Monday, April 30, 2018

Gila River Cliff Dwellings

Out of Silver City we head north on a road that is a mere 50 miles to Cliff Dwellings, but takes 2 hours to drive.  It is just that scenic.
We opt to camp short of the Gila River canyon on top of a high grassy hilltop where the solar panels can do their best.  

It is a short drive to the canyon - though still twisty enough to provide time for enjoyment of los pinos altos.  The hike up and into the cliff dwellings is nothing short of beautiful.  The little creek provides musical accompaniment.  The smells of forest and water are beautiful. We look for the snowy white Mexican owl who lives midway up the trail…but miss a sighting.  
View from the trail
Ranger Molly provides a guided tour for us. She tells us that the caves were formed by the river over time - lots of time.  Volcanic activity, topped with a conglomeration of sediment...and then water and weather erosion = nice caves.  Dendrochronology (tree rings) set the dates of construction for the cliff dwellings at the 1280s.  The favorite question seems always to be: why did they leave?  Ranger Molly suggests that they had good friends in the Pueblo People and likely married and moved to town.
As we reach the end of the line of caves, the sign invites us to return to the stairs to the trail, but the ranger gives us permission to exit via the steep ladder.
In our slightly out of date (1999), reprinted in 2014 guide book we find that another hike will take us to ruins rarely seen - except in the meantime, the forest service has paved a road, built a campground, Lower Scorpion, and added signage to both pictographs and formerly rarely seen cave ruins. Time warp note: There may yet may be another ruin to discover - as referenced in the book.  Lower Scorpion may just be one not mentioned - or discovered when the road was paved.

Time warp notes: we will discover software, D-Stretch, which will allow a more intense view of the above pictograph.
And another example without D-Stretch and with:

After the two hikes exploring ruins we find a perfect recovery activity - if you can call it “activity”.  Along the Gila River there are several hot springs available for $5 a soak.  They are well maintained and cooled to a fine temperature. Before we reach the hot springs we meet Robert who moved from Southern Calif to the Gila River canyon ~20 years ago.  He seems pleased to tell us that he has found ways to make a living here.  He maintains the garden, but also guides river trips into canyons that are otherwise inaccessible.  He says that this February is unusually warm. He admires Q and tells us about his trip to the Quigley Co in Manchester, PA.  

While we are soaking in the hot springs, we see a young eagle flying along the canyon walls.  It seems a lovely place to live.  It is true of our campsite on a bluff above the Gila River.

We drive riverside before leaving in the morning - to see if there are some giant Gila trout in the Gila River.  Alex first holds up one finger, seeing one large trout.  And then 2 fingers…and then flashing ten fingers.  The big fish are in a deep pool in the bend of the river.

From the Gila River canyon we head south again to Silver City, stopping by an inconspicuous roadside taco truck for breakfast.  The number of cars coming and going from the truck are a recommendation for the California breakfast burrito…which is what we hear most everyone ordering.  The recommendation proves true.  If you get to Silver City be sure to stop by Fidnencio's.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

The Road to Ruins Tour

The theme for our journey is petroglyphs, intaglios, and ruins.  A: “It is the Road to Ruins Tour.”  We read in the guide book that the country’s largest number of petroglyphs are near Three Rivers, NM.  It is BLM land and “the parking lot may be used for camping.”  Time to check the publication date on the guide book.  The parking lot has evolved into a sweet campground.  $3.50 / night.  As we are selecting our site we see a quail family group of 7 parading through the campground/parking lot. 
We settle in and do both hikes.  A short distance from the campground is the original Jornada Mogollon village site, a few foundations are evident.  A mile hike goes up into the boulders where >20,000 petroglyphs can be seen.

The Ranger recommends viewing the petroglyphs by sunset light.  Most of them on are west facing boulders.
It is an easy drive south past Alamogordo and the White Sands. Adventurous Alex climbs the dune that buries the fence to get a terrific photo.

The drive north to visit the famous Gila River cliff dwellings takes us through Hatch, NM.

After a brief stop at Hatch, NM, for dried chilies, we continue north and then west towards Silver City.  The time warp factor allows me to let you know that hummingbirds will fly into Q to investigate bright red peppers.  The bees, however, will come for water.

The drive is over Edmonds Pass and the view point credits Edmonds and Kit Carson, but features mainly Aldo Leopold for helping us appreciate the beauty of this place. The view is east across desert plains and mountains.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Prairie Dog Town fork of the Red River

It is a sunny, warm 70 degree day for our drive to Palo Duro Canyon.  Palo Duro is the second largest canyon in the US.  It is a surprising find just 30 miles south of Amarillo, TX.  

