We never tire of hiking the many and varied canyons along the Gila River. We returned this time with our new hiking group, the Gila Hikers.
Dennis, Morgan, Ken, me, Lisa C, Lisa F and Danny
Looking upstream. The Gila was running about as high as I'd ever seen it.
There were many pawprints where something had been dragged into — or out of — the river.
It was a surprisingly warm day, with full sun and no wind in the canyon. We were delighted to discover "Dimension", a new coffee shop in
Lordsburg, complete with a friendly coffee shop cat. And we are so square, we didn't even notice the "THC" sign until our friends pointed it out!
The highlight of the hike was when we returned to pick up our packs after wandering upstream, and spied a troop of 9-10 coatis high-tailing up the opposite bank.
Notice how the largest animal — perhaps a male? — keeps an eye on us while the rest of the group scampers over the rocks.
November 30, 2022
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. We were accompanied on this trip by Miguel and by Dale M., a visitor from Indiana who took some fine photos! We sent Dale home with some tall tales to tell, including
mountain lion track sightings, sinking into quicksand, and getting ripped to shreds by catclaw. Good times!
Box Canyon starts as a flat wash and descends through layers of conglomerate, sculpted white tuff and red rhyolite.
Dale hoofing it up one of the side canyons.
As we approach the Gila, the walls rise up and contort into all manner or whorls and hoodoos.
This summer's endless monsoon created extraordinary conditions, scraping bare the dense tangle of brush on the banks of the Gila.
Miguel, Dennis and me. (Photo/Dale M)
There were clear deep pools in the canyon — unusual for this season. (Photo/Dale M)
There were countless animal tracks in the caked mud by the river. These are probably collared peccaries.
How remarkable to find wide sandy beaches where Box Canyon empties into the Gila! (Photo/Dale M)
Miguel and me. (Photo/Dale M)
Tres Amigos. (Photo/Dale M)
Dale and Miguel.
Unmistakable mountain lion tracks, with a quarter for scale.
Sulphur butterfly. What are you doing out so late in the year?
December 4, 2021
Two years ago while exploring in the vicinity of Gila Lower Box, we peeked into a canyon and wondered if it would be possible to make our way down.
But the cliffs were pretty steep, so we followed the canyon upstream on a topo map and then just set off down the nearest sandy wash to see what we could see. Little did we imagine what wonders awaited us. But it was late in the day, so we only made it partway to the Gila River.
It's been on my list ever since, and an unusual 70-degree day in early December was the perfect opportunity.
Undeterred by the long drive, Brenda T and Kimberly R-S from Silver City Hikers joined us for the hike.
As with most canyons, we descend through several different layers of rock, beginning with rough conglomerate, and then blossoming into beautifully sculptured white rock — tuff?.
The canyon walls rise up to form bewildering spires, voids and gnarled cliffs.
The ruddy hue is typical of volcanic tuff.
An ancient cottonwood makes a comfortable recliner.
And suddenly the canyon emptied into the Gila, and we were walking on a carpet of leaves under a canopy of enormous cottonwoods and sycamores.
The water here is surprisingly deep and flowing along at a pretty good clip.
We crashed through the brush to a sunny beach that made a nice lunch spot.
Heading back up canyon.
Dennis and I planned to camp out that night somewhere along the Gila. Following a two-rut track, we ended up on a high knoll with a commanding view.
We stayed outside as long as possible. There was a veil of virga dangling above the
sunset, light breeze ruffling the sides of the camper, and good glass of pinot noir in my hand. A group of about 30 cranes just flew very high overhead, their strange chortle audible for miles.