You Can’t Show an Old Dog Really Old Hoodoos Or, “Ode to Mr. Hightower”

Wednesday, February 15, 2012 – Allie Canyon, Mimbres Valley

Weather and “Love Your Library Day” caused a 10-day break from hiking, but today Lynn, Julian and I hiked up Allie Canyon and checked out the hoodoos that Julian told me about. I had no idea it would be such an eventful day!

Julian and Lynn and the Hoodoos in the background

Parking near cattle corrals and a wind mill was a visual reminder that there are working ranches here in the Mimbres Valley. We geared up and headed west through lovely pine groves, a few meadows, and crossed the stream numerous times. The trail meanders up and down a few hills until several miles up the canyon we arrive at a charming camp site with a fire pit and wood logs in a circle. One of the large logs was actually cut to look like a couch with arms and a back and all! Julian mentioned that last week when he was here, he met a group resting who were with horses and enjoying the day.

After a short rest, we continued on and were quickly rewarded with the hoodoos high above us on the right. Wow! One minute you’re walking along a forest path and the next moment, you have this awesome geological wonder!

Well worth the hike!

Julian told us about a grave site nearby and Lynn found the marker. Back in 1917 Mr. Hightower died and was buried out in this remote area. I have feelers out trying to find out more about him.

The grave of Mr. George Hightower


Update: According to Levi Hill through Facebook, here is some information on Mr. Hightower:

Pedigree chart of Margery Hightower Keeling, 1017 Luck St, Silver City, NM 88061; Also, LDS FGS Eddene got about 1972.
John Carrol Hightower and Rebecca Norris had the following children:
+2 i. George Washington Hightower, born on 30 Jan 1859, Palo Pinto, Palo Pinto, TX; married Armenthia Elizabeth Adkisson, on 6 Apr 1887, Lincoln, Lincoln, NM; died on 10 Nov 1917, Fierro, Grant, NM. From this source:

I have more of the story! On Levi’s info, I looked up the name on the Grant County Clerk’s website, and found Robert Hightower and then I found a phone #. So I called and spoke to Mrs. Hightower who lives here in Silver City. That is the marker of Robert’s grandfather. George (grandpa) and his brothers would go up Allie Canyon and spend the summer raising goats up where we saw the marker. There was a cabin in the vicinity too. Mr. Hightower got smallpox and died there. They buried him and burned down the cabin.


Through the trees, about 100 yards from the marker, I saw a pile of rocks and Julian and I set out to explore – it wasn’t a wall, and it was overkill for a cairn. As we approached we saw that there was a gallon jar on top with ashes in it. Another grave?  A monument? A mystery!

Another monument - but this one is without a story.

We make our way to the base and start climbing up. In order to climb up to the hoodoos, we have to climb among trees and over boulders and between rocks. About halfway up, Cody slips down the face of a boulder in an attempt to move upward, she’s okay but I’m worried. Her backend has gotten weaker in the past few years and I’m concerned she’ll get hurt. A few more climbs up rocks and few more struggles. I call to Julian that we’re going to stay where we are. About 15 minutes later, Julian, that gallant gentleman that he is, comes down and stays with Cody and suggests I go up and check out the top. I thank him and head up, hearing a dog barking the entire ascent.  The old girl really likes for me to be close by.

We calculate the highest at about 60 feet



Can you find Julian in the photo?





I am rewarded with amazing geological wonders. Hoodoos, some close to 60 feet high! Lynn points out views and some of the more interesting formations. Then she points out the Indian Ruin. Now I just LOVE Indian ruins and my favorite thing to do is to touch the wall. When I do this, I think about the person who placed that wall there and how they lived. I find it amazing and truly a connection to history. This one is placed at the base of a hoodoo; most of the walls are the natural stone with the front of the room being man-made with rocks. I duck inside and just sit. It’s quiet and calm. The wind is blowing outside but the air is still inside. I bet with several people inside, their body heat would make it nice and warm.


Indian Ruin at the base of a hoodoo



Eventually, we make our way down to ‘base camp’ (hey, I’ll use any term that makes me sound like I actually have a clue!) and rest with Julian and the dogs. And now the trek back to the car. I guess it’s true that when you turn a horse back towards the barn, they b-line for it, because what took us 3.5 hours to get to, took us 2 hours to get back from! But not before Orfa tried unsuccessfully, to talk Mom and Dad into letting her take several bones home with her and 2 encounters of the cattle kind.

5.50 miles / 5.5 hours

40 down / 60 to go


About Gila Hiker

First I hiked 100 different trails in a year, now I write a monthly article in Desert Exposure about a local hike. Come on out to Silver City..... and bring your hiking gear!

Posted on February 16, 2012, in Challenge, Gila National Forest, Hiking, New Mexico, Outdoor Activities, Southwest and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Who noo? What a great hike!

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