Fort Bowie National Historic Site (Arizona) 20-Jan-2023

From Tucson, we drove south to Green Valley to visit longtime friends Heidi and Bob. He’s now 101 and will, Lord willing, reach 102 this May. But, as Bob says, “…the horizon is getting closer.” So we always make the effort to visit.

But the lingering threat of COVID means that we can no longer visit them like we did in the before times. To protect Bob, we now wave to him through their (closed) patio window. Heidi comes outside (masked) to talk with us but we have to sit or stand some distance away. So we wave and catch-up for 30 minutes or so. Then it’s time to go.

So, from Green Valley, we made our way east to Fort Bowie, an historical site at Apache Pass in the Chiricahua Mountains. The fort was garrisoned from 1862 to 1894, then abandoned. It played a prominent role in the Indian Wars, culminating in the capture of Geronimo in 1886 and the removal of the Chiricahua Apache from their ancestral lands. 😥

But we didn’t visit to celebrate the fort or its role in our nation’s generally despicable treatment of Native Americans. No, we stopped by today simply to reprise our last (and only) visit to this site some 25 years ago, during a visit to Heidi and Bob, who lived in Bisbee back then – in those happier before times.

We hiked in on the main trail, past the cemetery, Siphon Canyon, the Indian agency ruins, Apache Spring, and the site of the first fort (which was just a tent camp back then).

Starting out on the main trail
Ruins of the Butterfield Stage Station (1858-1861)
The civilian cemetery (military graves were moved to the Presidio at San Francisco)
Siphon Canyon with Government Peak in the distance
Ruins of the Chiricahua Indian Agency building
Apache Spring (it doesn’t look inviting, but water is water out here)
Site (arrow) of the first Fort Bowie

We stopped in at the ranger station but didn’t wander around the scant remains of the second fort. From a distance, it looked like much work had been done to stabilize its crumbling ruins. Then we headed back on the Overlook Ridge Trail – which we’d missed on our first visit. Doing so gave us expansive views of the fort, Apache Pass, and the surrounding area.

Heading back on the Overlook Ridge Trail
The remains of the second fort to the right of the ranger station (arrow)
Yucca and Government Peak
Along the Overlook Ridge Trail
The civilian cemetery (arrow) from the Overlook Ridge Trail
Government Peak
Back along the main trail

This nice little walk down memory lane came to just 3.4 miles (5.5 km), with a cumulative 460 feet (140 m) of gain. A little chilly and windy but still a good day for a walk. Our memories are hazy about our hike lo’ those many years ago, but it seems there is now more explanatory signage along the way. Plus pit toilets at the trailhead parking lot – ah, progress! 🙄

Our short lollipop loop at Fort Bowie

2 thoughts on “Fort Bowie National Historic Site (Arizona) 20-Jan-2023

  1. Nice photos as always. That is a great area. We were there 2 years ago.


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