The Gila Cliff Dwellings


Around the time, I started to plan this trip to New Mexico, I came across an article in the New York Times about the Gila Cliff Dwellings. Of course, you mix desert and hiking and things that are utterly cool like cliff dwellings, and it instantly must be added to the list of things I must do in life to make it complete.

Fortunately, my aunt and uncle are such awesome people that not only did they agree to the idea in the planning, but they actually arranged for us to get up to the Gila National forest three hours away from their home in Las Cruces, NM.


So, we made the the 3-hour trek each way from their home. Everything about the day was absolutely awesome. The drive from Silver City to the trail-head for the dwellings was breathtaking. It was great to take in every single second of the view amidst about the teasing for my habit of “twittering.”

Once there, we put Cabot in the kennel that the National Park Service provides (a fabulous idea, I think, when you don’t want dogs out on the trail). We made the short hike up the side of the cliff. They warn that it is steep, but it wasn’t too bad.


Along the way, there were several park guides who told some interesting stories about their experiences. And we learned about the per diem and space to stay that guides are given. It seems like it would be a good thing to do at some point in life.

The caves themselves are quite impressive when you consider that they were built in the 1200s. It was amazing to see how well thought-out these dwellings were.

The most moving thing to me was the view outside one of the rooms. The “window” hewn in the rock gave a

lascruces-28-of-461spectacular view of the canyon below.

The magic of the desert never ceases to amaze me. There is something so inherently beautiful about it that I completely understand why you would want to create your home there, even in rock, and commune with your soul.

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