We are going to spend four days in the Huachuca Mountains, a sky island which has its southern tip at the Mexican border. It is Friday to Monday, so I have planned to avoid the weekend crowd by being in more remote areas during the usual high points.
The weather has been changing and this is our backup plan to another part of the state. Often, I just have to mitigate circumstance. Two options, or more, will often save the day, if the weather needs to suit a lack of clothes. The first two days will be in the more remote area on a west facing side of the mountain range. This is also where the warm sun will be on the cooler days. This morning, the quickest way to bring us to this new spot the earliest, is by taking the highway through Sierra Vista. The planning works out well and our story begins.
South of Serra Vista, the trees and grass around new stucco homes, reminds me of California.
There is a turn off of the highway that leads to Montezuma Pass. The two lanes head toward the mountains as we look down the hill at the great black line that is the border wall. Things have changed since the days when a Mexican could just walk across the expanse each week, work and then return home to family.
Anxious to get out to nature, we are slowed to a near stop by construction going up the winding Montezuma Pass road. It looks like there will be asphalt added on top of the dusty trail. Tourists bring money to the economy.
Once we have cleared the pass with its vista, tourists and history, I pull over to slip the lockers into 4×4 to hug the road a bit better. The dirt road is steep and sometimes slippery.
Both of our cell phones go off in ring tones. They are messaging us, “Welcome to Mexico.” It feels unsettling to know that we are being tracked. The recorded voice goes on to explain that our charges will be no different. Perhaps Verizon and T- mobile are not aware of the Gadsden Purchase.
There is a parking area at the base of this hill and it is time for a break. When we pull off of the road, I notice a truck hidden behind a tree. I get out and wrap a kilt around just to take care. It is Border Patrol. It is creepy being spied upon.
We pull out and cross the main road where there is the dirt track to the two valleys. We intend to explore both during our retreat.
The road gets pretty rough. At one point I question that we might have made a wrong turn, as it wanders through the scrub oak trees. Soon, a sign is posted mentioning one of the trails up one of the canyons that we intend to explore.
I feel gratified, when we see that we are chasing a turkey. It flees down the middle of the road in front of us. Fright and flight, it doesn’t seem to know that we won’t follow it into the trees. This is the wilds and soon we will come to a designated wilderness.
We come to an open camping spot with a large fire-pit. There will be no fire, this week. It’s dry and there are restrictions.