A Few Days Along the Upper Gila

June 2-4, 2017

With temperatures are already in the triple digits every day here in Tucson, it was time to escape to running water and a cool green forest. A friend invited us to spend a couple of days at Wildwood Hot Springs north of Silver City. We were surprised to learn that the hot springs had reopened, under new management, after being washed out in the flood of September 13, 2013. Stranded campers shot the following video the day after the flood:

The campsites are a bit muddy and overgrown, but the hot pools were nicer than we remembered, especially since the first night we had them all to ourselves.
Mist rising from the Gila at dawn.
Nice overlook of the river, destined for oblivion as the river that took out most of the campground in 2013 continues to swing wide and undercut.
Campsite in the high desert that feels more like a tropical rainforest.
We took an early morning walk up the hill to Doc Campbell's for homemade ice cream.
Big puffy clouds and distant thunder every day. But it can't be the leading edge of the monsoon ... can it?
Happiness is ...
Becky Campbell's pack train taking five guys from Texas up the East Fork.
My writing room for two days.
Afternoons splashing in the Gila River. The water was nice and warm.
Of course we had to do the short hike up to the Gila Cliff Dwellings. I've been visiting this site for 19 years, but I never get tired of it!
Between 40 and 60 people are believed to have inhabited these cliff dwellings, but only for about 30 years.
I like to sit quietly for a few minutes and try to imagine what life was like for the people who lived here. It must have been noisy, with childrens' voice echoing off the walls. And in the winter, it was surely a muddy, smokey, damp and crowded.
At the same time, it must have felt welcoming and safe. Did they think their home was beautiful? They must have!
A small but well-preserved pictograph on the ceiling.
Cliff, half moon and black hawk.
Bees on a prickly pear blossom.
A perfectly formed, Georgia-O'Keeffe-worthy Datura.
Crossing the bridge below the cliff dwellings.
One last swim in the Gila and then it was time to head home. The water was crystal clear and chest deep with an impressive current.
This is Tucson's forecast for the coming week. Can we just go back, NOW???