May 6-13, 2013 – Silver City, NM
Monday morning we drove to Silver City, NM where we are staying at the Rose Valley RV Ranch.
All the sites have rustic wind breaks which tell us that the wind blows here a lot. We are backed up to an open space and have enjoyed watching the wildlife through our big picture window – mostly rabbits, roadrunners and crows. The jackrabbits here are huge!
The RV park is next to the Memory Lane Cemetery where Catherine McCarty Antrim, Billy the Kid’s mother, is buried. Ben Lily, a mountain man who was a bear and mountain lion hunter, is also buried here. Ben Lily is in the Larry McMurtry Lonesome Dove books and movies. We went to the cemetery on one of our walks and found these two famous graves.
We visited this area about four years ago and hiked on the Catwalk National Recreation Trail in the Gila National Forest north of Silver City. This trail was once a water pipeline that supplied water to an ore mill at the entrance to Whitewater Canyon. The 3 mile pipeline needed constant maintenance and the workers who walked it dubbed it the “Catwalk”. In 1908 the mill and pipeline were dismantled and in the mid 1930’s the CCC rebuilt the catwalk as a recreational trail for the Gila National Forest. We enjoyed this trail and hiking on the Catwalk over the Whitewater Creek so we decided to hike it again. Not very far up the trail we were disappointed to see this sign.
Unfortunately, a flood has damaged a lot of the catwalks along the trail. The Forest Service is working on repairs but it looks like it might be a while before it is reopened. This was disappointing as we had looked forward to hiking this trail again.
On the way back to Silver City we took a short side trip to visit Cooney’s Tomb. Sgt. James Cooney, while serving in the 8th US Cavalry stationed at Fort Bayard, discovered gold and silver deposits in Mineral Creek Canyon. He kept his find a secret until he mustered out of the army in 1876. By 1880 he had developed a profitable silver and gold mine. In April 1880 he was killed by Indians near this site. His brother and fellow miners interred him in the boulder. Two of his brother’s children are also buried in the rock crypt. This boulder is so close to the road that they had to put up the concrete barriers to protect it.
Another day we drove south of Silver City to City of Rocks State Park. We stopped at the Visitor Center where we learned that the park was created by a volcano erupting miles to the north by Albuquerque. The volcanic ash settled here and as it cooled it formed one large rock. Erosion over millions of years formed the sculptured rocks we see today. Some are over 40 feet high and are separated by paths or lanes resembling city streets – thus the name City of Rocks.
We spent an enjoyable afternoon hiking among the rocks. Nancy, Cody and Camille stop for a rest in the shade of a big rock.
Looking out across the rocks.
This balancing rock was interesting – we wondered how much longer that small rock holding it up will last.
One of the many “streets” in the park.
More interesting rock formations and paths through the rocks.
There are a lot of dry camping spots right in the rocks. There are also about 14 camp sites by the Visitor Center that have water and electric. We thought it would be fun to camp among the rocks – maybe next time we come to this area we will stay here.
We also visited Steve and Jo, friends from Apache Junction who live on Burro Mountain south of Silver City. They spend part of the summer in their 5th wheel here in Burro Mountain RV Ranch. It is a really nice area with lots of trees and they tell us they see deer all the time. They took us for a short ride into the Gila National Forest on their ATVs which we really enjoyed. Steve and Jo were only here for a week before they went back to Apache Junction, so we were fortunate to get the opportunity to see them.
We enjoyed our time in Silver City, especially the cooler weather. We were happy to take it easy and not do a lot while this past week.