Cochise Head Mountain Apache Arizona Stronghold
Monday, December 1, 2014 at 12:51AM
Kaleidoscope of Color

Made this one around 2009 while on a motorcycle journey through the Southwest and ended up stopping at the Pacific before looping back toward Texas. Had seen the Chiricahua Mountains Park on the map and basically decided to camp there because the name sounded cool and I needed a place to rest. Worked out to be an especially beautiful and peaceful area to camp in and was the last stronghold of the famous Apache indian chief Cochise.

In a meadow below the camping areas, are the original settlers homesteads that are preserved and decorated with much of the original furniture, etc. I don't usually go for the guided tour sort of thing, but I wanted to go inside the homestead to see what it looked like and to stimulate my imagination while I explored the area.

The ranger giving the tour went on and on about how difficult it was to finally clean up the area from all the lingering Apache squatters. He spoke about them as if they were some vile pestilence that needed to be exterminated to make room for the white settlers.

I honestly tried to keep my trap shut, after about a half hour of this I couldn't contain myself any longer and held up my hand to ask a question, "Why do you keep referring to the original occupants of this land as if they were no better than rodents?" The ranger explained that these were violent people who wouldn't leave peacefully and hung around under the leadership of that thug Cochise, terrorizing the settlers."

The ranger looked a bit angry with my question, as did many of the others on the tour, but he did a fine job of containing himself. Until, I replied, "Well, would you go peacefully if some foreigners invaded your homeland that you'd lived, loved, and died on for many generations? Wouldn't be at least a little put off by being forced to uproot your people and move to undesirable land on reservations?"

He became visibly angry with this and said "The Apaches lost. We won. They should have gone peacefully. And now let's move on with the rest of the tour. If you have any more questions sir, you can ask me privately later." Judging from the looks on the faces of the others on the tour, it looked like I should zip it before the mob decided to stone me to death.

The landscapes and mountain ranges of the Chiricahua Mountains area are spectacular and some mighty fine curvy roads to cruise on a motorcycle as well.

I had been in such a peaceful place until the dust-up with the ranger giving the tour, that I needed to clear my head with some magnificent vistas. Rode slow taking in all the majesty and trying to feel the spirit of the Apache who once lived and hunted this land. When I got to the top of one mountain overlook, there was a view of Cochise Head mountain.

Made a few landscape images of the mountainous horizon and then sat down on a bench to rest awhile and just be in the that space for awhile, alone and still. As I studied Cochise Head mountain, I wondered why they called it that. It was pretty and all, but wasn't sure why is was special enough to take the name of Cochise. I laid sideways on the bench to rest my tired bones and eyes for a spell.

After a few quiet moments alone, I opened my eyes to the mountain range viewed from my side. And, there he appeared just as plain as a portrait. The profile of the great Apache chief was carved by the wind right into the mountaintop.

Art Prints

Article originally appeared on Kaleidoscope of Color (
See website for complete article licensing information.