Today's Guest Blogger is our very own GCAS President, Kyle Meredith, accompanied by Guest Photographer and GCAS Field Trip Coordinator, Greg Conlin. Together they report on a very satisfying visit to the Fort Bowie National Historic Site in southeastern Arizona:
We couldn’t have asked for better weather on our field trip to Ft. Bowie. Greg and Josh and Kyle arrived at the Tyrone parking lot way too early, but were gratified when new member, David Burr, and veteran member, Janet DeLoache, showed up for the adventure. We were all able to fit into one car (with Greg’s little dog Layla) and arrived at the trailhead ready for lunch before heading up the trail. We traveled as a pack, each asking questions and sharing our observations about the vegetation, landscape, and signage on the loop to and from the fort.
Our first major stop was at the cemetery where we saw the grave of Geronimo’s two-year-old son. As we neared the fort we passed Apache Spring—a natural feature that helped define a route used from prehistorical times up to and beyond the Butterfield Trail. Before arriving at the larger, later fort, we took a spur to the first Ft. Bowie. It was a desolate outpost on a wind-battered hilltop with primitive dugouts that served as quarters until the new fort was built.
After the capture of Geronimo in 1886, Ft. Bowie lost its purpose, and those who lived there enjoyed spa-like luxuries before it was decommissioned in 1894. Not only was there an elegant Victorian house for the commanding officer, there were tennis courts and a plant to make ice.
The return hike took us up a high hill with an unparalleled vista of the complex. Fortunately for our tired bodies, going back was downhill the rest of the way. The sign at the beginning suggested the 3-mile loop would take 2 hours. We doubled that—there was so much to see and enjoy. Sorry you missed it! Hope you can join us next time.
We will certainly be there with you next time, Kyle and Greg - thank you for sharing the day's events!
To learn even more about Fort Bowie's history and the Apache Wars, if you cannot make the trip there yourself, please visit Fort Bowie's website.