Just because I have not blogged for the last 8 weeks doesn’t mean nothing happened. Actually, we moved through the south-western USA for about 1000 miles/1600 km since we left Desert Hot Springs, CA.
A year ago, in January 2017, we stayed on the west-side of Tucson. While we found some outdoor playgrounds in the Brown Mountain area at that time, we also almost entirely missed out on the Santa Catalina Mountains on the east-side of town. Having learned our lesson, this time we stayed on the east-side of town, only 15 min from the Molino Basin in the Santa Catalina Mountains. The RV park we stayed in was absolutely not to my liking but the location was great. Thanks God, staying in a lousy RV park is not at all like staying in a lousy hotel. At the end of the day we still were living in our own stuff.
The Tohono O’odham people referred to the Santa Catalina Mountains as Babad Do’ag, the Frog Mountain. These people must have had a vivid fantasy, even after heavy drinking I was unable to imagine a frog in the shape of these mountains. It took the religious devotion of Eusebio Francisco Kino, an Italian Jesuit priest, to rename the mountain range in honor of Saint Catherine.
Being part of the Coronado National Forest, the Catalina Mountains provide a great playground for humans and dogs. The National Forest Service pet policy states that dogs have to be leashed in developed areas and on interpretative trail. However, there is no explicit special leashing requirement in general forest areas. Dogs are roaming free in National Forests. Due to a lot of snow and ice in elevations above 7000 ft/2100 m we only explored the lower altitude trails (Molino Trail, Sycamore Trail, Bug Springs Trail, Green Mountain Trail).
I had a dental bridge in my mouth that badly needed replacement. The last time I asked my dentist in the San Francisco Bay Area for a cost estimate she talked about $4500 to $5500 for the replacement. Well, I went to a pretty top-notch dentist in Nogales, Mexico and got the job done for $1600.
While we stayed in Tucson America again experienced a mass shooting in Parkland, FL. This time, the voices of a very young generation are strong and relentless and they may change the narrative. Politics is unfolding downstream of culture.
At the end of our Tucson stay daytime temperatures reach an uncomfortable 85 F/30 C and it was time to leave. After moving approximately 250 miles/400 km east we reached the lovely 10.000 souls community of Silver City, NM. Located at an elevation of approximately 6000 ft/1800 m on the southern edge of the Gila National Forest the town offers a lot of charm, cooler temperatures, great access to outdoor activities and a population of friendly and quirky people.
The nearby Fort Bayard area located just 6 miles from the heart of town presented a nice assortment of well maintained trails including several displays of petroglyphs.
One of the main attractions in the Silver City area are the Gila Cliff Dwellings about 45 miles/70 km north of town. The 600 year old homestead is definitely worth a visit and much less crowded than the Mesa National Park in southern Colorado.
Last but not least, when in Silver City, do yourself a favor and support the local Little Toad Creek Brewery. They offer some decent beers and they are frequented by an interesting bunch of people.
I will provide an update from our stay in Albuquerque, NM in the next days. Until then, stay tuned.