June 17-18, 2021
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! The bungle-oh has neither central heat nor
air conditioning, and we are
ratcheting up slowly with a whole-house fan and a single room air conditioner. So we 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.
Dave T was our guide for this trip, and he led us down a rough forest road to a well-shaded campsite beside a creek (currently dry). We quickly developed a winning formula,
hiking in the morning or early evening, and reserving the afternoons for what came to be known as "showers and Chardonnay".
Before moving to Silver City, I wondered if I'd find the Gila monotonous after 20 years in the Sonoran Desert. Our first hike was an abject lesson in the dazzling variety of
this forest, taking us in and out of a shallow wash that quickly developed into a stunning slot canyon, then clambered up a heavily forested ridge with see-forever views.
Dennis and Dave
We had to pause to take a few photos of this horned lizard, displaying a lovely pink cast.
From the top of the rise, we caught a glimpse of Our Lady of Guadalupe Monastery, a Benedictine Monastery founded in 1991.
What a setting!
Taking a break. Ann, Dennis and Dave.
Sun setting on the slot in Webb Gulch.
Preachers Point at 6961 feet is highly visible from almost anywhere in the Gila. There must be a story behind that name, since it's just downstream from "Devils Garden".
Next morning we headed up canyon along Sycamore Canyon Trail #234. Despite its remote location, the trail is in great shape, thanks to volunteers like Dave T.
The trail ambles along a trickling stream, eventually climbing to an open mesa top with dramatic views in all directions. Here's looking south toward Bear Mountain.
The agaves were at their absolute peak, glowing like they were lit from the inside.
The view north toward Tadpole Ridge.
Hot weather hiking garb. I struggled with the heat until I realized I needed to slow down and stay well-ventilated and hydrated. Just a great day in the Gila!
Many thanks to Ann H and Dave T for the great company and the grand adventure!