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Presidio Protectors LbNA #66518

Owner:Wisconsin Hiker Contact Supporter
Plant date:Feb 3, 2014
Found by: ???
Last found: Mar 30, 2021
Hike distance:Unknown
Last edited:Mar 26, 2021
Last checked/found: 25-MAR-2021

Location: Start at the trailhead leading to the Presidio that was constructed by an Irish mercenary in the same year that the American Revolution began.
Time/Distance: ~1.5 hours, 3 miles roundtrip
Terrain: Mostly level dirt/gravel trail

Begin walking along the trail and view the vastness of the desert. Imagine the bleak isolation those early Spaniards must have felt when they traveled here to secure additional territory for Spain. Soldiers, civilians and friendly mission Indians all came to construct a fort which was to be their first line of defense against the hostile Apaches.

As you near a wash, the trail will curve up and you’ll need to take a right to continue on your journey to the Presidio. The Spaniards did not have long to wait before Apaches began to harass the settlement, attacking anyone who ventured out for water or to try to plant crops in the nearby fields. The Apaches were attracted by the large number of horses kept at the settlement and ran off the herds whenever they were unguarded. As the number of their horses became fewer, the soldiers were less and less able to pursue the raiders to try to reclaim them.

For a few years the Spaniards were able to restore old irrigation aqueducts and plant grain, corn, beans, lentils and chile. However they required constant protection from soldiers as they worked. But the traditional Spanish fort warfare was ineffective against the lightning raids and guerrilla tactics of the Apaches. Worsening attacks prevented the settlers from either receiving outside help or harvesting their own crops so that they were literally starving to death.

When you near the Presidio site, you'll see a privy on the right and the historic trail on your left. Take the trail until you reach the traces of the buildings and adobe that walls remain, including the gate and fortified wall, the chapel, the soldiers' barracks, and the commandant's quarters. From the bastion the soldiers scanned the valleys on all sides for enemies. Tour the historic site and take note of the exhibit signs to complete your homework:

A = ________ # of stories in the gatehouse

B = ________ # guardhouses at the gate

C = ________ or D = ________ feet square. Barrack room dimensions (smaller or larger)

E = ________ total # of fort commanders

F = ________ perimeter of the fort

G = ________ last word of first line on Presido sign

H = ________ fifth letter of third line on Adobe sign

I = ________ first letter of 15th line on Jacal sign

J = ________ take the last word of second line on Bastion sign, then add one letter and unscramble to find a color

K = ________ last letter of 7th line on Plaza sign

L = ________ first letter of third line on Abandonment sign

A group of soldiers still keeps watch from a bluff overlooking the river. To find them, exit the Presidio area and then turn right on the dirt road. Continue on until a barb wire fence meets the road. Take another (A x D x E) _____ steps from here to reach a large (I+L+K+H+G) ______________ among smaller (J+G) ______________ on the left side of the trail. Take (B x D + C) _____ steps at (F) _____ degrees. The Presidio Protectors are hiding from the Apaches between a bush and a dark topped rock. After checking in with them, retrace your route to return.

Continued Apache raids and attacks led to the eventual desertion of this fort less than 5 years after it was established. "The terror instilled in the troops and settlers of the presidio, that had seen two captains and more than eighty men perish at the hands of the enemies in the open rolling ground at a short distance from the post, and the incessant attacks which they suffered from the numerous bands of Apache, who do not permit cultivation of the crops, who surprise the mule trains carrying effects and supplies, who rob the horse herds and put the troops in the situation of not being able to attend their own defense, making them useless for the defense of the province."

The failure of this Presidio to hold, much less secure additional territory for Spain, ensured that dominion of the land destined to become Arizona would continue to be contested for many years. The Apache successfully thwarted Spain's bid for North America, while extending their own undisputed dominion for another 75 years.

Our own home fort is quite far from here, so we would greatly appreciate an email message to let us know how these men are enduring.