Silver City…en fête

September 12th & 13th

Friday evening Pickamania begins. You can read more about it here and here.

It starts of with an Irish folk music group from Tucson called the Out of Kilters:

1_Pickamania kicks off with...

 

Captain learns some Irish folk dancing…

2_Captain learns Irish folk dancing

…while Star calls out the steps…

2b_while Star calls out...

 

The next day at the farmer’s market…

3_The next day at the farmer's market...

…the Loose Blues play music for us while we shop…

4...the Loose Blues play while we...

 

A little later, after a lunch of tacos in the park, we listen to another very good group called the Littlest Bird:

5_A little later The Littlest Birds...

 

And then another group comes on, the Higher Ground…

7_Higher Ground 2

6_...followed by Higher Ground... 8_Higher Ground 3

…really very, very good.

 

In the meantime Captain and I…

9_While...

…have a beer in the nearby beer garden:

12_...have a beer...

You’ll notice that I’m wearing my jacket. It is a little cool today as tropical storm Odile moves into the area for several days of rain. I’ve mentioned these rains in some of my previous posts. They will have serious consequences for the little community of Portal, Arizona where Dirk is now and where I’m soon to be going.

Pickamania continues the rest of the day and tomorrow. Unfortunately I don’t see a whole lot of it. I have work to do on my computer. And tomorrow I’m off for Gila Hot Springs again, already reported in a previous post. The rain will drive me out of Gila, though, and send me back to Faywood, also recounted in a previous post. Sorry for the confusing chronology.

Gila River Hot Springs

September 10th & 11th, 2014

This morning Captain and I load up Van and head north into the Gila Mountains to camp overnight…

2_Gila forest...

…at Gila Hot Springs Ranch:

3_Gila Hot Springs Ranch

The Gila Hot Springs Ranch is located on one of the upper forks of the Gila River, where the water flows year round. Unfortunately, I seem to have neglected to take a photo of the river itself. The ranch is located below these rock formations:

4_below this rock formation

5_rock formation_different angle

In addition to its semi-developped hot springs and campground (a wonderful place to soak and camp), GHSR is a real working ranch of some importance, with horses, goats and probably other animals too.

6_is a working ranch 6b_of some importance

Horses go by from time to time:

6c_horses go by

Located on this meadow, …

7_near this meadow

…Gila is a veritable village, with some nearby houses…

8_is a veritable village 8b_house

…including this one, with a small secondary dwelling, which is for sale:

8c_this house is for sale 8d_including this small guest house

Gila is a place with a spirit, and humor…

9_a village with a spirit 9b_and a certain humor

…that we see espcially when we drive out:

10_especially on driving out

As said in the previous post about the cliff dwellings, we meet up with our friend Dirk. We find a campsite just next to his:

11_we find a camp site

Dirk has been here since the previous day and his camp is already set up…

12_next to Dirk's who's already here

…and he’s very well equipped for camping:

13_Dirk is well equipped, glimpse of river...

If you look hard, on the left side of the picture, you can catch a glimpse of the Gila River.

Of course, the best thing about a hot springs resort is the soaking pools…

14_...but the best part is the springs

…which, at Gila, are relatively natural…

15_...which are quite natural...

… for such a semi-developed facility…

16_...for a developed resort

…and are clean and well maintained…

17_...with water which is very hot...

Set under the many cottonwood trees that grow along the river, Gila is a wonderful place.  We talk and soak and get caught up. Dirk makes a terrific fish curry for dinner, and we soak and talk and drink beer and wine and tequila (all in moderation, of course).

The grounds at Gila are lovely and many flowers grow here. Some are wild, like these wild sunflowers that I first saw at Pott’s Ranch hot springs in Nevada…

19_...both wild...

…and these too whose name I don’t know (but I’m glad to see that the Occupy Movement has come this far)

21_...glad to see the occupy movement...

…and some not so wild…

18_Many flowers grow on the grounds... 18b_...bis...

22_...and not so wild... 23_...in fact the proprietor told me...

In fact, the proprietor confirms that these morning glories are domestic. Wild morning glories can be found, though, in these desert regions.  I’ll try to take some pictures.

The following day, after a leisurely morning of soaking and talking and an early lunch of mushroom omelettes, we get ready to leave.

Captain washes the dishes:

25_Captain cleaning up

Dirk packs up his truck:

24_Dirk packs his truck

Dirk is leaving for the small community of Portal in southeastern Arizona where he has some land and is building a house.  We’ll meet up with him again there.

I decide that I’ll come back to Gila on my own in the coming days.  See the previous posts about that.

Right now, though, Captain and I are on our way back to Silver City, where the music festival Pickamania is about to begin.

Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument

September 10th, 2014

I’ve promised you a more detailed visit of cliff dwellings.  About two hours north of Silver City, in the Gila Mountains, lies the Gila Cliff Dwelling National Monument. Captain and I drove up there in Van to camp over night with Dirk, another friend from our days at Sonoma State University in California. We meet up at Gila River Hot Springs where we set up camp and then drive a short way to the cliff dwellings.

