by Michelle Rae
Offering gorgeous, ever-changing vis-tas, botanical riches, peerless birding andcharming vineyards, eastern CochiseCounty may be one of Arizona’s best-kept secretswhen it comes to both nat-ural beauty and indulgentpleasures.More than that, theregion pulses with the veryheartbeat of Arizona histo-ry. In fact, some of themost historic events ever totake place in the Old Westoccurred on this breathtak-ing terrain.
Landmarks and Legends: FortBowie National Historic Site
Which of us ended our school yearsnever having felt chills of apprehensionand admiration at the story of the fearlessApache leader Geronimo, his brave fel-low warriors, and honorable surrender toGeneral Crook in 1889? Which of usnever found ourselves in the throes of childhood imagination, wondering itwould be like to be a cavalry soldierpreparing for battle behind the walls of afort in the Old West or a native warriorvigilantly guarding his village fromenemy raids?At Fort Bowie National Historic Site,you’ll walk the land where 30 years of conflict took place, fought with incrediblebravery and massive bloodshed on bothsides. You’ll explore the carefully-pre-served remains of the fortitself and view irreplaceablecultural and battle artifacts of both the Chiricahua Apacheand the U.S. Cavalry. You’lllook out over land that sawthe Battle of Apache Pass andthe infamous wagon trainmassacre known as theBascom Affair. And you’llwitness the ruins of the leg-endary Butterfield StageStation, as well as the post cemeterywhere bodies of young soldiers wereburied for three decades - an unforget-table experience.
Wine lovers and fans of local colorand culture will enjoy visiting one ormore of the delightful vineyards clusteredaround Eastern Cochise County. Visit
Fort Bowie Vineyards
, soak up thedelightful atmosphere, sample their suc-culent wines and treat yourself to bagsfulof the orchard’s famously fla-vorful pecans, walnuts, peachesand cherries for feasting duringhikes and picnics.This year, the area’s vine-yards are experiencing a rare -and very exciting - event.
Colibri Vineyard & Winery
,near Portal, is preparing for itsfirst public release November 5-7, 2004. At 5,200 feet, convert-ing an old apple orchard intothis successful vineyard hasbeen a labor of love for theMcDonald-Johnsons. Everyone is invitedto join the celebration, no reservationsrequired. Attending a vineyard debut canbe a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Nowine hobbyist will want to miss it!
Flora, Fauna and Birding
Nestled in the foothills of theChiricahua Mountains, Cave Creek Canyon, home of the South Fork Zoological and Botanical Area, boastssome of the richest flora and fauna to befound in North America - and some of thebest birding, as well! Experienced birdersand novices alike are delighted with theabundant bird species...approximately330, including Mexican specialties suchas the Elegant Trogon, a rich variety of hummingbirds and the Red-faced andGrace’s Warblers of the Southwest.Avast array of wildlife and wild beau-ty is unique to the area - including thegorgeous rock forma-tions and remarkablebiological diversity of the ChiricahuaNational Monument.Amassive volcaniceruption 27 millionyears ago blanketedthe land with 2000feet of ash andpumice, and the erosion and natur-al events of the intervening eonshave made it the singular naturalwonder it is today.
Willcox is a great starting pointfor your journey through “TheMagic Circle of Cochise.” Check out the Chiricahua RegionalMuseum, the landmark Southern PacificDepot, the Rex Allen Museum and theCowboy Hall of Fame, or just relax, playgolf, and enjoy the friendlyatmosphere.Then, follow the“Magic Circle” to the ghosttown of Dos Cabezas beforeheading on to Fort Bowieand the Chiricahua NationalMonument - which is a desti-nation spot for hikers, featur-ing over 20 miles of theSouthwest’s favorite trails.Visit the CochiseStronghold for a picnic orrock-climbing adventure,keeping your eyes peeled for petroglyphs.With a 5-mile hiking trail favored by hik-ers at all levels of expertise and gloriousviews that seem to go on for eternity, it’sa perfect camping spot for couples orfamilies.Don’t forget to stop by Old Pearce,located just off Route 191, and the last of the goldrush towns. The little communityis actually a ghost town in the process of resurrection - which is why it’s been ableto retain much of its Old West flavor,including a general store virtuallyunchanged since it was built in 1893.Try to spend at least one night inPortal, located in one of the darkest deep-sky sites on the entire continent. Viewedfrom the cozy little enclave, the frostylight of the Milky Way and the brillianceof the stars are unforgettable, awe-inspir-ing sights.
ForDays...OrDecades: AZTourist News Recommends...
Tucked next to Cave Creek Canyon,the
Portal Peak Lodge, Store and Cafe
is the perfect “home base” for couplesand families exploring the area over days,or even weeks. Watch the sun rise fromthe furnished wooden deck and enjoy adelicious homestyle meal in the cafe - andmake sure you ask them to pack you alunch for the day’s explorationsand adventures.If you’ll be camping or “RVingit,” we suggest you make
TheMagic Circle RVPark
yourhome base and enjoy the accessi-bility, amenities and conveniencesthat we’ve learned distinguish thepark from others in the experienceof AZTN readers.Folks fromother states scouting avacation or retirementresidence, as well asArizonans seeking toescape the intensesummer heat of Phoenix or Tucsonwill want to talk toLarry and Ali Reckerof
about finding a homein Pearce Sunsites. Larry and Ali are allabout honesty, ethics and integrity - andtheir friendly warmth makes you feelright at home.If you thrill to the sights and sounds of nature and the echoes of human history -you owe yourself the opportunity tospend days, weeks (or even years) explor-ing eastern Cochise County - and for onesimple reason: it’s all there - in vibrant,living color.
Fort Bowie Vineyards
Colibri Vineyard & Winery
Portal Peak Lodge, Store and Café
Magic Circle RVPark
156 N. Jeffer