Middle Fork Gila River

September 2, 2023

The monsoon was AWOL all Summer. Fortunately, in late August, our thirsty forest was blessed with backwash from a series of tropical storms in the Gulf of Mexico. With the rain came some relief from record high temperatures. Our hiking group had been waiting for the weather to cool off enough to splash in the Middle Fork of the Gila River.

view from NM 15

On the drive up. I never get tired of this view!

Negotiating the "Sunflower Gauntlet". This year the fields of sunflowers go on forever, and some of them are 15' tall.

cliff dwelling

Was this a cliff dwelling? It has all the earmarks, including what looks like a granary on one side.

cliff dwelling with collapsed wall

A bit farther up the canyon, another cave has what looks a lot like a tumble-down wall across the front.

Mirabilis Longiflora

The wildflowers put on quite a show. Here's a Sweet Four O'Clock (Mirabilis Longiflora).

Rocky Mountain Bee Plant

Rocky Mountain Bee Plant, with Kim.

Datura blossom

Datura blossoms billowing like pillowcases.

Kim in a hollowed-out tree

Kim loves gnarly trees. This one was a perfect fit!

Northern Black-Tailed Rattlesnakep

I think this is a Northern Black-Tailed Rattlesnake. I came awfully close to stepping on him, then froze while my brain slowly processed the unmistable hiss of a coiled rattlesnake.

soaking in hot springs

We got back to the hot springs in time for a nice long soak before the holiday weekend crowd descended. Homemade ice cream at Doc Campbell's, followed by a gentle rain for the drive home. It just doesn't get any better!