S2E16 Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument

20140414-162623.jpgThis is the last leg of our southern New Mexican tour with Jim and Renee. We came to Silver City yesterday afternoon and spent today at the national monument. They will be heading back to Santa Fe tomorrow while we will camp one night along the way and get to Santa Fe Tuesday afternoon, about the same time George and Diane Moger arrive.

Yesterday we drove about four hours form Alamogordo to Silver City. Unremarkable except for an excellent lunch at Se Señor in Demming and a Border Patrol checkpoint on I-10 where every west bound vehicle must stop for inspection. (This was our second BP inspection in four days). At last it didn’t take long. The first time they asked if we had anybody in the trailer. I said “no”. They said “Ok”. This time they just said “Have a nice day”. Thank goodness for ‘profiling’.

In Alamogordo we had found a good place for dinner via Trip Advisor so we checked the same site for places in Silver City. Shevek & Co sounded good so we gave them a try. Turned out to be a terrific tappas restaurant which could hold its own competing in Chicago. One of the happy diners with our first round:

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This was the kind of place where the waiter knew the story of the vineyard in France where the wine came from. We ended up spending three hours at dinner and having a great time. Here’s a pic of the chef/owner saying ‘hello’ to Renee:

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We devote most of Sunday to visiting the Cliff Dwellings and a short hike up the middle fork of the Gila River.

It was a really pretty one mile round trip hike to get to the caves and a lot to see in the caves themselves. Indians came here in 1275, spent nine years constructing the buildings inside the caves, then left about twenty years later. The ranger speculated that drought forced the people south until they found a reliable source of water here and then when the rains returned they went back north to their ancestral homeland.

Three of the cave entrances from about half way up the trail:

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Views of the largest cave:

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Sue enjoying her birthday:

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After our picnic lunch we hiked up the middle fork of the Gila River 3/4 mile to a hot spring. The trail crossed the river a couple of times but the water was never more than ankle deep and thankfully not nearly as cold as we expected. The hot spring was very hot, too hot to leave your hand in for more than a second. Some thoughtful civil engineers had built rock dams to make small ponds mixing cold and hot water.

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An hour and a half drive back down to Silver City, a little R&R and wouldn’t you know it was time for dinner already. The place we went last night, Shivek & Co, was so good we went back again to celebrate Sue’s birthday.

Even though it was her birthday she really didn’t eat all three desserts.

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Jim and Renee are going back to Santa Fe Monday morning while we take a extra day to explore City of Rocks State Park, 20 miles south of here before joining them Tuesday afternoon.

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One thought on “S2E16 Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument

  1. Well, Happy Birthday, Sue! You share a birthday with my son, Mat, as well as a high school girlfriend. You are very dear!

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