We’ve been getting a lot of nice monsoon rains in Albuquerque. Things have gotten really green for the desert. And it makes the morning temperatures really cool for hiking. I normally don’t hike any of the Petroglyph trails in the summer because they are just too hot even in the early morning.
Since it had really rained good Monday evening, I got up at 5:30 yesterday to drive out to the west mesa. I managed to hit the trail just before sunrise and just before moonset.
With the cool morning temps, several hot air balloons were flying over the mesa. At first they were off in the distance. But soon they were right over the Petroglyph trail above me. It’s always fun to see the balloons flying over Albuquerque.
To add to the flying balloons, the sky was full of beautiful clouds.
Soon the sun was starting to peek over the Sandia Mountains. I love how the clouds cause the rays of the sun to fan out. It just warms my soul.
I don’t usually like to have sun flares in my photos. But sometimes they are difficult to avoid. But for some reason I really liked the colorful flares in this photo.
Scarlett was having fun running up and down the trail. There were loads of bunny rabbits out in the desert scrub.
I have posted in the past about this trail and have shown many photos of the petroglyphs. This time I tried to find some I have posted before. But I don’t think I succeeded in that endeavor too well.
My favorite parts of the hike are when you get to the areas where there are loads of petroglyphs. It’s so much fun trying to find them on the many faces of the basalt rocks.
Another favorite area is at the end of the hike. You come upon a few rocks that are covered in hand prints. It’s amazing to see a hand print from someone over a 2,500 years ago!
I wonder if the people that had 6 fingers were considered special and were made shamans. I’ve noticed in many of the sites I’ve been to all over the southwest, that a lot of the handprints had 6 fingers.
A came across several millipedes in one area. I had never seen them before. It was so much fun trying to capture some images. I even touched one to get it to curl up.
I was surprised to find there were very few birds around. The morning was eerily bereft of birdsong. I had to search to find a few birds.
I came across a pretty white flower. When I looked inside, I saw a tiny green spider. It was a real challenge getting a photo of him!
Scarlett and I had a great morning walk. The trail was beautiful and the air was fresh. Nature was really showing off her best!
Last October my friend Valerie and I went to Silver City for a long weekend. I hadn’t been to that area since I was a young girl in the 70s. I was anxious to see the area again and share it with my friend. Though Valerie was born and raised in New Mexico, she had never been to the sights around Silver City.
It takes several hours to get to Silver City from Albuquerque. We got a late start so ended up driving through the mountains in the dark. The highway from I-25 to Silver City is very windy and steep. It was quite stressful driving that road at night. But it was exciting too. We saw several animals cross in front of us on the road: a mountain lion, a mule deer, a racoon and a fox!
We stayed at an old historic hotel called the Palace Hotel. It still had a nice “old timey” feel to it.
Lobby of the Palace Hotel
We were given Room 55. When we got to the second floor, we had to look twice for the door to our room. Hmmmmm…..I told Valerie “I think it’s behind that lamp.” WTF?!\
There’s our room door behind that standing lamp….
We did eventually find another entrance to our room that wasn’t blocked by lamps, chairs and tables. LOL!
I especially liked the main painting in the lobby. I told Valerie, “It’s me all over! Red dress and lipstick, holding a gun and showing lots of cleavage!”
What I would have been like “back in the day”
One of my favorite memories from childhood was hiking the Catwalk Trail in the Gila Wilderness. This trail consists of suspended walkways above Whitewater Creek. Several years ago the original catwalk was destroyed due to severe flooding. But in May of this year, a one-mile portion of the trail had been restored and opened up to the public.
So on an early October morning, we headed to the trail head. The weather was perfect: cool but sunny. The shadows were long which made for great photography. Here are some pics from the hike.
What a unique hike
Suspended above Whitewater Creek
The walkway criss-crossed so we could see the walkway ahead
Valerie enjoying the hike
The walkway eventually ends and you walk down to the creek.
The bridge ahead was the end of the trail. The entire trail has not been cleaned up from the flood. I hope they eventually open the entire trail again.
Valerie and Kelly having fun!
After hiking the catwalk, we tried hiking another trail nearby, but the creek was too high. There were several river crossings on the hike and no bridges available. So we decided to drive up to Mogollon. It’s a great historic town high in the mountains. Sadly, the road to Mogollon was closed so we had to cancel that idea as well. Drat!
So instead we headed back to Silver City to walk around town. On the way back we stopped to feed horses and photograph some rusty tractors. Valerie got a pic of me in my new Jeep Wrangler! I love my new vehicle!
Those horses loved that apple Valerie fed them
Cool old tractors
Me in my brand new Jeep!
We browsed shopfronts and took some photos around town. Eventually we ended up on a path that follows a creek that runs right behind Main Street. Funny thing is, the creek was actually Main Street before a giant flood took out the street and many of the buildings along it in 1895. So Main Street was moved over and the ditch created by the flood became permanent and is still in use today.
We found a way down to the creek!
I loved all the pools in among the limestone bedrock
Stream flowing from pool to pool
The next day we headed out to see the Gila Cliff Dwellings. Even though my family visited the Gila National Forest many times when I was young, we never went to the Gila Cliff Dwellings. So I was looking forward to seeing it as much as Valerie. The road there was very windy and steep. It was difficult driving. But what made it worse was we were having to drive around and among a bunch of racing bicyclists. Stressful! So many blind curves with no shoulder.
Windy road to the Gila Cliff Dwellings
I was tempted by this car for sale… LOL! After all, it only needs a battery!
It was worth getting there even though it took over an hour to drive there from Silver City. The hike to the dwellings was just beautiful. We both said we could hike trails like this all day. It was picturesque hiking in a forest, along a creek and scenic bridge crossings.
Bridge over the Gila River
A beautiful trail
We loved all the bridges
Eventually we climbed up to the dwellings. They are small, but they allow you to walk inside the rooms and get a feel for what it must have been like to live there so long ago.
Gila Cliff Dwellings
What a beautiful view!
While up at the top, a thunderstorm had moved in. We had to hurry back down the trail to safety. I’m glad we took our time going up and enjoyed the trail sights along the way.
On the rive back we stopped at one of the scenic pullouts to appreciate the stormy sky and wide vistas.
Panorama of the scenic view
I turned one photo into black and white. It made me think of the artist Ansel Adams.
On the drive back to Silver City, we were soooo hungry! We talked about what we wanted for dinner. We both agreed fairly easily…Pizza and Wine!!!! The restaurants in the downtown area were very busy so it took a while to find a place to eat. But we eventually sat down to dinner and we even managed to find that pizza and wine!
Delicious pizza! It hit the spot!
On our last day in the area, we visited City of Rocks State Park. It’s a cool piece of geology just stuck out in the middle of nowhere. It’s a great place to explore all the nooks and crannies formed by erosion.
It was fun exploring for a few hours.
Panorama of the park
We had fun climbing the rocks to get fun photos of each other.
We go to great lengths to get the “perfect” photo
Some of the areas were scary to navigate on foot! LOL!
My beautiful friend!
Going home we got to see that beautiful drive coming in. The views were amazing at the top of Emory Pass.
View from the top of Emory Pass
I hope you enjoyed reading about our adventures in Silver City! It was a fabulous weekend!