"Slight chance of snow showers, no significant accumulation." That was the forecast when I went to bed on New Year's Day.
A confluence of circumstances — back-to-back parties and one free space at Catalina State Park — drew us to spend the weekend before Christmas in Tucson. As much as we love Silver City, we do miss this place, and especially these people.
While hiking in Mineral Creek today, we were alarmed to encounter numerous fresh mining claim stakes. It was only then it dawned on me that Summa Silver's plans to redevelop silver mines near Mogollon might also impact one of the most beautiful canyons in the Gila National Forest.
Box Canyon is one of our favorite hikes, and we've returned to it again and again after first stumbling onto during an exploration of the Lower Gila Box in 2019.
The CDT south from US 90 to ridge topped with dazzling white quartz is one of our favorite hikes.
My hiking friends cautioned me that the approach to Twin Sisters from the Arrastra would be extremely difficult, if not impossible. It was a challenging but thoroughly enjoyable hike, and it may be our new local favorite!
This area just south of town is rich in history. A spider's web of hiking trails follows the creek past old industrial sites, slag heaps, automobile graveyards, hippie homesteads and historic Chinese market gardens. It has enormous potential as a linear park, but it needs Superfund-level cleanup. Is this my new project?
As often happens, Summer gave way rather abruptly to late Fall. I was hoping to spend some time hiking in the golden aspens before it was too late. So on a sunny Thursday afternoon we packed up the camper and headed for Escudilla Mountain.
With Covid and completing the tower eating up most of the month of September, we were eager to get out. And get out we did, tackling a very tough trail on the west side of the Gila Wilderness that leads to a historic cabin on Big Dry Creek.
While we both recover from Covid — yes, we finally succumbed, after 2½ years of careful masking, distancing, vaxing and boosting — we witnessed a presentation by the Fort Sill Apache Fire Dancers that was part of the 2022 Gila River Festival. Positioning ourselves very far from other people, and with a giant zoom, we captured a few images and some fuzzy video.
We made a deal: If we moved to Silver City, Dennis got the ham radio tower of his dreams!
Thirty-six years ago, I took a ride on the Cumbres & Toltec Railroad, and fell in love with the Southwest. Since then, I've always had a soft spot for North America's highest steam train, and we always stroll around the railyard any time we're in the area. This summer, when wildfires closed all of New Mexico's high elevation National Forest lands, we zeroed in on the Chama area as a possible alternative.
We've made a number of trips to the White Mountains, but we were always somewhat put off by the crowds — especially when we stayed in campgrounds. Over the last three years, we've become better acquainted with the area, and we've learned to venture farther off the beaten path.
Every year in June, we gather with fellow hams for Amateur Radio Field Day, to test and demonstrate their ability to communicate with limited equipment in challenging locations. Elevation and a good radio horizon are key, but so is a pleasant environment, since half the fun is camping with your buddies.
There's only one cure for those mean, low-down waiting-for-the-monsoon blues. But where to run when all New Mexico national forests — except, oddly, the Gila — were closed due to fire and extreme fire danger?
When I was growing up in northern Minnesota, I noticed that when my father read in bed at night, it wasn't "Popular Mechanics" or "Field & Stream". It was maps. Paper maps. He must have infected me with his cartographilia, because map reading is my super power. And it can come in really handy when a very well-planned trip goes totally off the rails.
A return visit to Three Rivers was, if anything, even more impressive than our initial exploration on a bone-chilling winter day in December, 2016. Here are the best of the hundreds of photos we took on our 2022 trip. How remarkable that there are so few repeats!
Little Cherry Creek Trail #241 doesn't appear on any of my maps, but we came across its junction with the CDT during our Twin Sisters hike. There is a lovely saddle at the juntion, and on a warm May day, we decided to try approaching from NM 15.
For CDT Trail Days, we returned to Sycamore Canyon Trail #234, which is part of the Continental Divide Trail Gila alternative. This time we made it all the way to the "official" location of Devil's Garden, including the famous "Regis-Tree".
We eagerly signed on when our dear friend Brenda T suggested a backpack along the Gila River Trail. We've done this trail many times, but always as a day hike. We'd never taken two days and spent the night at Alum Camp.
The Twin Sisters are a pair of bullet-bra volcanos bridged by a mysterious white ridge that is visible from almost anywhere in Silver City. I've been obsessed by them since my first days in my new hometown. What was this ridge made of? Was it possible to hike across it? A number of trails appeared to link to it, but only via a long and difficult hike:
Uninspired by our exploratory hike at Cooke's Peak, we gleefully set out cross-country, eventually making our way to an elusive ghost town in a high valley on the north side of the mountain.