Geronimo, Cochise, and me

As I was getting ready to leave Lordsburg, I was still debating where I was going to travel next and what I was going to do. West or North? Forsake L.A. and spend some quality time in Denver?

I briefly considered visiting the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument. Tent camping there was free, but it was also about 20 degrees at night and it was (supposedly) a tough 2 hour drive from the monument to the next "big" town, Silver City. Subconsciously I sucked up my drive-to-the-monument time with my photo essay of Lordsburg. Then, I headed west and after just twenty miles I was rid of out of New Mexico and into Arizona.

I stopped to visit the Fort Bowie National Historic Site:

For more than 30 years Fort Bowie and Apache Pass were the focal point of military operations eventually culminating in the surrender of Geronimo in 1886 and the banishment of the Chiricahuas to Florida and Alabama. It was the site of the Bascom Affair, a wagon train massacre, and the battle of Apache Pass, where a large force of Chiricahua Apaches under Mangus Colorados and Cochise fought the California Volunteers... Apache resistance was finally crushed at Fort Bowie, and the result was the end of the Indian wars in the United States.

The several buildings which made up the fort are now in ruins, but it is worth a visit. Those who are disabled are allowed to take a road to the fort, everyone else has to walk there.

The drive from I10 to the trailhead is about 12 miles on back roads. The total walking distance to the fort (including that required to walk around the fort) is about 4 miles RT with about 200' of gain. It's an easy hike, but it goes through some attractive areas. It starts with dry southwestern scrub, but when you're in the area of the Apache Springs (which is still running) it gets a bit greener. I saw a fox cross the path and there are several other items of interest along the way, such as the route of the Butterfield stage.

The town of Bowie, Arizona itself has a business loop off the I10, but there didn't appear to be too many businesses still operating. The town of Bowie makes Lordsburg look like a thriving cosmopolitan metroplex. There is, however, a shop selling "pecans, walnuts, and wine," but it was closed. I got out of the car to stretch my legs a bit, but I waited until I was almost on the freeway to do it. There are still people living in Bowie, and I was a bit apprehensive with the thought of being set upon by rural street urchins. On the outskirts of town was a house with fresh green paint and a green and yellow fence. It looked a bit out of place to see something that wasn't delapidated in such a town; perhaps it belongs to the purveyors of those "pecans, walnuts, and wine."

It's difficult for me to take good pictures in the first place. The placement of the visitor's center on a hill overlooking the fort, and the prominent plaques throughout the fort, make it difficult to take pictures without modern features. The large flag pole in the center of the fort is also modern. Apparently when it was made a part of the NPS no one gave any thoughts to the aesthetics of it all, and the wish on the part of visitors to be able to see what it looked like in the 1800s.


Go !! Go !! never stop until you get there...