Fort Bowie National Historic Site – June 2020

Fort Bowie entrance

Another day trip! Feels so good to be out and about. The target of this trip was Fort Bowie National Historic Site, ruins of the Army fort that existed for 20+ years in the late 1800s. First stops included birding at the Benson sewage ponds (birders go to all the best places!) and the Twin Lakes Golf Course in Willcox. Then it was onto Fort Bowie, on probably the hottest day of the year. From the trailhead it’s a 1.5 mile hike to the ruins of the fort, with interpretive signs along the way. The visitors’ center was closed, but we were able to refill bottles there, and relax on their porch with our picnic lunch.

Fort Bowie NHS commemorates the story of the conflict between the Chiricahua Apache and the US military. The springs in Apache Pass were an unfailing water source that drew emigrants, prospectors, and soldiers to this Apache homeland; the Butterfield Stage carrying the mail ran through the pass starting in 1858. The fort was built later to protect the pass and the springs, and became the center for military campaigns against the Chiricahua Apache who were led first by Cochise and then Geronimo. Read more about it here: https://legendsofamerica.co/az-fortbowie.

Even on a very hot day there was water at the spring. We passed by the cemetery and noted the grave markers inscribed “killed by Indians”; Geronimo’s two-year-old son is also buried there. We took the higher “return trail” back to get some nice vistas of the surrounding area.

We finished our day trip with a visit to the Keeling-Schaefer Winery tasting room in Willcox. They were definitely on top of their COVID-1 protocols with visitors, much appreciated!

A few photos from the day follow. Click any for a larger version/see captions and to optionally slide-show through them.

© Liza and Robert Weissler aves.org 2020, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0 International License.