As part of the Wings Over Willcox
event, one of the tours offered was a "Ft Bowie Saunter". Nothing like a good saunter to allow sufficient time for photo-taking... perfect for me. The tour was led by naturalist Vincent Pinto and we were lucky enough to also have a biologist along too. We pretty much stuck to the hike description going clockwise. We took a side trip down an arroyo of Siphon Canyon.
We got to see quite a variety of topography during the short diversion. There were a couple nice AZ walnut trees (we even got to crack open a walnut or two) along the way. We learned that ocotillo are particularly fond of limestone soil so if you see larger clusters of them, there's probably limestone soil below. I saw some of the biggest Prickly Pear cactus and Sotol I've ever seen. There was even a lonely fir tree along the way. During our "alone" time I managed to find some kind of path which took me along side the arroyo where I eventually came out again into the arroyo.
Vince did a "making fire" demonstration but the one hole he was using in his stick was nearly burned out so all he was able to do was create a good deal of smoke. It was still cool though. I don't know why those people on "Survivor" don't check it out as it didn't take him much just to get the smoke going.
We eventually headed east up to the Lookout via switchbacks and with each switchback, new vistas opened up every which way including north to some neat mtn formations, Gov't Peak to the west, and Helen's Dome to the south. Also from the Lookout you could see mtn formations in New Mexico, SNOW on the top of the Chiricahuas to the east, the Fort below to the east and to the west the cemetery and Butterfield Stage station.
The bus met the 13 of us at the Visitors Center with our lunch; tough hike when someone else brings lunch, ha! We spent a little time at the Fort before heading down via Apache Spring and by some of the landmarks mentioned in the hike description. There were probably about another 10-15 people on the entire trail during the time we were there. I did take Scout for another test drive and though it gave me some difficulties, I think I can safely post the route I took.
We ended up back at the Willcox Community Center where I met up with Ambika who had been out on a photography tour since 5:50AM. We went up on the stage where two groups had some live birds including an eagle (Lady Liberty), red-tail hawk, blue heron, burrowing owl (Howdy), kestrel, falcon and a great-horned owl among other birds. Oh they had a skunk too. It was really neat to see the birds up close and personal as when we normally see them they are so far away. We finished the evening off with a BBQ dinner at the Dining Car (Big Tex BBQ)...yummy!
The flwg day we did another tour but I'll post that under another somewhat related hike description. It was a great event and I hope to go back next year.
Here is a video from the "bird" portion of our tour including ducks on the ponds and Sandhill Cranes in the air: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1c0dttPD_Cg&feature=channel