Friday, March 20, 2009

Gila Cliff Dwellings New Mexico..

Over 700 years ago the Mogollon (pronounced Muggy-own) people wandered up a narrow valley and found some caves up on the face of the canyon wall. They built ladders and narrow trails up to this area and started to carve out more of the caves and build over 40 rooms in 6 adjacent caves. Then after about one generation (about 1300) the Gila Cliff Dwellers had moved on. Archeologists believe that part of the reason for abandoning the caves is there was a 30-year drought in the area.

It was rather exciting to walk and sit where they had. The round trip hike was up a very narrow trail with lots of rocks that followed a small stream. On the trail you could look about straight up and see the some of the dwellings.

Here you can see the size of the openings and some of the walls built to partially close them off.

A closer view: you can see at least 2 stories and the unusual shape window that was made in the wall. The wood sticking out was once part of a roof that was inside.

Another view looking the other way. One wonders how many died in the building of the dwellings and the constant up and down the walls to get water and tend their crops at the bottom of the cliff.

We were able to wander around inside one of the caves and see a lot of the rooms that they built. This is a view not too far inside the cave. It went back another 50' or more. The Mogollon may not have been able to explain how the rock lip around the cave's opening formed to block out the summer sun and keep in the warmth of winter fires, but they certainly took advantage of this temperature regulation.

The ceiling is still black from all the smoke from cooking and heating.

Looking across one of the caves you can see the remains of some of the rooms. Remember it was built over 700 years ago by very primitive means.

More of the same. Very, very interesting.

Back outside on the cliff edge for another view looking into one of the caves.

Down the ladder so we could head back down and the 3 hour trip home.

One last parting shot. It was an incredible day, stepping back in time.

To be continued...

1 comment:

michelle said...

Wow. I think they might be able to make some good money if they opened them up as vacation destinations. How many people would love to stay in a cave??!!!! Cool!