So if you imagine flat Texas north-land, imagine the Red River carving a deep canyon that is below the flat plains.  It is a good hide-away for us as it was for the first people…Clovis and Folsom cultures left evidence of the tools they used.  And later Apaches and Comanches lived here.

The Hackberry campground has two primo sites (9 & 10) that are somewhat isolated from other campers.  
We settle into #9 and immediately go to visit the Prairie Dog Town fork of the Red River. From the time warp perspective, I will say that in about 3 months we'll find ourselves at the southeastern end of the Caprock Escarpment along the Prairie Dog Town fork of the Red River gazing at a large bison in a campsite without fences.

It is difficult to bundle and cover for the night’s sleep with all this warm air.  And nice to have warm things handy when the overnight temperature drops.  Morning temp inside Q is 33 degrees before Alex lights the heater & starts the coffee.  Outside it is 25.

Another fine thing to recommend this camping location: a warm building housing hot showers. Next stop Roswell, NM.  On the way there we make a slight detour to see the Graf family homestead near Clovis.  This is where Charles (aka Carl and Karl) Graf and Monika (Kempter) Graf settled to raise their 7 children.  Charles arrived in the US from Fautenbach, Baden, Germany. He wished to avoid military service and may have told some fibs about his age to aid that escape.  That and a name change from Bruder make it difficult to find ancestors.  Some genetic detective work comparing family Y DNA with  that of some cousins in Germany indicate a possible common ancestor in Franciscus Antonio Bruder and his mother, Maria Rosalia Harter and his spouse, Maria Anna Gorman.  You can see the Italian & German influence in their names.

From Clovis we head through the mountains towards ….But first there is Roswell.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Cousins and Sibs In Time Warp

By mid-day we are with family in the land of Ruby’s birth - also home to Razorbacks.  We begin with food - Tokyo House of Sushi - a nice NW Arkansas surprise - it is good!  Cousins & sibs numbering 8 of us.

Visiting Marilyn & Doug means animal time, too.  Larry, Lorna, Lambert, and Cindy are somewhat civilized.  Larry is expressive.  The armadillo isn’t tame, but likely considers himself appropriately civilized.  You can tell a lot about the photographer, Doug Konishi from the way he captures the personality of his subjects.

At the Brentwood on Saturday nights there is American roots music on stage and on jam in the side room.  It is mostly local musicians, but some bands travel from distant places.  

Our cousins via Mom’s Aunt Josie Ann, James and Richard Gregory, play guitars they make.  Their voices blend in blood harmony, a term we hear Christine Talley use. Chris plays string bass and handles MC duties too.  

The cover charge of $3 is waived if you carry a musical instrument.

We share the weekly routine of Sunday dinner with cousin Richard who promises hobo stew and surprise pie.  His son Rick and Gwen broaden the conversation.  Rick manages dairy farm milk plants around the country and Gwen is a occupational therapist. Richard is the grandson of Josie Ann.  Josie Ann is the sibling closest in age to our grandfather, Miles Monroe Doss.  It was a difficult life for Josie when her darling young husband died while there were still several of their 7 children living at home.  There were times when Mom remembers the kids living with them while Josie sought work enough to keep their home together.  Richard offers us a CD of duets with James and laughs when Alex asks if he will take a credit card.  Richard replies that all he asks is that we enjoy it.  

Super Bowl Sunday finds us at Cousin Karen’s with 3 dogs: Sassy, Sissy, and Saucy.  It’s a fun game to watch and i want to tell son Chris that we are all with the Eagles. Alex teases Sassy “who’s my favorite dog??” It is an adequate fore-shadowing of the barking enthusiasm that will greet us when we return to NW AR on the way home in April.

Note: The time warp disclaimer is this - This travel adventure occurs Feb - April 2018.  Connectivity is rare in rural USA so the blog is chronological, but 3 months overdue by the calendar. At least, in part, because we were into the fun of camper-van travel - and the blog purpose is to display some coolish photos while not torturing you with the entire collection.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Groundhog Day 2018

Groundhog Day 2018 marks the beginning of another Quigley camping-exploring adventure.  We settle back into the routine of living in 78 square feet.  That means mostly living outside when we aren’t rolling or sleeping.  It is grand.

It surprises me how familiar and easy the arrangement is - partly because the last big trip brought helpful habits and routines to the small space.  The blog name “Parva domus magna quies” translates truly to “small house great peace”,

For the first overnight we camp in Meramec State Park.  It is chilly, but feels good after leaving 6 degrees in Michigan.  Morning campground data: 31 degrees outside and 37 inside.  This data supports my appreciation of the guy who gets up first to light the heater and make coffee.

As we start out in morning light we note the high water marks on the cabin - and feel obliged to capture the huge icicles in the cave.