver Peak trailhead at 8 AM everybody's time.


Some hikers went up Silver Peak:

Three hikers stayed in the Chiricahuas and hiked the Silver Peak Trail, enjoying perfect weather, an always-beautiful trail, and spectacular views in every direction once we summited and had lunch in the remnants of the former fire lookout at the top. Assorted flowers and grasses went unidentified as we lamented the absence of our resident experts, and fall colors were all around us—from Gambel oak to ash and others. All three made the 3,000' climb and 9 mile round trip hike.

silver peak group


Chiricahua Trail Crew Volunteer Agreement


Screen Shot 2012-02-24 at 10.34.03 PM

The 62 Highest Peaks, Mountains, Hills, And Lookouts In The Chiricahuas

(Tabulated by Ray Brooks)


Photo Gallery Of Hiking Club - Click On Any Photo To Begin. Use Arrow Keys At Bottom Of Slide (Or Your Keyboard) To Advance Slide

Howard Topoff 2011