Captain and Dirk head up the trail towards the dwellings:

1_Captain and Dirk head up...

We’re very careful as we walk. At the trailhead they tell us that many black-tailed rattlesnakes have been sighted lately.

 

It’s a pleasant trail through a green forest along side a creek:

2_the trail...

 

Our destination…

3_...towards the cliff dwellings

…and in a close up.

4_...cliff dwellings zoom

 

After a short walk we arrive at the dwellings. The caves are in fact a series of alcoves carved by the action of water on the stone.

5_We approach the dwellings

 

In some cases only the barest foundations remain…

6_In some of the alcoves... 7_only the most foundations remain

…whereas in others the structures are quite intact…

8_...but in others... 9_the structures are quite intact...

…though sometimes reinforced for safety and equipped for accessibility…

11_...and equipped for accessability...

 

The view from within:

12_accessability2

13_from inside an alcove

 

Information panels help us to understand both the dwellings…

16...and the reconstruction...

…and the numerous pictographs found here:

15_...as to the mural paintings...

 

Some of the wall paintings… The one on the right isn’t very clear, but it’s a hand.  We’ll see this again later:

16b_a wall painting 16c_another wall painting_hand

 

An inscription from more recent times:

16d_inscription from a much later period

 

One of the big mysteries in these cliff dwellings is the exact use of the different structures. The smaller rooms were likely used for food storage.

17_one big mystery is the use of...

 

Smoke traces on the ceiling are evidence that these caves were occupied for thousands of years:

18_signs show inhabitation going way back...

 

But the remaining wooden beams in the houses are from trees felled between 1276 and 1287. The inhabitants of these cliff dwellings were only here for about thirty years.

There is much speculation as to why the inhabitants of these impressive structures stayed for such a short time:

19_but these dwellings were only...  22_there is speculation that it was an outpost

23_of more southerly tribes for...  24_agricultural purposes...

20_inhabited about 30 years...  21_about 700 years ago...

Some have advanced the theory that this was an agricultural outpost for a more southerly tribe and that when drought made it no longer viable the people move elsewhere.

 

The view across the canyon from the dwellings:

25_across the canyon from the dwellings

 

Down canyon:

26_down canyon

 

Up canyon:

27_up canyon

 

Later in the afternoon Captain shows us some other pictographs at another site on the way back to camp:

30_...some pictographs at another site...

30b_pictograph, where we also find a diamondback

We also stumble upon a rattlesnake here, but a diamondback and not a black-tailed.  We have surprised it and it begins to coil, but we back off and luckily the snake decides to move on. They don’t like us any more than we like them.

 

And we locate this depression in the rock, likely used for grinding corn:

31_...where we find this...

 

At yet another site Captain shows us this little-known structure:

32_...near this little known dwelling...

 

Dirk inspects the workmanship:

33_Dirk inspects the workmanship 34_workmanship2

 

At a last stop Captain shows us more pictographs…

35_at yet another site we find... 36_more pictographs

Here the hand is much clearer.

 

I had to crawl on my hands and knees to get these:

39_...these bis

40_...these ter

 

It’s late now and we head back to our camp at the hot springs.

City of Rocks and Faywood Hot Springs

September 9th

One afternoon during my stay in Silver City, Captain and I drove out to the City of Rocks State Park and also visited the nearby Faywood Hot Springs.

From a distance City of Rocks looks like this:

1_City of Rocks

 

An island of rocks surrounded by desert:

2_City...closer up

 

This partial view gives a better impression of what City of Rocks is all about:

September_8-9_trip_down_180_and_day1_in_Silver_City 114

There is also a campground and a picnic area.

 

We wander about the many passages…

3_We wandered about

…to be found among this haphazard “city” of rocks.

4_...among these rocks...

 

Here’s Captain walking along one of the “streets”:

5_Here's Captain on one of the main streets

 

Here we are in the very center of the city:

6_from the center of CoR

 

Captain tries to decide which way to go:

7_Captain trying to decide which way...

 

Maybe this way?

8_...maybe this way...

 

A view of the desert from the city center:

9_...view onto the desert

 

 

Here’s another part of town:

10_...another part of town

 

Some of the local vegetation, yuccas, with their blossoms (somewhat faded here) which are the New Mexico state flower:

14_yuccas...

 

After that we went to the nearby Faywood Hot Springs resort which…

15_then we went to...

…on a hot day in the desert may seem a bit strange…

16_Faywood hot springs...

…but it’s really a very nice place and I’d like to give the owners some help and encouragement.

 

I confess that I took these next few pictures a few days later when, on my own, I went back to Faywood on a rainy day and camped over night. The skies are now grey and the canopy has been drawn back:

17_these next few pictures...

18_...I took at Faywood a few days later...

