Monday, November 14, 2016

Silver City, New Mexico

November 5 - 8, 2016:

In the morning, after the storm, with the wind gone and the skies clearing, we depart Rockhound Sate Park for Silver City, New Mexico.  It’s a short ride of about an hour on route 180 north.  It was interesting to see water flowing in the Mimbres River and water sitting in low areas along the highway.  

We arrive at the Rose Valley RV Ranch around noon and are quite surprised with the size and layout of the campground.  On first impression, it’s one of the nicest campgrounds all year and very close to downtown Silver City.

Entrance to the campground

View behind the campsite

Silver City is one of our favorite towns and I believe this is our third time here.  Funny, checking in at the campground, the man at the counter it turns out was born in Tuckerton, New Jersey.  He said he and his wife traveled here 35 years ago, fell in love with this area, settled in and have never regretted it.  Walking down the main drag, we saw that the Silco Theater, built in 1923 was now open for business.  This theater was abandoned for many years, was undergoing restoration last year and is now open.  As we peeked in the window, the owner saw us and opened the door, invited us in and giving us a tour.  He did a beautiful job in resurrecting this old building and he was rightfully very proud to show it to us.

Downtown Silver City view

Sadly the Buffalo Bar remains closed and neglected

The Silco Theater is beautiful again

This beautiful building appears to be still vacant

The Gila is for sale

I saw that a favorite Bisbee, Arizona musician, TS Henry Webb, was performing at the Buckhorn Saloon in nearby Pinos Altos on Saturday evening.  The Buckhorn Saloon is a very old Saloon from the 1860’s that was totally restored and modernized inside.  A first class kitchen was added, a real chef was hired and they now have a reputation for great food.  As a result, the place is packed, but luckily we got seats at the bar.  He is playing the the bar area which has several tables along with much crowd noise so we could barely hear him.  We had one drink and left after which I went back to Silver City to the Little Toad Creek Brewery where a local band, Green Eggs and Sam was playing.  This is a brew pub, it is packed although only about a third of the crowd is even paying attention to the band.  I didn’t expect much from a band calling themselves Green Eggs and Sam, (kind of goofy) but actually the lead guy had a good voice and they played some good stuff.

Fans of Dr. Suess  ?

I went for a hike Sunday Morning on the Dragonfly Trail on the edge of the Fort Bayard Historic Landmark.  It is a favorite trail here as it travels through a interesting grassland with Pinion and Juniper, then into a forested area and along a creek and into a canyon past an indian petroglyph of a dragonfly.  Due to the recent substantial rainfall, the trail was muddy in places and the creek was flowing.

The grassland is beautiful

Don't ever remember seeing water in this before

The Creek is flowing nicely, it's usually dry

The Dragonfly petroglyph

Evidenced by the bent over grass, the creek was really
high a few days ago

Small waterfall

Another favorite place in Silver City is the Yankie ( that’s the way they spell it) Creek Coffee House where they have live music on Sunday afternoons.  We went to see a classical finger picking stye guitar player, Esther Jamison perform.  She had incredibly long fingers, made for playing the guitar and her playing was impressive.  The only problem was that she didn't talk much and the all instrumental music was somewhat boring.

Inside the Yankie Creek Coffee House

I had read about the Catwalk National Recreation Trail going up into the Whitewater Canyon and decided to make the trip.  Gold and Silver were discovered in 1889 in the mountains above the Canyon and the town of Graham and a Stamp Mill were established in 1893 at the mouth of the Canyon. The original Catwalk was a wooden plank walkway suspended from the canyon walls for construction and maintenance of water pipes used to supply water to the steam engine driving the Graham Mill.  The Mill stopped operation in 1919 and only a few building remnants remain today.  In the 1930’s the CCC built a picnic area here and a trail, using the repaired Catwalk into the canyon.  

This Catwalk and hiking trail have been a struggle to maintain ever since. A major fire in the spring of 2012 destroyed the Catwalk which was repaired and reopened in the spring of 2013.  In the fall of 2013, heavy flooding destroyed the Catwalk once again.  It was then rebuilt, industrial strength, and the Catwalk and trail were reopened in January 2016.  Finally, heavy rain in May 2016 forced closure of the trail beyond the Catwalk indefinitely.

Changing modes of power, these days solar appears
to be running the water pump

Lots of bolts into the canyon wall for stability

This walkway is industrial strength but not as thrilling
as the trail descriptions would lead you to believe

It is a narrow canyon in places and I expect
that during flash flooding it gets crazy

Beyond the Catwalk, the canyon becomes
wider for a short distance and then
is almost closed off

I suppose this is a section of an original water pipe

The mountain peaks above the canyon

I returned to the Buckhorn Saloon on Monday evening for their open mike night.  There were several good musicians playing especially Esther Jamison who I had seen on Sunday at the Yankie Creek Coffee House.  She was playing and singing with another woman and doing more folksy stuff, much more to my liking.

We visited the Grant County Courtyard in Silver City to see WPA murals by artist Theodore Van Soelen.

The Round Up

Chino Mines

A tour of the Memory Cemetery established in 1882 was another new attraction for us.  It is next to the campground, no wonder it's so quiet there !

The morbid thought of the day
We're all going to Memory Lane some day

Gravesite of Silver City's founder

No doubt he was a Bad ASS

The most famous gravesite here

The Hispanic celebrate their dead with color

We are getting down to the wire now, moving on to our next to last campsite of the year in Bisbee, Arizona,

Twinkles and Slick 

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