Friday, June 19, 2009

Gila Cliff Dwellings

The trip to the Gila Cliff Dwellings was amazing! Twisty-turny roads with speed limits of 10-15 mph for at least half of the road trip! Then we travelled through an amazing area with red rocks like Sedona and beautiful ranches spread out at the base of the red rocks! Grazing horses just made it even more perfect! Then when we stopped at Gila Hot Springs General Store to walk the dogs and buy spare camera batteries... I decided it would be wise if I made a potty stop too. Well ladies, we know the routine, struggle to pull jeans down and sit down and let it go. YIKES! Not here! YIKES! The water in the toilet bowl was HOT HOT HOT!! After I recovered from the shock and sat back down I was able to finish my business! As soon as I went out, I asked the gent behind the counter about the heat treatment. Seems the only thing they could hook up their plumbing too was hot water unless they wanted to drill much deeper! mmmmm! Interesting stop. We didn't hang around to check out the hot springs since we already work at some of the best mineral hot springs available, but I hear they are really very nice. Couple of nice campgrounds there too.

Finally we got to the trail leading us up to the Gila (pronounced Hee-lah)Cliff Dwellings. It is a one mile loop..... the first part is pretty level and a pretty walk through a canyon.

Chuck walking ahead of me through the canyon. The bridge crosses and recrosses this stream several times on the way, it joins the Gila River at the beginning of the trail.
Hopefully you can read this sign. It explains a lot. If you click onto this picture, it will go to full size!

Still walking the canyon, I feel it's important to let you know that this special canyon and the cliff dwellings are so unique that they have been protected since 1907! It is one of the very few left so well intact showing us how the Mogollon (pronounced muggy-own) culture lived and survived. Because of the Gila River, this was a very prosperous area and well travelled.For perhaps as long as 10,000 years, the Gila River brought people in and out of this valley.

From the parking lot. this mile long trail climbs 180 feet to reach the dwellings. After the first part of the walk, you will start seeing stairs........ UP and UP and UP! Not really too bad, Chuck helped me most of the way. This was one of our first glimpses of 2 of the 6 caves.

Chuck rests against the rock, enjoying his first good view of the caves. I had to rest often and thank goodness, there were lots of comfy benches along the steeper part of the climb! This was well worth the climb! The only other cliff dwellings I have visited where you could actually walk around in the ruins were at Mesa Verde.

The closer we get, the better it looks!The first archeological report of the cliff dwellings came from Adolph Bandelier in 1884. His sketches and writings commented on the damage that had already taken place. Approximately 80% of what is left today is the original architecture of the Mogollon builders.

There are 40 rooms within the 6 caves.

Yep! That's me!

There were wonderful interpretive guides at the cliff dwellings. This man spent quite a few minutes talking to Chuck and I about the culture of the people of Gila River area.

The cliff dwellings were impressive!

So were the stairs we had to climb to get there, but if I could do it, I know all of you can too!
We had a great day today! Chuck and I love exploring around here!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Leave us a message!!! We would love to hear from you!!!