Thursday, March 28, 2013

Fun Pickleball with Rincon Friends

Today our Del Webb community hosted a fun Pickleball tournament.

My friend Lorne Booth brought over six other friends from the Rincon East RV Resort and we had an informal fun tourney.

We added two additional Pickleball courts in the tennis court next door... so that gave us four courts for our fun tournament.  And we used them all today.

We let the matches kind of happen with the only rule that we always had to have a different playing partner every game and we always tried to have at least one or two players from Rincon in every game... and we played with them as partners... not against them.

Lorne Booth is playing above with John Apgar.

One of my games was with Mary Lou as my partner.

All of these photos were shot by Shirley... since she wasn't playing, she just wandered around and tried to get a picture of everyone today.  Thank you, Shirley!  Good job.

This is Al playing with Jim from Rincon.  

Jim was the oldest player today on the court... and today we matched him up with our own Bob Shillinglaw and they played against me and John.

It was a hard fought match with the final score 14-12 for us.

This is our oldest Del Webb player... Bob Shillinglaw.  His wife Sally just told me that Bob was so delighted with the pickleball today... he came home and told her, "today I wasn't the oldest one on the court."  

And Sally also told me that this afternoon she played a little pickleball for the first time... and it was fun. Good for you, Sally!

Dennis from Rincon is playing this game with Diane.

 My Friend Lorne Booth from Canada.


 Dennis from Rincon.

 I got to play one game with Rick from Rincon today.

 Al certainly looked liked he was having a fun time.

 Kathy... the most faithful female player.  She usually plays three or four times a week with us.

 Gene was the first one to invite me to come and play pickleball when we first arrived here.


 Kathy sizing up where she is going to serve.

Millie often has classes to help the newest pickleball players learn the rules of the game and how to play.

 Bill from Rincon

Joe from Rincon.

 Dennis looks like he is getting ready to serve.

 Fred looks like he is wondering if that last ball was in... or out?

 Rick... he and I laid out and put down the masking tape to set up the fourth pickleball court for today.

At the end of each game the players come to the net and exchange greetings by touching your paddle handle to each of the other players handles.

After we all had played six games we added up the scores of each player.  John was the happiest and luckiest, as the last game we played gave him an extra point, even though he lost that game, because we went to 14 -12 it gave him the winning point he needed.  Very close second, third and fourth were myself, Dennis and Lorne.

But really we were all winners today... it was just a lot of fun to play in this fun tournament. After the games we all came to the clubhouse for cake and coffee... or whatever one prefers to drink.

We parted with our new friends and exchanged goodbyes saying "we have to do this again."

"The only way to have a friend is to be one." -Ralph Waldo Emmerson

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Fort Bowie Part II

These ruins have seen many moons since activity flourished at this fort.
There were numerous plaques along the trail to help identify plants and trees.This was once the Trading Post.

Riding out below the Trading Post... this really brings this site to life!

The foreground foundation was the Quartermasters Storehouse and the Infantry Barracks immediately behind.

The Quartermaster Storehouse... the hub of this community.  The Quartermaster was responsible for supplies, construction and maintenance of the buildings, contracts for forage and firewood, and all forms of transportation.  He also hired all civilian employees... teamsters, blacksmiths, carpenters and masons.

Soldiers drew equipment and clothing from this office and received work orders for post construction projects.

The infantry barracks appeared to be the largest building here.

Privacy was not a feature of barracks life.

The barracks were delightful to photograph... such interesting shapes remaining with windows and doors.

The Commanding Officers Quarters... an elaborate Victorian style duplex style structure had 13 rooms and cost a whooping $4,000 at the time.  This was the nicest rock foundation at this site.

This foundations was where the school was located.  On the left behind the new building is a Visitors Centre... a small museum maintained by the park with staff to answer question and sell memorabilia.

This Trading Post provided for sale items not supplied by the army... and provided a place for the women to satisfy their need to "shop."

I really enjoyed all these signs on each foundation here.  It helped to bring these ruins to life.

The capture of Geronimo marked the end of hassles with the Apaches... and soon after this fort was wound down.

This was Shirley's capture of the barracks ruins... we just loved coming to this place.

There were numerous plaques along the trail to help identify plants and trees.

The Yucca does not flower every year... but when it does the fruit yields black seeds.

