April 29, 2014 was just about the middle of Ama’s vacation. Since it was her vacation, I acquiesced to whatever she wanted to do. The first day was Sunday and it was a quiet day. Monday was spent outside working the yard. Digging and shoveling and sifting and oh my! (Thinking I’ll put together a post for that, too!)
Early in the vacation, Ama had mentioned a couple of places she’d like to visit. She didn’t want this to be like her first vacation in New Mexico. We went nowhere. She spent the week recovering from her work environment.
So, one of the places on the list for this week is the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument. Tucked away in a remote location in the Gila National Forest, the Cliff Dwellings remains something of a mystery, to historians and pretty much everyone else.
First, you have to get there. There are two routes available. NM35 that heads north through Mimbres. Reportedly, the easier, though longer, of the two drives. Since Ama has difficulty with travel on twisty mountain roads, I opted for this route. Along the way, after reaching the junction of NM35 and NM15, we found a turnout. It’s the Senator Clinton P. Anderson turnout. Senator Anderson was apparently instrumental in the preservation of Wilderness areas in the United States. Here are a few pictures from the overlook / turnout.
Then on to the Dwellings. To me, it was a beautiful ride through scenery that is simply peaceful and relaxing. Unfortunately, for Ama it was a roller coaster of torture. When we arrived at the Visitor Center, she was a little green around the gills, so to speak.
We spent some time exploring the books and trinkets. It seemed logical to make our purchases and put them in the trunk, just in case we spent too long at the caves.
Off to the trailhead! It’s approximately two miles from the Visitor Center to the trail entrance. The trail is about a mile loop, climbing at one point a reported 180 feet. It sure felt like more! But the payoff is SO worth it!
Pictures of the trail up, the caves, the trail down.
We spent what felt like a few minutes exploring the caves. In reality, we were there almost three hours! It was amazing feeling. We WILL be going back. Next time, we’ll likely take at least one drum and a flute or two.
Once again the two options for descent presented themselves. We could take the easy route down. That’s the one we came up. Or we could take NM15 down to Silver City. We opted for the Silver City route and I ended up pushing my little car through the turns. While this had the effect of making her even more queasy, it got us down more quickly.
It also provided yet another opportunity to stop at a beautiful spot. I saw it out the side and pulled over. When she wondered, I pointed. It looks like another place that would be less than difficult to survive.
All in all, a marvelous day!