March 24 2011
Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument
|The Gila River in the Gila Wilderness|
From the intersection with the 15 it takes approx. 45 minutes to reach the Visitor Center. A cold wind was blasting across the open terrain, when we got out of the car. The Visitor Center holds a little gift shop and a small museum, where we also saw a video about the Gila Cliff Dwellings.
|Entrance to the Park|
|Inside one of the caves|
|A lizard is posing for me...|
It appears that no one lived in the area for the next 100 years. However, around 1500, Apaches had moved to the upper Gila River, although some of their oral traditions claim that it always has been the homeland.
Their legendary leader Geronimo was born near the Gila River in the 1820s as Mexico challenged Apache control over the area. There is no mention whether the Apache actually moved into the caves.
For us it was a true field day, and we can recommend the visit to everyone, though I would not undertake the 1 mile roundtrip hike in the middle of the summer.
When returning to camp we felt thorougly tired and had to reward ourselves with coffee and a doughnut. (ouch..)