Photos of Gila Cliff Dwellings Apr12

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Photos of Gila Cliff Dwellings

After we left Tucson we headed west into New Mexico and stopped at a tiny town called Silver City, population 10,000 or so. It’s a quaint old mining town, but mostly it was conveniently located halfway to Las Cruces – a nice stopping point, as we try not to drive more than 3-4 hours a day.

Early the following morning, we set out on the Trail of the Mountain Spirits Scenic Byway to see the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument, located in the rather obvious Gila National Forest. Just a few miles out of town, I was captivated by the Phelps Dodge Santa Rita Copper Mine. This immense hole in the earth is the third oldest open-pit copper mine and has such an amazing array of colors. The photos I found on the Internet don’t do it justice, but it will at least give you an idea of it’s massive size.

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Santa-Rita-Mine

After countless cattle guards and switchbacks through dense forest, climbing into and over the Gila Mountains at 7,300 feet (or square feet as Lin says – she has a total brain block on elevation), we arrived at the visitors center. Like always, we watched the video that explained the history and Puebloan people who once occupied the land between 700 and 1,400 years ago (depending on your source). The trail out was mild in terms of hiking, but there was a steep climb leading up to the actual dwellings and we even had the pleasure of passing a group of walkers (we tend to be the pasees). Now the age & health of that group isn’t really important here.

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To imagine living under the circumstances of the times and in those conditions is just mind bending to 2 creature-comfort loving ladies smack dab in the middle of the modern 21st century. If life is about the experiences collected along the way, then this one provide me a deeper ability to freely accept the small inconveniences we encounter in our lives. We are so blessed in comparison to so many.

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