As we drove around and nearly hit a few mule deer, we actually had a plan. First up was to get some supplies from the store in Silver City. Funny how no matter how much you think you’re prepared, you run out of something invariably. We ran out of eggs and… it shames me to admit… coffee… How could I let us run out of coffee? Well, we still had a day’s worth. We made the run into Silver city along New Mexico 15. It was an extremely long drive and involved me having a few choice words at a couple people who didn’t realize that crossing the line on a blind corner is a bad thing to do. Of course they couldn’t exactly hear me through our windows, but darn it I was saying the words anyway.
Heading out there took most of the early afternoon. That way had a couple more intersections with mule deer, and by the time we got to the store, I was well and truly done driving for a bit. The small break we got wandering through the store really helped me. Then we went the other way back to camp. We stopped along the way to update my better half’s mother on the fact that we were alive, and that unfortunately at the campground there is no cell phone reception at all. If you need cell service for work, don’t camp at Gila Hot Springs. Because there isn’t any. I quickly paid a few bills while I had internet connection, and then we drove back to camp.
By the time we made it back to camp it was already dark. It was amazingly dark by 6PM. So we made dinner, and relaxed in the RV. I shut off the water, and disconnected the hose so it wouldn’t freeze, and we relaxed for a bit. We tried to get into the hot tub we paid for that night, and found that the lock combination had changed from the morning. I was a tad miffed about it, but figured it was because they limited the use at night. I wasn’t too terribly upset thought, because hey, it was kinda cold. So, after realizing the hot tub was locked, we went back to the RV and played Monopoly all night. I lost…
The next morning was the trip to the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Park. If you go during the winter(like we did) I recommend going in the afternoon instead of early morning(like we ALSO did). The hike up in the early morning was cold(We’re out of Phoenix, AZ. 50 is cold, 90 isn’t terribly hot). The ground was frozen, and we didn’t bring heavy jackets(admittedly not that bright of us). As we hiked up the beautiful trail, we rejoiced as we crossed into the sun lit areas, and clutched out light clothes as we crossed back into the shaded areas. And there were many shaded areas. The sun played a game with us as we climbed the mountain. It would peek out from the canyon ridge and we would feel it’s warmth, and then we’d walk a few more steps and be shivering cold again.
The sights were spectacular though. I would highly recommend it when it is warm enough though. It wasn’t too strenuous, and even my out of shape self was able to make it up with relative ease. Though admittedly seeing the sun on the other side was a pretty good motivator when it was cold. When we got up to the top there were a few volunteers up there that offered information and pointed out some cave art. Unlike the petroglyphs at other places we saw, these were painted on using pigment. The ones at Lyman Lake were better preserved, but did not use red pigment. It was interesting to note that this Gila Cliffs is along the Gila River. The water from here flows all the way to Phoenix and joins with the Salt River and becomes the other part of the Gila River. This section just happens to be along the Mongollon Rim, which is also found at the favorite places for us to camp in Arizona. It’s kind of nice to be in a place with an attachment to our home.
And there’s a crap-ton more pictures of Gila Cliffs here.
Looks much better from afar.
After coming down the mountain, my better half wanted to check out the other site we were going to stay at, but decided against, The City of Rocks. It was a pretty hefty drive, and along the way we decided to check out Lake Roberts. Apparently it’s being worked on, so it really wasn’t much of a lake at the time. But it satisfied our curiosity about it.
City of Rocks was a state park that seemed to be trying to find itself. The hiking trails were so poorly marked, we ended up following a quail path because it was more well defined. Who knows where we would have ended up if my sweetheart didn’t need to use the tinkle-torium. We headed back so she could use the facilities. Then we made a few more attempts at following a few more paths, which all seemed to fizzle out in to completely random non-trails that were not really marked.
That isn’t to say that the park wouldn’t be a nice place to stay. It is actually quite lovely. Though their RV space was about as attractive as a Walmart parking lot with electric and water. I don’t think I’d want to stay on the electric sites, simply because it just looks like a parking lot. Really folks, can’t they at least make the sites far enough apart that you don’t have to know what color undies your neighbor put on in the morning? The non-electric sites were very lovely though. And spaced far enough apart that you could easily camp there and enjoy the scenery.
More pictures of it here
We left City of Rocks, and returned to the camp site. I figured we had enough time to make it back to camp and still have some daylight. And I was wrong. We did see quite a few more animals on our way back though. And here they are. More mule deer, and a couple shots of javelinas.
That night we finally headed down to the hot springs. Being rather unfamiliar with the territory, we opted for the clothing option. It really didn’t bother me, My parents were nudists. I would have been fine with it, and My sweetie would have been fine as well. We just failed to communicate that to each other, and soooo we sat there with our clothes on while everyone else was naked. No, no pics of that. We had a rather nice conversation with a couple that was there, and a few others that joined.
And the next morning we headed home… While driving I discovered one of my tires was experiencing tread separation. This can be pretty dangerous, and even when it isn’t it makes for a less than comfortable ride. I swapped the spare on and the ride went much better.
And we were back in Arizona… With all the bug splatter we could legally drive with on the window.