Portal Rodeo Hiking Club 12-02-2010, Around Cochise Head

A large turnout of 20 22 hikers arrived at the corner of Foothills and Portal Road Thursday morning for the weekly Portal Rodeo Hiking Club hike.  The group caravan took everyone up Whitetail Canyon past the vineyards to a pullout along the creek bed where destination decisions were debated.  The club divided into 3  4 groups, 2 groups headed to Cochise Head (or the saddle), and 2 others (a fast and slow group) headed to a shelter Cave at the base of Cochise Head.  After an nice 3 mile walk on this cloudless day, with only 1200' of elevation gain, the fast group and one member of the slow group arrived at the shelter cave.  The south facing shelter cave, located in the rhyolite at the base of Cochise Head, is only about 50' in depth with a heavily sooted ceiling.  There is evidence of both historic and prehistoric use.  The remains of an old stove sits just outside the entrance along with broken jars and bottles.  Prehistoric use is evidenced by faded pictographs on each side of the entrance.  Newer graffiti overlays pictographs on one side while the panel on the other side is intact.  Someone mentioned the shelter cave was the source of  roadside attraction "The Thing", but NPR provides an alternative view which is probably more accurate.  After the hike the group reconvened at Wynne's house just down the road and was treated to brownies and coffee.  A refreshing end to a beautiful day.

Google Earth Screen shot of Trail

Portal Rodeo Hiking Club on the Trail

Shelter Cave at the Base of Cochise Head

Faded Pictograph


  1. What??? The "Thing" isn't real??? No Santa Claus either, 'eh? Thanks for the NPR link. As one who wants to stop to see the attraction, but always in a hurry home, it was fun to hear the blurb about the Thing. Great hike, nice pics. debbie

  2. I was surprised and saddened to find out that "The Thing" was faked. Oh well, glad you liked the photos and I also had fun on the hike.

  3. Great picture of Indian Cave I like the one looking out of the Cave.