Saturday, November 7, 2009

City of Rocks and the Gila Cliff Dwellers...

Yesterday we decided to head up to the City of Rocks State Park and then on to the Gila Cliff Dwellers. The City of Rocks is about 80 miles NW of Las Cruces and we LOVED it! From the visitor's center, you look out over miles of bare land and the park itself consists of numerous tall rocks jutting out from the earth, in all shapes and sizes. There are several campsites amongst the rocks that are on a first-come first-serve basis and then a few that are reserved. We drove through the sites and found several that we can fit the RV in, so we're thinking we might leave Las Cruces a few days early and spend a couple of nights tucked in among the rocks. We took Emma on a short trail that wound out through the cactus and she had a ball!

From the City of Rocks we headed up to the Gila National Forest and the Gila Cliff Dwellers. The cliffs are about 70 miles north from the City of Rocks and I found several websites that suggested we leave the RV behind. Good thing we listened and left the RV back in Las Cruces! It took about 2 hours to go 40 miles...there's only one way in and one way out for the last 25 miles and it's treacherous! We took the 'easy' route going and the 'hard' route leaving. The 'easy' route consisted of twists and turns and several climbs and dips... we stayed between 25 and 40 mph the whole way. But the 'hard' route back down was much worse! There were numerous hairpin turns, 12 degree inclines, no center lines, and no guardrails along areas where the drop off the road was VERY steep and immediate! It wasn't bad in the car...we stayed between 15 and 35 mph...but we just kept thinking what if we had brought the RV?? Some of the turns would have literally been impossible to navigate!

Anyway, the Gila Cliff Dwellers were very interesting. It consisted of 7 caves high up in the cliffs where the Mogollon people lived. There were only about 40 people living there during the early 1200s. They grew various plants and fruits in the valley to attract animals so they could hunt them. We were able to go into the dwellings which was pretty cool. They don't tell you that you can't be afraid of heights and you have to be pretty sure-footed, because you are literally walking on the cliff edge from one cave to the next! And the cliffs are about 175 feet up from where we started off. The whole thing was about a mile loop and it took about an hour to complete.

It was a long day...we left at 9:00am and got home around 7:30pm. We were exhausted! But it was well worth it! We are definitely in tourist mode on this trip...

Happy Birthday Drew!

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