Cochise County

Picture of coronado_nf So our actual reason for this trip was an orienteering A-meet being held here in the Coronado National Forest of Arizona. David happened to be working in Tucson at the time so that all worked out rather nicely. This is the terrain in the foothills of the Santa Rita mountains - which are not technically in Cochise County, but they're very close. As orienteering goes, it's actually a bit disappointing as you can see just about everything from the top of any hill. Luckily there were plenty of acacia thorns around to make the terrain a little bit more difficult.
Picture of mexican_border Not to be confused with Coronado Forest is the Coronado National Monument located south of Sierra Vista along the Mexican border. This is the Mexican border (aka - the wall). This is the only picture we have to offer of Coronado National Monument, and it's really mostly of the plains to the east of it. That's because we arrived at Coronado just a tad too late to make the hike up to the cave and back before the park closed at 5. Furthermore the hiking trails around the pass were all closed due to a forest fire. As a result we had to cancel our regularly scheduled vacation … and instead take someone else's.
Picture of copper_mine Bisbee, Arizona. For some reason this is a tourist hotspot way out in the middle of nowhere. The most impressive thing in town is probably the enormous open pit copper mine (no longer active) which you can't help but notice. Bisbee is actually in the mountains whereas most of the towns in Southern Arizona are in the wide valleys between them. As a result its buildings are crammed into a tiny buildable little valley. This combined with a very successful marketing strategy has made Bisbee a prime location for bed and breakfasts, antique shops and apparently visitors who don't want to stay in Tombstone.
Picture of tombstone Yes, this Tombstone. It's the quintessential old west desert town. It has the advantage that most of the buildings here are actually the original buildings and not recreations from a movie set. Tombstone's attractions seem to range from the historically interesting to the downright kitschy. One thing we can't understand is why there are old west themed mini theme parks in the area. There are literally a couple of 'recreated' old west 'towns' in and near Tombstone. If you ignore those and focus on the actual old west town of Tombstone itself, it's a decent place to amuse yourself for a few hours, and probably a great place to amuse kids should you be traveling with some.
Picture of reenactment This is the scene that led Melanie to proclaim we were now in someone else's vacation. One of many staged faux re-enactments. There are up to a dozen street shooting scenes a day in Tombstone and it seems like there must be at least that many Wyatt Earps walking around. Considering the actual gunfight at the OK Corral lasted a minute or two, this is dramatic re-enacting at its finest. After you've had your fill of Wyatt Earp actors you can select any of ten or so photo studios in which to dress up as Wyatt Earp and have your picture taken in sepia tone. Women can choose from very brightly colored dresses and hats that look good on camera but historically would've pretty much marked them as prostitutes. When you consider it, it's highly likely that most women in Tombstone during its boom were in fact prostitutes so perhaps that is historically accurate after all.
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