This Thanksgiving, we decided to try something we never do — just relax! So we booked a couple of nights at Faywood Hot Springs, which is a short drive from home now that we live in Silver City.
We returned to Hell's Half Acre with new hiking buddy Susan Z-M, hoping to make it all the way to the slots after stumbling upon the cairned trail on our last attempt
Finally, a day off from digging holes or destroying the guest bathroom! We chose an exploratory hike of Rain Creek, on the west side of the Mogollon Mountains, where 10,000-foot jagged mountains soar up from the the yellow grass plains of Wildhorse Mesa.
We were invited to lead a hike with a group of friends from Tucson who were staying at Wilderness Lodge. Why not stay over, get another soak, and maybe check out some of the side canyons that have been on our radar for more than 20 years?
I've been itching to return to this spot for years! No more excuses now that it's a mere hour's drive from home! This summer's monsoon and some eager beavers have certainly reconfigured the stream bed! We did manage a soak, but we had to work for it!
Silver City doesn't get Fall color like New England, but the afternoon light this time of year is still pretty wonderful.
We headed north to the Gila to scout the route for a hike we're leading later this month. On a whim — and at the last minute — we packed enough extra gear to allow us to spend the night. That gave us time to wander along the Gila River in search of a small hot springs we last visited 10 years ago.
It was our first time in the area, so of course we did everything wrong. We dropped into the canyon at an oblique angle, which made for greater elevation loss and a more difficult down climb. When the canyon narrowed and became choked with brush, we scrambled up the east side, seeking a way around the multiple side canyons. It was a poor choice that nevertheless provided some great views.
We planned a two-day backpack along the Gila River, in search of a tiny hot spring we visited a decade ago. But we've had a terrific monsoon, and NM Streamflow showed huge spikes on both the West Fork and the main stem Gila River. When we found the Gila flowing fast, dark and furious, we redirected to our old favorite trail to the warm springs on the Middle Fork.
Since moving to Silver City, I've been fascinated by the Mimbres River. This tiny, sparkling, partly ephemeral stream has no outlet. It simply sinks into the desert sands east of City of Rocks State Park. Yet the Mimbres is Silver City's primary watershead, since the mighty Gila lies west of the Continental Divide. Several months would pass before I realized that an old jeep trail runs right along the Mimbres, offering a great way to explore the upper reaches of the river.
We missed Field Day this year because Doug's Denali was getting a makeover. So we we switched our annual campout to the September AARL VHF Contest, aiming for our preferred dispersed camping location just outside Grand Canyon National Park. In addition to great free camping, the area also boasts an excellent radio horizon.
Some trips are quests, some are for a change of scenery, and some result from viriditaphobia. Yes, that's a real word meaning "fear of weeds". With our favorite travel buddy Ann H., we hatched a plan to camp at Snow Lake and hike the Middle Fork Trail.
When our friend Ann H. proposed a joint camping trip in honor of her late husband and our dear friend, we eagerly signed on. But hey, once we drove nearly all the way to the Colorado border, why stop there?
The hot, hot weather has arrived, and while I am profoundly grateful that Silver City temps are 10-15 degrees cooler than Tucson, I swear our sun is hotter! So were a bit skeptical when Ann H proposed a hiking and camping trip in the Piños Altos range, less than 15 miles from Silver City. But it worked out brilliantly, and it was great to get some serious outdoor time despite the heat.
Meadow Creek was a last-minute improv after a more ambitious trip was quashed by a combination of overwork, dentistry and unsettled weather. In retrospect, we couldn't have chosen a better place to spend the first few days of summer heat. Less than 20 miles from town, Meadow Creek is a world away.
We are surrounded by mountains, and just north of us is the Gila Wilderness, New Mexico's largest wilderness area, flanked by the equally impressive Aldo Leopold Wilderness Area. The two are separated by a narrow corridor of national forest land, traversed by FR 150 aka North Star Mesa Road, which runs all the way from Mimbres to Beaver Head. Let's go!
I've always wondered what the Gila River does between the Turkey Creek access and the cluster of farms in Cliff/Gila. Now I know it meanders through a sweet, sweet canyon shaded by giant cottonwoods and sycamores. With premier local guide Ann H., we spent the day just walking in the water.
A perfect spring day in a wet canyon deep in the Gila National Forest. We four-wheeled to the trailhead and then hiked into dreamy Allie Canyon, which meanders through lush meadows and Ponderosa pine forest across the Piños Altos Range.
So she did it! Our dear friend Ann H, who introduced us to Four Wheel campers, finally bought her own rig, a 2013 Taco with a Fleet flatbed. Ann came home with Turtle Truck just a few days before friends Jeff and Julia invited us to join them for three days in Aravaipa Canyon. It was the perfect first joint outing, and our first backpacking trip in more than a year!
Since we moved to Silver City, we've been hoping for a proper snowstorm. This is what we found when we opened our door about 7:00 am on Tuesday, January 26.
I don't know if we really planned on renovating a 1945 bungalow, but here we are. Since moving here in early December, we have worked nearly full-time on unpacking, organizing and, ultimately, renovating our new home in Silver City.