 

I was driven out of the Gila Mountains by some of the remnants of tropical storm Odile…

19b_Gila Mountains as I drive back

…which brought a lot of rain, several days running, to Arizona and New Mexico.  I’m not complaining. These states need the water and I won’t begrudge them whatever rainfall they get. More about Odile in the next few posts.

 

So I camped at Faywood…

21_under equally gray skies

…under grey skies…

20_I camped at Faywood for a night...

21b_grey skies bis

…and had the campground to myself.

During the night it rained heavily. I was awake very early and had a long soak as the rain came down.  I even went back to my campsite and took a shower in the rain. Luckily neither the air nor the rain were cold.

In Silver City

September 8th to 13th

I’ve arrived in Silver City, home of my friend Richard, aka Captain. You’ll have to wait until the next post to see a photo of him. I’ve known Captain since our student days. In fact, he’s part of this crowd here…

Sebastopol-my college classmates

…that you met in Sebastopol a few weeks ago.

 

Captain lives here:

1_Captain's house

 

The back yard…

2_Captain's back yard

Among the many plants there is a prickly pear…

7_Prickly pear, but... 8_...this one has flowered...

…that has flowered.

 

Silver City is a pleasant town. These are some shots of the main street, Bullard:

9_Silver City is a pleasant town 10_here's Bullard Street, the main street

The town has a lot of period buildings:

11_that has a lot of period buildings

 

For example, this bank, and the now-closed Buffalo Bar next door:

12_like this bank

And some nicely restored buildings too, in both Anglo-Victorian and Hispanic styles:

14_Nice building...

15_...another nice building...

16_This downtown building's been nicely rendered

 

The restored Murray Hotel…

18_Restored Murray Hotel

…with its art deco interior:

17_...and its interior

 

There are some interesting and colorful side streets…

13_and colorful side streets

…where we find some murals representing different periods in the history of New Mexico:

25_Silver also has these murals representing...

…the historic Mimbres peoples…

26_...the historic Mimbres peoples...

…the Apaches…

27_...the Apache...

…the Spanish and Mexicans…

28_...the Spanish and Mexican period

…the Anglos…

29_the Anglos

…and the makings of modern New Mexico…

30_...and modern New Mexico

 

Silver City has a good farmer’s market…

19_Silver has a nice farmer's market...

…with some colorful…

20_...with some colorful...

…and plentiful stands…

21_...and plentiful stands...

22_...stands 2...

23_...stands 3

24_stands 4

 

Further along we find more murals, representing both history…

31_This other mural...artistic town...

…and more recent phenomena, such this one on the site of a former automobile dealership:

32_...and yet another mural...automobiles...

 

We find these tiles made by local school children…

33_...Tiles made by local children

…and this sculpture in front of the local library…

34_...Sculpture in front of library

 

One last feature of Silver City is this log cabin…

35_One last feature of Silver...

…a replica of the cabin where Billy the Kid is said to have lived…

37...the home of Billy the kid 38...the Kid

39...though not the original... 40_...is still a reasonable model of...

It was built as a movie set and then later presented to the city by film director Ron Howard.

See more photos of Silver City here. And see the town’s official website here.

Into New Mexico

September 8th, 2014

On leaving Chinlé yesterday I started falling asleep at the wheel so I took a motel room on Interstate Highway 40 as soon as I got that far.  I wanted to drive further, but it just wasn’t wise.

Today I’m refreshed and ready to travel again. This morning the sun greets me at the door:

1_sunrise looking east

 

Due east of here, New Mexico is calling.

I set off down highways 191…

2_down highways 191 and...

…and 180…

3_and 180

…into New Mexico…

4_into New Mexico

…with its sumptuous vistas and…

5_with its sumptuous vistas and skies

and skies…

8_of course, rainbows mean...

…full of promise.

6_full of promise...

 

Sometimes twofold, if you look hard:

7_sometimes twofold, if you look hard

Of course, we all know what rainbows mean.

 

It’s a day of lakes…

9_it was a day of lakes, Lyman...

… Lyman Lake at Lyman State Park, Arizona, where I eat lunch and take a nap, and…

… Luna Lake, near Alpine, Arizona, in a cool and green region of mountains…

10_Luna Lake

…and Bill Evans Reservoir, as I near Silver City, my destination:

11_Bill Evans

 

It’s a day of forests…

12_forests...

Apache National Forest, near the Arizon-New Mexico border…

… and Gila National Forest:

13_more forests...

 

It’s a day of flowers:

14_and flowers

 

I know I’m not very good about the names of flowers.  I promise to work on that.

15_flowers2 17_flowers4

16_flowers3

18_flowers5

20_flowers7

 

This one, I’ve been told, is an Indian Paintbrush:

21b_Indian bis

And these are called Blanket Flowers

22_Blanket flower1 22b_blanket flower2

23_flowers9

24_flowers10

I’ve seen this one before; I’d like to get a picture of it fully flowered.

 

And now it’s on to Silver City.