Category Archives: Silver City

Turkey Creek, Gila National Forest

photo of turkey creek

Shadows play on the surface of the water

This past Sunday was mine and Aaron’s 21st wedding anniversary. We decided to pack a picnic lunch and head out to explore the Turkey Creek Hot Springs trail. Turkey Creek feeds in to the Gila River, or at least it must when there is more water. Either that, or the creek goes underground at some point. The creek bed is currently dry by the time it gets down to the river, but after a couple of creek crossings, the water was flowing quite well. Lots of deep pools for soaking feet!

hidden windmill

It took a while, but we finally spotted the windmill that marks the trail head!

On our way out past the windmill

On our way out past the windmill

The road in is not for the faint of heart! It is a 14 mile drive in from Hwy 180. At about mile 8 the pavement ends and a few miles later the road starts winding it’s way up and over a tall “hill” or what some people call a mountain. The road is narrow, bumpy and there are no guardrails. We drive roads like this all the time, but this is one of the more scary roads we’ve been on. The drop offs at the top are almost straight down! 4 wheel drive or AWD with high clearance definitely recommended!

photo of Turkey creek

Turkey Creek, so pretty!

All that said, the scary drive is well worth the end destination! Aaron’s mom asked why we drive roads like that if they are so scary? Because the reward on the other side is SO worth it! It’s not easy to find the trail head, even with a trail book of directions. There are lots of four wheel drive roads, more like a maze of roads surrounding the Gila River. We had to park a mile or so away from the trail head. Even though we drive an AWD Subaru, the river is quite deep in some spots, so we decided crossing in the car was not a good idea.

turkey creek

Who knew there could be such a beautiful desert oasis hidden in these desert mountains!

Crossing the river by foot is quite refreshing at this time of the year! It was 94 degrees the day we were out there and the cool water felt lovely. After four river crossings, we wandered around a bit, looking for the trail head. There is an old private homestead with a windmill hidden in the trees. This is where the trail begins. Unfortunately for us, after making our way through the maze of roads and backtracking to finally find the trail head, we didn’t have enough time or energy to make it all the way to the hot springs. According to our trail book, the springs are another 3 miles up from the windmill. We made it up about 2 of the 3 miles.

I love these tree trunks! Sycamore trees abound in this canyon!

I love these tree trunks! Sycamore trees abound in this canyon!

Now that we know where we’re going, we hope to make it all the way up to the hot springs next time. We weren’t too disappointed though, considering how hot it was! The cool water in the creek and river were refreshing and more than enough for this trek.

The rock cliffs tower hundreds of feet over the creek bed, though the trees cover most of them from view.

The rock cliffs tower hundreds of feet over the creek bed, though the trees cover most of them from view.

I’m planning on getting back to blogging twice a week. One blog will be about our latest hiking adventure and the other will be about my art. Subscribe to my blog above if you would like to be notified when I post a new blog. You may also want to go to my website and sign up for my email list to get more updates about my art and where our latest explorations have taken us!

Such a gorgeous landscape of rocks, trees and water!

Such a gorgeous landscape of rocks, trees and water!

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Gila Cliff Dwellings

Aaron and I at the entrance of the cliff dwellings

Aaron and I at the entrance of the cliff dwellings

I may have blogged about this before, but it must have been years ago! That’s how long it’s been since Aaron and I visited. I love being back in southwestern New Mexico. It’s a homecoming of sorts. Different town this time around. When I was a kid growing up in Las Cruces, we spent countless weekends and Summers camping, hiking and exploring the Gila National Forest.

Catching the first glimpse of the cave from the trail below

Catching the first glimpse of the cave from the trail below

We brought visiting family and friends here to see the beauty of this vast wilderness. The Gila Cliff Dwellings is one of the most visited spots in the Gila. The other being the Catwalk trail near Glenwood.

The cliff face near the dwellings

The cliff face near the dwellings

When we go hiking with our dogs, we usually stick to trails without other people around. This past Sunday, we left the dogs at home. Mainly because dogs aren’t allowed at the Cliff Dwellings. They do have kennels for the dogs though, just in case!

