FORT HUACHUCA -- Here's a 180-degree panorama of some of the Huachuca Mountains around Fort Huachuca, Arizona.

Fort Huachuca: high desert southwest

Bicycles, ...
... horses, ...
... and cactus.
Updated 30 April 2008
If you like wide open spaces, you'll love Fort Huachuca.

Situated at 4,600 feet above sea level in southeastern Arizona, the temperatures at Fort Huachuca and its neighbor town, Sierra Vista, are greatly moderated, compared to the surrounding areas. You can usually depend on the highs being 10 degrees or so cooler than they are closer to sea level. Though it's a dry heat, it's still heat.

Sierra Vista is comprised of about 10,000 souls, spread out generously to the south of the fort, as of 1997, when we were there the first time. I understand it is growing fast, though. As of 2001, there is even a mall, cornerstoned by Dillards and Sears. And you'll find most of the nationwide department stores, along with several large hardware stores, four big food markets, and plenty of new and used car lots. Still have to drive to Tucson to find a really ritzy restaurant, but there are a couple of decent eateries, along with the usual array of fast food establishments. On post, the commissary has just been enlarged considerably and the post exchange carries a decent selection of items.

The public golf course on post, Mountain View Golf Course, was in the process of becoming run by the city. An 18-hole, par-72 desert course, deceptively simple, it was a little expensive, compared to some other military courses. About $600 bought a year's membership. There was no driving range membership available at Mountain View, but another course in Sierra Vista offered a month of driving range privileges for $40. After four months, I brought my 120 average down to 100. Yee-hah.

Some other fun stuff to do here includes mountain biking, horseback riding, and sightseeing, if you've never been here. You'll also find a good bowling alley, movie theater, well equipped gym, and tennis courts.

If you mountain bike, it is a good idea to get your tires puncture-proofed. Costs about $24 for two wheels. There are thorns in the desert that go right through rubber, no matter how thick. Putting a gel in the tires causes it to seal itself. The first two times we went out, I had to fix flats afterwards. Not fun. Sun and Spokes on Fry Boulevard (the main drag) performs the service.

Horseback riding can cost from $10 for a two-hour trail ride to $130 a month to lease a horse for unlimited riding. We leased for a month, but school took up so much of the LT's time that we didn't do it anymore. It was fun, though. We had never seen mesquite trees, century plants, roadrunners, javelinas, etc.

As far as sightseeing, there is Tombstone, the site of the OK Corral gunfight between the Clancy Brothers and Sheriff Wyatt Earp and his crew. Bisbee also has some cool stuff, old buildings and such, along with a couple of good eateries. Tucson boasts some major malls, but they're not easy to find. We got on the Internet and did a telephone directory search for malls and then did one of the street finder searches. Worked out. Mexico is not far to the south. We went to Nogales for a couple of hours. Interesting place. Si. Check your MapQuest or or whatever for distances.

Growing up in the rolling green hills, cold winters, and sweaty summers of the Midwest, I found myself attracted to the scenery in Arizona. Mountains and desert everywhere. Near Tucson are the two Saguara National Parks. They're worth the trip, but once you've seen one big cactus, you've seen them all. We never became industrious enough to visit the Grand Canyon, only 500 miles away. But we finally corrected that error after returning to the mainland from our three years in Hawaii.

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