I went to Gila Cliff Dwellings in the spring of 2014. It was the first time I’d ever been up close and personal with any cliff dwelling. Since it’s only about 40 miles up the road from Lou’s place, and since I was feeling antsy, I returned there today.
It’s a nice drive, rolling calmly through valleys and over forested passes. It being midweek, there was scarce traffic. No hunters or bicyclists, only a handful of tourists (like me) and a brief delay because of road resurfacing.
I had missed peak autumn leaf season. The few trees that still had leaves were mostly brown. Oh well.
As I said, my previous visit had been my first time at a cliff dwelling, and this visit also featured a first for me: I had never seen javelinas in the wild before. A group of them were foraging along the river, at the trailhead. Cool.
I had learned on my first visit that the trail to the ruins follows the creek up the canyon—a mild uphill walk—then rises steeply. Yow! But the “exit” route, while slightly longer, is a more gradual incline. So I was a bad boy today and took the exit trail up. No crowds, so no problem.