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mini location map2017-07-04
41 by photographer avatarDarthStiller
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Fort Bowie LoopTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Jul 04 2017
Hiking5.00 Miles 790 AEG
Hiking5.00 Miles   3 Hrs   9 Mns   1.71 mph
790 ft AEG      14 Mns Break
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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This hike ended up being much better than I expected it to be. It's technically only a 3 mile hike, but once you hike all along the side trails through the ruins, you're easily over 4, closer to 5. Because of the heat, we did this loop in the opposite direction of what they recommend. the Overlook Ridge Trail gains well over 500' of AEG and this seemed like a better idea to try at 9am rather than after 11 and having hiked over 2 miles. So we did that portion first, getting an overview of the entire area before we walked through it all.

the visitor was closed, since it's only open Wed-Sun. After making our way down off of Overlook Ridge, I headed straight to the restrooms in the back of the visitor center. This turned into a slightly surreal scene instantly transitioning from the remote, Western scenery, barren, hot, extremely dry Sonoran desert to an air conditioned, fluorescent light lit bathroom with white tiles,running water and laser activated paper towel dispenser. I felt like I walked into a scene at the end of 2001: A Space Odyssey.

The hike through the ruins was very cool. The interpretive metal plaques were very informative. One of the first things we saw that I found fascinating was the pumps, steam machine and ice maker. It seems crazy looking at this area as it is today and knowing that they had the technology 150 years ago to not only have an ice maker, but get it this far into the remote wilderness an make it work. It was used not only to preserve food, but to keep beer cold for the soldiers, which apparently was some sort of morale builder or something or the other :-k .

Amongst the other interesting things were the reservoir, the school, the barracks (one for the calvary and the infantry), the bakery, powder magazine and gun shack. The trading post/canteen/bar was also really interesting. they have a map there of that whole layout showing the bar, sales room, storage rooms, bathroom, and corrall (sort of a parking lot, I guess.

After spending nearly an hour or more in the bigger (2nd) fort, once we passed the first fort, we didn't walk the extra 300' to go look at it. It's only 2 buildings since it was built in 2 weeks in a big hurry once it was decided to build a fort there.

After that we checked out the wikieup and ramada and then walked through the cemetery. Interesting to see who was buried there, which gives an overview of the history of that area. Most soldiers were re-interred, but it seems one was kept there and was very highly decorated. he was also originally from PA.

Very interesting area to see. The hike itself was better than I expected being longer and having some elevation gain, and the history of the area was also more interesting than I expected it to be. Very cool and appropriate way to spend the 4th of July.
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