IMG_1135 [50%] Prehistoric man discovered Apache Spring  in southeasthern Arizona and built their settlements of pit houses nearby, so that they might have access to the pure, cold water of the spring, the only water in miles.

IMG_1119b.TIF [50%]In the 16th century, the Chiricahua Apaches, drifting southwest from the Great Plains, found the spring also,  and made it the center of their new homeland.

Their homes were called “wickiups”, and they were a tribe of both hunters and growers. 

Being one of the only reliable sources of water in the desert surroundings, it was only natural that the spring played a huge part in planning a route as the white men began to IMG_1145b.TIF [50%] journey westward in search of California gold.  The route would pass by Apache Spring, where thirsty travelers could replenish their water supplies, and then westward over Apache Pass.

IMG_7057 [50%]Before two many years had passed, the route was being heavily traveled, and had become a mail route, as well as a stagecoach route.  John Butterfield erected a way station nearby.


Cochise, chief of the Chiricahuas, watched with trepidation as the white man encroached on his hunting grounds with increasing frequency.

 Hostility came to a head when a young, inexperienced Lieutenant accused Cochise of kidnapping a white child.  To add insult to injury, Cochise, his brother and two nephews were seized, to be held as hostage until the child’s return.  Cochise alone escaped, and led a retaliation against the whites with the hopes of freeing his family.

It was not to be.  His family was hanged, and thus began the conflict that would last for more than a decade.

IMG_1195 [50%]Eventually, in 1862, Fort Bowie was established to protect travelers.  Two years later, a second Fort Bowie, with more comfortable accommodations was started.  It was completed 5 years later. 

IMG_1238 [50%]The war between the natives and the whites continued until 1886, when the last of the   Chiricahua Apaches were exiled to Florida.  After more than 30 years, the whites had triumphed.

All that remains of the fort now are a few ruins, a tribute to the struggle between a native people, defending their homeland, and the white man, struggling to expand his horizons.

Fort Bowie today is accessible by a mile and a half hike into the mountains.  Join us as we hike into Fort Bowie.  

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