The Frontier Travelers thank Kristin Sanderson of Fort Bowie National Historic Site for this article.
Fort Bowie was a 19th-century outpost of the United States Army located in southeastern Arizona near the present day town of Willcox. Today, the remains of the fort are carefully preserved and protected by the National Park Service.
A visit to Fort Bowie National Historic Site begins in an area known as Apache Pass, which lies at the northern edge of the Chiricahua Mountains. During the 19th-century this rugged, isolated mountain pass was known as “El Puerto del Dado,” the pass of chance, because travel through this area was a gamble, fraught with the danger of ambush by the Chiricahua Apache Indians who called this area home.
What drew people to this desert pass was the reliable, though never overly abundant, supply of water at Apache Spring. At a time when water dictated travel across the arid desert, Apache Spring was a welcome respite from the harsh Arizona sun and a refreshing place to quench one’s thirst. Ultimately, it was conflict over the invaluable water at Apache Spring that served as a catalyst for the establishment of Fort Bowie. [Click to read more]
Recreated Fort Mandan, located near Washburn, North Dakota, on the Missouri River. This is where the Corps of Discovery spent the winter of 1804-1805. During that winter they made preparations for spring travel, plotted maps, and readied botanical specimens to send to Thomas Jefferson. Temperatures as low as 40 degrees below zero.
Pumas on Parade is a public art project of the San Juan Mountains Association – and if you’re in Durango, Mancos, Cortez, Dolores, CO or Moab, UT, seek one out.
Seventeen pumas were cast from an original bronze by artist Rosetta of Loveland, CO., then distributed to different venues where local artists painted the big cats using their unique expression. The cat above, named Chuska Puma, sits outside the Anasazi Heritage Center in Dolores. As Anasazi “black on white” pottery is so famous – the artist’s interpretation felt oh-so-perfect.
The first puma we encountered was perched inside the doorway of the visitor’s center in Cortez – gateway to Mesa Verde. Named Sky Prowler, it’s a deep blue and covered with clouds, a rainbow and stars. If you look at his eyes (click the image to enlarge), you’ll see he feels completely different from Chuska Puma.
We hope at some point to see the other pumas, which are located at venues as various as a veterinary clinic, medical office building, bank, airport, and nursing home.
For now, we’ll have to settle for pictures like the one of Radiant Cat (below) – until the Frontier Traveler returns to Colorado. See you on the trail!
While on a trip to retrace parts of the Santa Fe Trail, we stopped at Pecos Pueblo, located off I-25, 25 miles southeast of Santa Fe. If you’re traveling north on I-25, take the Pecos-Glorieta exit, then follow the signs to the National Historic Park. The park is open 8 am to 6 pm Memorial Day to Labor Day, and 8 am to 5 pm the rest of the year. Ranger-guided tours of the 1.25 mile trail starts at the Visitor’s Center and winds up the hill to the Pueblo and then across to the Mission Church ruins. If you’re not used to elevation (Pecos is at 7,000 feet), take it slow and drinks lots of water.
Even though we live in a city with a long history of Spanish rule, neither of us knew much about the cultural history of the period of time when the Spanish ruled the southwestern pueblos. Apparently Pecos was ideally situated between the Plains tribes to the north and Mexico to the south – making it a trading powerhouse. The plains that stretch out below the stone wall here once held the camps of the tribes who came to trade.
Thanks to the fantastic guided tour by the Park Ranger, we were so fascinated by Pecos that one of the first things we did was to pick up a copy of The Pueblo Revolt by David Robert so we could learn more about the conditions that led to the overthrow of the Spanish here in 1680.
Today, all that remains of this once mighty (and fearful) puebloan tribe are the room block foundations, the great wall surrounding the pueblo and kivas (two of which are open to the public). Of the Mission complex, visitors can see the [Click to read more]