First Time in Gila National Forest

We landed at City of Rocks campground with no issues and found that our sites were directly next to each other.  City of Rocks is the most unusual campground I have ever been in and the campsites are spread on the outside edges of a couple of huge gigantic rocks with smaller rocks on them.  It is a New Mexico State Park and although most sites are first come first serve, they do have a few that are reserveable and we were in the Pegasus loop.  The “city” is completely surrounded by flat plain and then a few mountains including the very distinctive Table Top Mountain, so when you are driving up you really can’t see it until you are a few miles away.  Then out in the middle of nowhere there is a campground. The attraction is the unique campsites, hiking trails, and some local hot springs in the area, plus at $10 a night the price can’t be beat.  The whole vibe of the campground is extremely relaxed and the volunteers and rangers are very mellow in comparison to some other State Parks we were in. So we very quickly checked in and then found our spots.

Greg parked in his site

Greg parked in his site

Our front window view

Our front window view

Picnic table and grill area

Picnic table and grill area

We got a bonus fire pit surrounded by tall rocks on each side

We got a bonus fire pit surrounded by tall rocks on each side

And what an awesome fire we had

And what an awesome fire we had

That first day we just settled in and worked on some chores.  I like to clean when I first arrive in a place so took advantage of full water tanks to scrub a little.  I had also gotten a hole in my favorite blue jean shorts and Lee was kind enough to sew a little butterfly applique I had bought on for me.  Plus we worked out the itinerary with Cori/Greg , settling on a day trip every other day with the day off between to explore locally or work.  The only downside to the park is no dump on site (Lee took ours into Deming using the Blue Boy) and no ATT at all.  Verizon was working pretty good though and since C/G have a Verizon Jet Pack with unlimited minutes they were kind enough to let us share.  Since we have a secondary phone with Verizon service we were all set and the group was already talking about whether we should extend because the park was so great.

Truly a renaissance guy. He can sew and drill :)

Truly a renaissance guy. He can sew and drill 🙂

Saved my shorts!

Saved my shorts!

The sunsets are pretty here

The sunsets are pretty here

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On Monday we all drove to Gila National Forest to see the Gila Cliff Dwellings.  Greg is particularly interested in Indian ruins and the rest of us were happy to see it as well.  Wow, what a terrific experience.  First the drive up was amazing.  We traveled along a scenic route called the Trail of the Mountain Spirits and it was absolutely breathtaking.  Plus we were up in the mountains so we got to experience some cold and even see a little snow on the ground which was a cool change for the last couple of months in the desert.  Once we arrived, the Cliff Dwellings themselves were also spectacular.  It only costs $5 to get in (free with the America the Beautiful Pass) and you get to climb a very nice 1 mile trail (moderate difficulty) and then actually go inside some of the dwellings.  The staff was excellent, very friendly and passionate about the dwellings and we had a terrific time.  Even Cori who is waiting to get surgery on her split tendon next month made the trip and as long as she went slow it went fine.  I do recommend taking hiking poles though as coming down is a bit steep, but absolutely make sure you see this at some time or another because it is amazing.

First waterfall I have seen in months.

First waterfall I have seen in months.

The road was well paved and maintained, but super twisty turny

The road was well paved and maintained, but super twisty turny

The views were stunning

The views were stunning

 

Man mad lake at the top of one of the mountains

Man made lake at the top of one of the mountains

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A little snow

 

This was our view as we ate lunch prior to hiking up

This was our view as we ate lunch prior to hiking up

The initial bridge that takes you over the creek and on the path

The initial bridge that takes you over the creek and on the path

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Cori making her way on the trail

Cori making her way on the trail

Our first views of the cliffs

Our first views of the cliffs

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I left the people in so you could see how big they were

The view across from the dwellings was amazing

The view across from the dwellings was amazing

We finally made it to the mouth of the caverns

We finally made it to the mouth of the caverns

The houses are in amazing condition

The houses are in amazing condition

The rooms were either family homes, storage, or community rooms

The rooms were either family homes, storage, or community rooms (Lee’s pic)

This corn is original to the time. See how small it is in comparison to todays corn

This corn is original to the time. See how small it is in comparison to todays corn (Lee’s pic)

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Love this shot (Lee’s pic)

Despite being in a cave I didn't feel any claustrophobia at all, maybe because it was so open

Despite being in a cave I didn’t feel any claustrophobia at all, maybe because it was so open (Lee’s pic)

 

Great view from their windows

Great view from their windows

Entrances were small

Entrances were small (Lee’s pic)

Really beautiful

Really beautiful and we were all so glad we got to see it (Lee’s pic)

Coming down was a little trickier and the poles came in handy

Coming down was a little trickier and the poles definitely came in handy

Between the drive, the hike, and seeing the dwellings it was definitely a full day, but there was one more surprise for us.  As we were driving home on a different route we ran into this small town that was settled in 1803.  Just had to stop for Lee to take a pic of this Opera House and Saloon.

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Really special day and we have more to come.  We decided to skip Carlsbad and extend our stay in City of Rocks and every other day we will be having a field trip of some sort or another.  Been really great getting to explore a new area, especially with friends!!

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8 thoughts on “First Time in Gila National Forest

  1. I just love your post and the pictures. They are all so amazing. You really do take great pictures. I love the way you capture everything. Thank you for all the great, informative, information. .

  2. Isn’t it great to see trees and water again? Compared to the stark contrast of Quartzsite, this must have looked really cool. The Cave dwellings certainly look interesting, you wonder what it was like for them back then.

  3. Very nice, I’ll have to look it up and put it on my bucket list.Great pictures, and nice of you to share.God be with you all.

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