Gila National Forest, NM
We spent a few days boondocking in the Gila National Forest, just outside of Silver City, NM. Here is a beautiful picture of one of the great sunsets while we were there. While we weren't sure at first exactly where we were going to camp, we had a couple from Canada that visited with us at City of Rocks the night before give us a heads up on this spot. Thanks Art & Suzan!
We hiked around the area, caught up on laundry, visited Silver City and did some hiking up to see the cliff dwellings in Gila.
The drive to get to the cliff dwellings is about 2 hours even though it's only 44 miles or so because of all the switchbacks. It was a beautiful drive.
|(click on picture to enlarge)|
Before you can cross the bridge and head up the steep trail, there is a ranger there to tell you a few rules. She kept trying to tell them to us but this guy in a leather jacket kept interrupting saying he's been up here a hundred times and he already knows the rules. The ranger gal responded, "Well I don't know that you've actually been up here before and know the rules, so just let me finish please." Of course he kept on interrupting but she warned him that he would be stopped if he tried to go across the bridge before she finished. He finally let her finish to which she ended with "And if you have any questions at the top, there are 3 rangers there to answer any questions. Or you could just ask this guy since he's been here 100 times, he probably knows everything". Touchet!
Lots of pretty wild flowers popping up.
|Starting to see some of the caves.|
The ancient Puebloan people who built these cliff dwellings belonged to a larger part of what is now the Mogollon area. They grew corn, beans and squash on the mesas and hunted game. It is believed from analyzing the timbers used in the dwellings, that the time period was about 1276. They didn't stay long. By 1300 they had moved on. It isn't really known why. It is thought that perhaps they merged with other tribes.
There are 6 caves containing dwellings in the cliffs. Most you can go into.
Amazing dwellings. On the right, inside looking out.
It was a beautiful to walk through and the rangers to a great job of making sure no one is touching anything. There were a few petroglyphs, but they were faint and further away than my camera could capture.
We took a different road back to where we were camped. It was flatter and the dirt and rocks were in many colors of red, purple, orange, gold and pink. I just couldn't seem to get picture of it.
I was sure happy to be back in pine trees again!
We came upon the Santa Rita Copper Mine. Wow, look at those colors!
Silver City has a very colorful, eclectic downtown with bridges that cross over the river into the old part of town. It was surprising to us that the town seemed so empty. Most of the pictures I took were from the middle of the street.
|Old Victorian Houses|
|Beautiful tiles decorate this building.|
|We wanted to go in here, but it was too early for beer or lunch.|
|This is the sister store to the Pink Store in Mexico where he had so much fun.|
Just on the other side of the main bridge by the Visitors Center is this old log cabin.
Back home for one more spectacular sunset before we head out for Arizona!!
Good Night New Mexico