February 25, 2016
Gila Cliff Dwellings
Gila National Forest
It's a forty-four mile drive from Silver City to Gila Cliff Dwellings, but it took 1 ¾ hour with hair-pin turns throughout the Gila National Forest. Didn't we do this three weeks ago in a snowstorm driving to Silver City? YES! At least today it was sunny and warm.
Archeologists can only guess about the 40-60 ancient peoples who inhabited these six caves; they only spent about one generation in these dwellings from approximately 1280-1300 AD. Adolph Bandelier, an early archeologist, reported in 1884 that the caves had already been looted and vandalized leaving little evidence of how the people lived and how the dwelling rooms were used. It is believed that due to a drought around 1280. the ancient Mogollon (mo-go-y'on) people migrated from the north to this fertile valley where three forks of the Gila River converge, and thus water was plentiful. Can you imagine raising a toddler at these heights? No wonder they moved on after only one generation.
Lou and Bonnie Janelle (LBJ) are career professionals who are currently pursuing life-long interests in photography and digital imaging techniques, respectively.