Gila Forest National Park

Gila Travel Blog

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Matt at Gila Forest National Park

Today we are heading off to spend sometime in the Gila National Forest Park . . . descriptive words will not do this forest justice, but I will try to put into perspective what I saw and experienced as best I can, what I saw on this beautiful Sunday was quite simply put, beautiful. Matt and I decided to take a shorter trip to the Pinos Altos which is part of the Gila Cliff Dwelling day trip from Silver City. We checked out of our hotel (the Palace Hotel) at about 9:30 am after having breakfast at the hotel. We decided to grab a to-go coffee from the Javelina Coffee House right below the Palace Hotel: at the Javelina we met a couple that helped us with directions to Pinos Altos which they confirmed was about 8 miles. We headed north on highway 15 and it was not long before we crossed the Continental Divide and began our decent towards Pinos Altos, but no sooner had we seen the sign, did we decide to take what Matt thought was a 13 mile ride to lake Roberts.

Gila Forest National Park
Lake Roberts turned out to be longer than 13 miles, an hour into the Gila forest and we had not yet gotten to Lake Roberts. We kept on highway 15 long enough and managed to see the spectacular views of mountains and aspen and douglas fir.

The Gila National Forest has such a rich history of the Mogollon and Apache Indians, Spaniards, Mexicans, ranchers, prospectors and miners. Apache Chiefs Mangas Coloradas, Geronimo, and Victorio, Aldo Leopold: conservationist, ecologist and author of the Sand County Almanac, and renowned lion hunter Ben Lilly are but a few of the personalities from the past that have left their mark in the Gila.

Gila Forest National Park
Place names like Raw Meat Canyon, Tepee Canyon and Grave Canyon tell the tales of the past. As we drove through we found peace and harmony where nature and it's inhabitants seemed undisturbed. It has very few dwellings with most of the settlements very small almost negligible. The Gila, Aldo Leopold, and Blue Range Wildernesses offer unparallel hiking and horseback riding. The magnificence of these mountainous regions imparts an indescribable feeling of awe and wonderment. Former Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas may have captured the feeling when he said, "Wilderness helped preserve man's capacity for wonder ... the power to feel, if not see, the miracles of life, of beauty, and of harmony around us."

The Gila Wilderness was established in 1924 as the first designated wilderness in the country.

Gila Forest National Park
Indeed Matt and I found ourselves wondering at how such a beautiful can be described to someone who has never seen it. For someone like me who has seen thick dark forests and hiked them in fear, I must say I was excited to jump out of the car each step of the way to snap a photo here and there. Gila forest has Ponderosa pines which are really open, sunny, grassy forests as opposed to the dark canyons. Two places to see it are the Gila Wilderness, the first wilderness in the United States, and the Blue Primitive Area, where the Mexican Gray Wolf has been reintroduced. We did not spend as much time as we were running low on gas and needed to be getting back on the road to make the return trip back to Tucson. I think I should love to go camping and stay a night or two in the wilderness.

 

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Matt at Gila Forest National Park
Matt at Gila Forest National Park
Gila Forest National Park
Gila Forest National Park
Gila Forest National Park
Gila Forest National Park
Gila Forest National Park
Gila Forest National Park
Gila Forest National Park
Gila Forest National Park
Gila Forest National Park
Gila Forest National Park
Gila Forest National Park
Gila Forest National Park
Gila Forest National Park
Gila Forest National Park
Gila Forest National Park
Gila Forest National Park
Gila Forest National Park
Gila Forest National Park
Gila Forest National Park
Gila Forest National Park
Gila Forest National Park
Gila Forest National Park
Gila Forest National Park
Gila Forest National Park
Gila Forest National Park
Gila Forest National Park
Gila Forest National Park
Gila Forest National Park
Gila Forest National Park
Gila Forest National Park
Gila Forest National Park
Gila Forest National Park
Gila Forest National Park
Gila Forest National Park
Gila Forest National Park
Gila Forest National Park
Gila Forest National Park
Gila Forest National Park
Gila Forest National Park
Gila Forest National Park
Gila Forest National Park
Gila Forest National Park
Gila Forest National Park
Gila Forest National Park
Gila Forest National Park
Gila Forest National Park
Gila Forest National Park
Gila Forest National Park
Gila Forest National Park
Gila Forest National Park
Gila Forest National Park
Gila Forest National Park
Gila Forest National Park
Gila Forest National Park
Gila Forest National Park
Gila Forest National Park
Gila Forest National Park
Gila Forest National Park
Gila Forest National Park
Gila Forest National Park
Gila
photo by: Africancrab