Slot City with the Gila Hikers

April 23, 2024

We returned with our hiking group, the Gila Hikers to a remarkable area of slot canyons and crenelated cliffs not far from Silver City.

group of hikers crossing a stony plain with mountains in the distance

There's no trail, but a route drops into a dry canyon and emerges on a vast plain of volcanic tuff.

hikers going over an old fence across a dry stream

There are a few signs of a previous mining or ranching operation, including an old concrete dam, a small shack, lots of pipe, and this old fence.

blanket flower

The wash was dry, but we saw some wonderful spring wildflowers, including this luscious blanket flower.

fragrant evening primose

Fragrant evening primose.

yellow wildflower, groundsel or ragwort

I'm still looking for an ID for this flower that I see often in the Gila Wildernes — perhaps a groundsel or ragwort. Other sightings included verbena, Indian paintbrush and golden smoke.

bighorn sheep

I'm getting used to a new (old camera), so I zoomed in on a white dot at the top of the ridge. Nobody believed me when I said it was a bighorn sheep, but I rest my case!

cliffs looming in distance

Approaching the slotty area.

huge wall of sculptured cliffs

The only word for this landscape is "epic"!

pair of turkey vultures

A pair or turkey vultures waiting for us to die.

hikers having lunch in the shade

It was already getting warm. We found a shady spot for "first lunch".

hikers crawling over a large choke stone

To enter the slot, you must first conquer the choke stone!

inside the slot

The first slot is surprising long and unobstructed.

Ken in the slot, with a large chokestone overhead

Ken approaching an impressive choke stone.

pool at the end of the slot

The last part of the slot was flooded. Lots of animal tracks in the slot showed that this tiny pool is an important source of water for them.

Dennis scampering over the choke stone

Dennis demonstrating his agility (not bad for 75).

steep stone canyon walls

Continuing up the canyon.

three hikers in deep shade below towering cliffs

In the shadow of towering cliffs.

group resting in the shae

Second lunch.

Dennis climbing up a cliff to see a very green tree

We were all dazzled by the bright green tree in the slot. Alan did his best to get a closer look.

man and woman hiking out of the canyon with hoodoos behind them

Kim and Dennis emerging from the slots.

ancient juniper tree in a sunny canyon

A venerable juniper.

stiped whipsnake, coiled

A striped whipsnake. So long and skinny!

Kim and Dennis hiking across volcanic tuff

It was a long, hot slog up and out of the canyon. We need to return in cooler weather, and spend a couple of days!