Posted by: abbiewatters | June 10, 2012


Friday, we left Las Cruces and made our way west into Arizona. Just a few miles into Arizona I spotted a brown sign that said Ft Bowie National Historic Monument. We were making good time, so I turned off the Interstate to see what that was. The sign after we got off the interstate said 15 miles to Ft Bowie, so we decided to run on over there and look at it. We were directed down this little road to the south that wasn’t even on the map, across a couple of cattle guards and dry washes with warning signs to look for loose cows. Sure enough we came across a couple of cows and lots of dust and sagebrush. The signs kept telling us that the Fort was up ahead. About 10 miles into the trek the pavement ended and after another couple of miles the road had deteriorated into stones and gravel.

We finally came to a wide space in the road and found a sign saying “Trail to Ft Bowie – 1 1/2 miles”


There was a nice informational sign with facts about the area, but there was no way we were going to try to hike 1 1/2 miles in 100 deg heat.

We turned the car around and went back down the little dirt road, and when we came out on the flat we noticed another sign pointing off to the right saying “Handicapped Access to Ft Bowie”. We figured we had taken an hour out of our day already, and we maybe ought to make one more try at it. I have never known the Park Service to steer me wrong anyway, so we turned up another dirt road around the other side of the canyon. 3 miles later we found the Ranger station, and got the Ranger to open the gate so we could drive the rest of the way up to the fort. He advised us to be very careful as the road went right over some of the remaining foundations.

There wasn’t too much to see – mostly foundation stones. The walls of the buildings had been made out of adobe, so of course they hadn’t weathered well.

There were a lot of exhibits of things they had found there, including playing cards, poker chips, beer bottles, etc. This fort guarded the Apache pass – think John Wayne at Ft Apache. There were wives and families there. Cochise raided the mail riders passing through the pass and Geronimo later made the soldiers’ lives miserable.

The way the soldiers finally chased Cochise back into Mexico was by the use of the heavy artillery.

They have two wells on the property, so there isn’t any need to bring water from town.

After looking around for a while we headed back down the dusty road.

There were these little rock piles marking the edges of the road.

We finished descending the pass and got back on the interstate and got to Tucson to Debbie Charles’ house (Big Al’s safety friend) by 4 pm.
Saturday we spent with Debbie, watching birds in the morning before it got too hot, and then I went and got my toenails done. We were back in the house by noon, and spent the rest of the day watching movies in DVD and staying out of the 104 degree heat. We went out to supper to a neat little Thai restaurant and then hit the bed in preparation for an early start on Sunday.
Sunday we got on the road by 9:00 am (hey, that’s early for old retired people) and met Deb Avery and her family in Phoenix for brunch. Deb is one of my UNCO friends, and we had an enjoyable couple of hours visiting with her, her husband, and her son.
Back on the road to Flagstaff we were about 40 miles north of Phoenix when we were stopped because of a brush fire.

That holdup didn’t last too long, and we made it to Flagstaff before 5 pm.
Tomorrow we have the Grand Canyon and Zion National Park, and the following day we have Bryce Canyon. Where will we go from there? Who knows?



  1. What a neat side trip you made Abbie and how great to see Deb Avery from UNCO. We were out west a few years ago and saw Zion and Bryce on our way to LA. I loved visiting those national parks. They had a great bus tour we took in Zion. Hope you had a good time on your trip there.


    • We’re taking the guided bus tour in Bryce. (recommended to us.) I’ll let you know whether it’s worth it, but it should be because it’s free.

      Abbie Watters Sent from my iPhone


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