retreat center arizona high-desert meditation TMI The Mind Illuminated

Wilderness and Personal Safety Form

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WORD Version of this Form

Dear Guest on Retreat,

Welcome!     Thank you for coming to Cochise Stronghold, A Canyon Nature Retreat.   We extend a very warm welcome to you!   This is a very special, powerful and sacred place and we are delighted to have the chance to share with you, our beloved home.  So that your visit can be happy and safe, we ask that you carefully review the following.  Please ask for any clarification; or let us know of any special needs you might have.



Wilderness Location  – we share this remote, wilderness location with wild animals, sharp plants, very dark skies and the unpredictability of nature.

Examples of the unpredictable might include:

–          a new hole suddenly appearing, dug overnight by a ground squirrel or javelina;

–          our house cats, out at night on mouse patrol, possibly frightening, as they quickly run towards you in their most friendly (and mischievous) way;

–          an intimidating looking wasp or other bug alighting near you (best not to swat at any bugs or bees);

–          weather extremes  (high winds/ hot days/ cool/ cold nights)

–          a rare sighting of a rattlesnake – they live in the nearby rocks and very occasionally appear on our site;

–          a scorpion under a rock or a damp dish sponge;

–         forest debris, loose rock  and unexpected objects (even watering hoses) on the ground;

–        tree branches…


This is awareness, high attention country and we ask that you pay careful attention.  Always be in visual contact of the placement of your hands and feet.   We also highly recommend wearing solid, sensible footwear and rugged outdoor clothing, hats, sunscreen, repellants seasonally and always carry a water bottle.

Wild animals include: skunks, ground squirrels, voles, javelina, deer, ring tail cats, bob-cats, mice, lizards, gopher snakes, the very rare rattle snake and exceptionally rare – mountain lion.   An enormous variety of birds live and pass through.   In the summer months, especially with rains, the insect population soars, quite literally.

Sharp plants on site include – yucca (one species otherwise known as Spanish dagger), bear grass, prickly pear cactus, the pointed ends of agaves, sotol (edges like a saw blade)…, all requiring special attention and avoidance.

On Site Residents

Our friend Allegra, live on site in the south wing of new house.   She is 93 years old,  in good health and very helpful.

Nancy and John live in the north wing of the new house, entrance at the glass door on the left of the courtyard.   Nancy is available at any time for assistance, even in the middle of night if needed.  Please ring our door bell, if we do not hear the bell come in.    Also, Nancy usually carries her Verizon cell phone in her pocket (520.508-2368) or can be reached at 520.826-4141.


Verizon cell phones work here, other cell phone carriers do not.   The cook shack is never locked and a phone in the cook shack is available for emergency use.   The number in the cook shack is 520.826-4141.  The second line in our house is 520.826- 1441 (Bill’s phone #).


Our well water has excellent quality and purity.  It is alkaline with the minerals – iron and manganese.  We filter to remove these minerals as they have a slight taste – but it is safe to drink from the tap.

First Aid & Medical Emergency

Our primary first aid kit is located in the cookshack, on the floor under the metal shelving.   For a serious emergency call – 911 and provide our address – 2126 W. Windancer Trail, Cochise Stronghold Canyon, Pearce, 85625.   Paramedics are 8 miles away in the village of Sunsites.   The nearest hospital is in Willcox, but the much better and larger Benson Hospital is only a few more minutes away.   A helicopter landing pad is at the mouth of the canyon, beside Half Moon Ranch.

Bathrooms/ showering & “peeing”

For yurt guests, the solar shower beside the hot tub is an exceptional experience.  Solar means it needs ~ 2 hours of sun to heat the water.   However, please note the water can get very hot.  Adjust temperatures before stepping in.   On a sunny day, the water stays hot until about 10:30 pm.

A full bathroom with a shower is accessed from the front porch of the cook shack.  It will be shared by several so please be considerate of others by having a short shower and/or missing a shower for a day.

The sawdust compost toilet near the yurts is sanitary and ecological, especially useful for human solid waste.

We would encourage everyone to consider “watering” the bushes – your excess nitrogen is good for them, they love it and it is sanitary in this natural setting.  Toilet paper for personal use can be carried in plastic baggies, found in the compost toilet or cookshack bathroom – all used toilet paper needs to be disposed in the garbage.

Meals and Food

Please bring your own groceries for your retreat. There are many grocery options in Tucson, or there is one supermarket in both Benson (on the drive coming from Tucson) and Willcox (on the drive coming from New Mexico). During your retreat, with a few days notice, we are happy to arrange pick up of fresh foods and restocking of your other groceries, if needed. There is a fully equipped cook shack with plenty of spices and condiments.

Heating & Cooling of yurts

It is best to have one person oversee the temperature regulation of the yurt and to learn about the coolers, fans/ dome opening, screen opening/ closing.

Hot tub

If you wish to use, please ask for a demonstration regarding how to open and operate.

Wild Land Fire

During fire season – (April, May, June), no fires are to be made anywhere on site.  No candles, incense or sage is to be burned anywhere on site.  Wind is a huge factor in fire safety.   Smokers MUST carry an ash-tray or tin with them.

In the event of a fire (at the retreat center or on National Forest Land):

1) call 911

2)  call the US Forest Service dispatch at 1.800.549-0661 with location, size of fire, how fast spreading, direction of the wind, color of the smoke, any structures threatened?   Name and number of who is reporting the fire.

Location here is:   Township 17 South,   Range 23 East , Section 25 .

Location in the lower canyon, (not at this site) below Shaw House (former Ranger Station) is:  Section 24.

2126 W. Windancer Trail in Cochise Stronghold Canyon.  The nearest  town is Sunsites.

Windancer Trail is ¼ mile before the Forest Service campground at the end of Forest Service Road #84, also known as Ironwood Road.  Cochise Stronghold Bed & Breakfast is at the end of W. Windancer Trail.   You are calling from 826-4141

In the event of a wild fire in Cochise Stronghold Canyon everyone must evacuate the canyon due to concerns about smoke inhalation.  Each person who leaves the site in an emergency must be accounted for.  You would need to communicate to us or your teacher that you are leaving the site.    A dry bandana or handerchief over noses and mouths is recommended, not a wet bandana.




Name (please print): (Last)                                                       (First)                           (middle initial)________

Address: _____________________________(City)                           (State)              (Zip) __________________




Date of birth: ____________________________________


OFF Site Emergency Contact Person:   Emergency Phone numbers:


Name:   ________________________ Day:  __________________ Night: _________________


Allergies/ Medical Conditions:  __________________________  (please use back of page if necessary)


Please read the following carefully: 

I have read and understand the issues of personal safely for the use of the wilderness facilities of Cochise Stronghold, A Canyon Nature Retreat.

I, the undersigned, attending a retreat at the facilities of Cochise Stronghold, Nature Retreat understand that I am applying for instruction in an activity that may involve physical, emotional and psychological activity and that in case of such an undertaking there is always a risk involved.


I understand that in a retreat setting, the instructor(s) cannot always monitor my physical, emotional, and psychological limits, and that I am therefore responsible for assessing the risk any activity poses to me, and for choosing a safe course of action for myself.


I agree to assume the risk and responsibility for any injuries or damages suffered by me arising out of my participation in this retreat/ workshop.   I have read and understand the above statements.


Signature:   ________________________   Date:  __________________

Of Special Interest

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