Southwest USA - 2019 travel blog

The Start Of The Trail Up To The Fort

The Old Cemetery

An Apache Wikiup

Some Idiot At The Fort

The Site & Remains Of The Fort

Old Railway Truck In Willcox

Day 27. Monday 4th February

The rain stopped overnight although the morning started a bit cloudy. We planned to go off & visit the Fort Bowie National Historic Site about 30 miles away & then the Chiricahua National Monument over in the same area.

I have to own up to making a really basic motorhoming error today. I found out about it about ten minutes after we left our camp site in the morning. We were arguing with our SatNav as to whether it had given us the correct route when I spotted a load of flashing red, white & blue lights in the door mirror. I couldn’t believe I had been speeding but thought I must have done something wrong so I pulled over, got out & went back to meet the sheriff who had pulled up behind. As soon as I went back I could see what the problem was. When I had unhooked the RVs electricity cable from the hosts cable that morning he had come round just then to check on us & we got talking & I got distracted & failed to stow the RVs cable jack into its cubby hole on the side of the van. We had been driving around with it dragging alongside us until the Sheriff spotted it & pulled us over. Amazingly enough the cable was in damaged so after after a red faced grovelling to the surprisingly friendly sheriff I packed the cable away & we carried on to Fort Bowie.

Apache Pass was one of the very few ways to get through the formidable mountains in this area in the early days of the West. Fort Bowie was built up at the top of the pass to protect the wagon trains & stage coaches from the Chiricahua Apache Indians who lived in the area. Cochise was the famous Indian chief of the time but Geronimo, who was not actually a chief, features in many of the stories of the time.

We parked up near one end of the pass & made the one & a half hour trek up the trail to the ruins of the old fort at the top. It was amazing to think of the wagon trains & settlers heading West through the pass it must have been a tremendous ordeal for them especially with the threat from the Indians. There were some interesting stories about the troubles & the times & it was sobering to come across the grave yard that still stands there with its white crosses. There were even graves there for some of the Apache children.

There’s not a lot left of the fort now but parts of the walls & foundations clearly show that this was quite a big fort & there is a small collection of artefacts on display in the Ranger Station there.

We took the return trail back along the ridge & then down to the valley but unfortunately we lost the trail for a while & went wrong. We had to double back once we realised our error & eventually got back on the right trail. We must have done at least two miles extra but it was a nice day for a walk. Back to the RV for a well earned picnic lunch before heading off.

We were going to visit the Chiricahua National Monument up in the nearby mountains but when we put the destination into the SatNav it said that we would have to go round the mountains to the other side which meant a seventy mile drive. So we decided just to head back to Willcox city & see what was there. Not much at all as it turned out it was pretty dead. We did get to visit the little Chiricahua museum in town. A quaint little place with lots of memorabilia from the Indian days. I think we were the fifth, sixth & last visitors of the day. Interesting & worth the $3/couple entry fee.

Then after a bit of shopping at Safeway & filling up the petrol we headed back to our place North of Willcox for another quiet evening. We did moan a bit about the barking dogs we kept hearing but learned next day that this was probably coyotes not dogs.

Miles today - 93

Total Mileage - 1,568

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