This is a Soaptree Yucca before growing the stalk.

And here is a Yucca that has died.

The Engelmann Prickly Pear Cactus

Close up as we were heading back to the car and the sun was setting.

We saw a sign for this viewpoint of Fort Bowie on our way to the trailhead... it said 200 feet to the viewpoint... but we wisely passed it by until the end of the day on our way out.

If one had not been there first, how would you ever see Fort Bowie unless you had some powerful binoculars.

But with full zoom on the telephoto lens one can see the fort in the centre of this photo.  When you know where to look you can also pick out the original fort site and Apache Springs.

It was amazing to see the land that we walked to get to and from this incredible site... an unforgettable day.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Hike to Fort Bowie Ruins

Yesterday afternoon we experienced a most enjoyable walk in the park.

Fort Bowie is about 116 miles east of Tucson.  From Wilcox we took Highway 186 southeast about 20 miles.

After turning left off 186 the last eight miles to the trailhead were not paved.

It is not a difficult hike... about 3 miles round trip.  But with stopping often to take about 300 photos it took us 3 hours.  If I had it to do again I would plan to stay longer... but we started too late and the sun was setting, so we hurried back to our car.

The signage in this park is exceptional and tells the history and details very clearly.  Fort Bowie was established to protect a small but important water source, Apache Spring... and also to protect this mountain pass, which was the shortest route between El Paso and Tucson.  In addition the fort was used to assist the engineers who were staking out the best route for the new railway across the land.

Apache Spring is just a trickle today... but they have an encatchment above this little water fall to supply the Visitors Centre.  Apparently water in these parts is pretty scarce and travellers soon learned where they could fill up their canteens... and where the next water could be found.

This old photo shows all the buildings at the second location of Fort Bowie... it was a bustling centre.

and this is what it looks like today.  All that remains are the foundations and a few masonry walls.

I was so excited to see this flag behind these structures I headed off the trail to get the best possible angle.  This shot was taken with full zoom on the 18-200 mm telephoto... so it was still pretty far away.

Shirley meanwhile was taking a picture of me breaking the first rule on the sign... "Stay on Trail."  I was pretty careful not to walk on any plants... especially those prickly pear cactus.

On a lower plateau, which was not nearly as level or large, we investigated the original fort site.

Every foundation had a sign identifying it.

This photo shows part of the original fort site in the foreground and the final site on the horizon to left.

From this original site looking back over the land we have traversed we can see the cemetery on a plateau left centre.... the Stage Station ruins just right of centre on the plateau. The tallest mountain in the background is Government Peak.

Originally 99 souls were buried here... but 72 soldiers were removed for reinternment at the San Francisco National Cemetery, leaving 23 civilian graves.

There were several battles with the Apache Indians... hence most of those buried here were not very old.

It was amazing to see Geronimo's son, Little Robe, age 2, buried here.

The Stage Station was built long before Fort Bowie, in 1858.

It was here the stage coaches would stop to rest and have a meal for 50 cents... bread, coffee, meat and beans.  There were also rooms to stay overnight here.

In 1857 the US government awarded John Butterfield a contract to carry mail between St. Louis and San Francisco... a 2800 mile route that took 25 days to travel each way.  Butterfield charged his men, "Remember boys, nothing on God's earth must stop the United States mail."  Little did he know of the hassles those Apaches would give him.

This foundation was for the Chiricahua Apache Indian Agency... an onsite office to deal with Indian affairs. US. agent Thomas Jeffords governed some 900 Apaches in the mid 1870's until the Indian chief died. The tribe was split and in 1876 the government decided to move about 375 to the San Carlos reservation... but most of those soon left there too.

The Apaches used to live in these thatched wickiups... which were covered with bear grass and animal hides.  During the hottest summer days the covered ramada gave them some relief from the sun.

Fort Bowie was named after George Washington Bowie, a Colonel of the 5th California infantry.  On the right is General James Carleton who led the attack against the Apaches and founded the first "Fort Bowie."

Shirley caught me in front of this most significant stone building used for guns and artillery.

Powder Magazine, 1890

Every quarter mile along the trail is a marking post that helps hikers know how far they have come and how far yet to go.  This marked the end of the main trail to get to Fort Bowie.

Since there are just too many great photos from this site, stay tuned for Part II of Fort Bowie.