February 2, 2016
The Continental Divide
Gila National Forest
Altitude: 8,828 ft. above sea level, Emory Pass
We knew it was going to be a scenic highway through Gila National Forest based on the map markings, but we had no idea that there would be icy, snowy, hairpin turns on our way to Silver City. Rt. 152 started out innocuous enough as an unique two-lane state road sporting travel through a genuine ghost town and dotted with small horse, mule, alpaca, and cow farms along the way. One of our photography friends could have spent an entire week along Rt. 152; he loves to photograph dilapidated—creative but dilapidated—properties. As we climbed into more desolate areas we encountered animals: a bull in the middle of the road claiming it as his own; a small group of darling deer along the side of the road—wary but not too timid; however, the highlight of our wildlife encounters was the rafter of about 40 wild turkeys we saw take flight off the road flying up the 50-foot cliff top to safety. Drat that our cameras were in our bags! Neither of us in our average of 70 years on this planet had ever seen turkeys fly as these guys did; they were the size of and flew as vultures—spreading their wings wide and flying effortlessly en-masse up the cliff wall. Speaking of guys there were only about two turkeys with the red caruncles and wattle—presumably the males! Therefore, should the terminology be that we saw “harems” of turkeys instead of a “rafter” of turkeys?
Lou and Bonnie Janelle (LBJ) are career professionals who are currently pursuing life-long interests in photography and digital imaging techniques, respectively.