September 3, 2010
After taking a shower in the Caballo State Park's public bathrooms and breakfasting beside the Rio Grande, I swung back to Highway 25. Just before the city of Truth and Consequences, which used to called Hot Springs but changed its name after NBC promised to air the first episode of a game from the first town that did so (and won), I made a brief stop at an RV park that advertised gas. My gas tank was half-full, so I topped it off. The RV park, aptly named Caballo Lake RV Camping was for sale. It looked decent, with cottages and all. Maybe the owner wanted to retire to somewhere warm, like Miami or Hawaii?
After filling up my gas tank, I drove out and hit left on highway 152. I had thought, mistakenly, that I would go on the 256 freeway. However the signs pointed this highway as going to Silver City and the Gila Cliffs, so off I went. What did turn out was that highway 152 would bring me through the Gila National Forest , up the mountains and down over into the high country of Southwestern New Mexico. The topography changed from flat to hilly to mountainous and rocky. The shift in scenery was dramatic. I was glad I took this route and would recommend it to anyone who wished to escape the monotony of the flat plains. The highway made several switchbacks and numerous hairpin curves. I was glad that my rented Chevy was brand-new, with presumably strong brakes. Nothing like brake failure to spoil the fun: for good. This was the New Mexico that I loved.
|Highway 152 to the Gila National Forest. Traffic-less, as usual.|
I passed by several towns along the way: Hillsboro, Kingston, Cuchillo, Monticello: very colorful , quaintnames. One or two of these towns seemed to be effectively ghost towns, with a few dozen residents in them. Shaun and Holly, a couple who I made friends later at the Gila cliff dwellings swore about the lovely bed and breakfast they stayed in at Kingston. Must check that out, sometime in the future. The towns were created due to mining and cattle activity. Oftentimes, when passing by these sort of towns, I'd ask myself: "Who would live in this remote place?" only to catch myself thinking later: "Hmm, maybe I could stay here if...." The scenery can do that to you.
Ah, the scenery. Here they are:
I passed through the town of Mimbres on the way to the Gila Cliffs. Here I went through private land and the Gila National Forest at several points. It had been raining in the area in the past week, so wildflowers, mainly sunflowers, were in full bloom, carpeting the fields and meadows in a blanket of yellow.
I stopped so often to take photographs with my trusty Canon Rebel XS, I wondered if I would ever make it to the Gila Cliffs. I did, eventually, and thereby hangs another tale.