Day 3: Gila Cliff Dwellings

Day 3 (Monday): After a “reasonable” sleep I was up by 0615 so went to McDonalds for breakfast because I was sure everything else would be closed at that hour.  Having checked out of the Palace Hotel I  headed up NM15 to visit the Gila cliff dwellings.

It was a marvellous drive, taking 2.5 hours for the 40 odd miles. Looked at a grinding mill and old mine on the way. My notes say it was called Ararosa but I can find no such place on the map. On one bend there was a decorated roadside memorial. The Harley Davidson scarf wrapped around the cross no doubt told the story of what had happened.

Photo Gallery: the road to Gila…

The Cliff Dwellings are reached by a trail from the park entrance. At first the loud commentary from a female ranger spoilt the feel but, once she and her small visitor group had left, one could sense the life that once existed there in the 13th century. With dried corn in a store house, it felt like they’d just left.

Photo Gallery: the Cliff Dwellings…

Looking on the National Park Service web site now,  the trail to the dwellings is a loop which returns along the canyon floor with bridges over the stream. However when I visited the stream trail was a separate 3 mile walk to another cliff dwelling in a rock canyon. There were no bridges and the trail crossed and recrossed the stream in a series of fords. I was wading the river in a new pair of Birkenstock sandals but these dried in no time helped by some amazing squalls of wind blowing down the canyon.

Photo Gallery: the Stream Trail…

On way back to Silver City I decided to splurge out on renting a Cabin at Bear Creek, Pinos Altos; 80$ + tax, but lovely.  I wrote my trip diary at 1830 sitting in sun on the veranda with only the noise of wind in the pines.  Evening meal was a Tostada plate from the Grinder Mill with Dos Equis Amber beerr and then and white wine to follow for a mellow evening.

Photo Gallery:  Bear Creek Cabins…


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