One of the ancient rock walls of the cliff dwellings with it's distinctive window shape

One of the ancient rock walls of the cliff dwellings with it’s distinctive window shape

The road out to the site is a twisting, turning mountain road with no center line. Though it’s paved, it is definitely a back country road!

The hiking trail up to the cliff dwellings crosses over a small stream several times before zig zagging up the hillside to the ruins. The heat of the sun gives way to the cool of the cave as you climb the wooden ladder into the dwellings that haven’t been occupied in close to a thousand years.

Looking out into the canyon from within the cliff dwellings

Looking out into the canyon from within the cliff dwellings

It’s easy to see why the ancient ones chose this place, up high on a cliff overlooking a mountain spring. A view of the canyon, a source of water, a shelter from the weather.

Looking back as we head down the exit path.

Looking back as we head down the exit path.

If you ever find yourself in Silver City, New Mexico, I highly recommend you take the drive up to the Gila Cliff Dwellings. You won’t be sorry you did!

See you later New Mexico!

photo of Silver City Lizard mural

This Silver City mural greeted us as we entered downtown

We’ve been in Silver City, New Mexico for the past three days. We love this little town, but it’s time to move on. This morning we woke up to the freezing cold! Arizona, here we come!

photo of horse mural

Another mural in Silver City.

Silver City began as a mining town over a hundred years ago, hence the name. As a matter of fact, many of the small towns in the Southwest started out as mining towns. In the past decade or more it has become a wonderful artist community. Everyone we encountered was very friendly. Silver City is also the home of Western New Mexico University. I highly recommend visiting if you ever get the chance.

photo of the outside of the Silver City museum

Silver City Museum

The first morning here we walked over to downtown Silver City. My goal was to find an art gallery for my prints, but Tuesdays everything is closed. We wandered around town, browsing thrift stores and ended up checking out the Silver City Museum, which is housed in one of the towns old historic homes.

RV set up at Silver City RV park

Our RV set up at the Silver City RV park, just outside of downtown.

We had a lovely visit with an artist friend and her husband. She made us a yummy dinner of green chile enchiladas with beans and Tecate beer. Our last New Mexican food until we return next Spring.

view from the upper floor window of the museum

View from the upper floor window of the museum

We rode our newly tuned up bikes to her house, it was only 4.5 miles, but the hills! The hills were a killer! Luckily for us, they have a truck and gave us a ride home since it was after dark and VERY cold outside.

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Aaron and I with Hosana Eilert, the owner of Wild West Weaving

Wednesday morning I went back to town, on my bike this time, to visit the art galleries. I started with a couple of galleries that had been suggested by friends in Las Cruces and also by my local artist friend. The second gallery I went into was Wild West Weaving. Hosana was a lovely lady and very friendly. She represents my friend, Dayna Griego’s, glass art. We got to talking and I told her about my needlepoint designs. This piqued her interest enough that she is going to represent my prints AND fine art needlepoint canvases.

Wednesday evening we had a delicious dinner at the Adobe Springs Cafe. The cafe is in what used to be the office of an old motel. The food was absolutely fabulous! I had a chipotle peach grilled chicken which was like nothing I have ever tasted, spicy, sweet and just plain yummy! Aaron had fried catfish which is a pretty common dish around these parts.

This morning I stopped back at Wild West Weaving and dropped off a bunch of prints for the gallery and got the contract signed. I now have my art represented in a gallery in Silver City! Wild West Weaving is located at 211 Texas in downtown. We took a photo with Hosana, the owner, but for some reason wordpress isn’t cooperating with me on getting it posted here. Hosana not only sells her weaving in the gallery but teaches classes on weaving, dying yarn and setting up looms for weaving. Stop by and see her if you are in town and tell her I sent you! 🙂

This will be my last post for a week, possibly shorter, as we are headed to the Chiricahua National Monument in southern Arizona for some camping and hiking. I will have lots of photos to share once we get to Bisbee. Stay tuned!