Blog Archives

November 2015 – Georgetown Road – FR 4085I

I have been hiking with Dora Hosler since we met in 2011. I love her story of coming to the United States because it is millions of immigrants’ story.  She was raised in a small village two hours from Chihuahua City, Mexico where she and her siblings spent the mornings in school and the afternoons milking cows, feeding chickens and pigs, and playing.

After begging her parents to let her come, she moved to Silver City with a cousin and got a job. She has worked at various jobs in Silver City, a place that she loves for its’ small town flavor, friendly people and because “it feels like home”.  In 2008 she achieved a hard-won goal of becoming a U.S. citizen. She is an especially pleasant and kind woman, and a strong, easy-going hiker.

I remember one hike when I tried to help her pronounce the ‘Z’ sound and I couldn’t understand her difficulty until she tried to teach me to roll my R’s and she didn’t understand how I couldn’t do it. The wildlife in the area must have been rolling with laughter listening to us.

When I recently asked her which of our many hikes her favorite was, she replied that she really enjoyed climbing to the top of Signal Peak because she was proud to complete a steep, difficult hike which that one certainly is. I call it the ‘knee-buster’ because afterwards, I limped for three days! She also enjoyed climbing the Forest Fire Tower and talking with the lookout on duty who was kind enough to give us a 360 degree tour of our hiking terrain, and explain how the alidade (fire finder) works.

For this article, we drove out to the mining district and hiked in the Georgetown area. It’s a good hike if you’re short on time but still want to get some soil underfoot.


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Name:  Georgetown Road – FR 4085I

Distance:  various

Difficulty: easy

Directions: Starting at the intersection of Hwy. 90 and Hwy. 180, take Hwy. 180 East to Hwy. 152 (7.3 miles). Turn left (north) onto Hwy. 152 and drive 6.3 miles to Georgetown Road. Turn left on Georgetown Road (a very well-maintained dirt road). Take this 3.9 miles to an intersection where the cemetery is. Make a right and immediately you will see FR 4085I. Park on the right.

Hike Description: This is an easy walk along Lampbright Draw. The road may disappear now and then, but is easily picked up again. Look closely to find evidence of this area’s history, primarily mining and ranching. Once you walk past the corrals and windmill (approximately ¾ of a mile), the road is harder to find. We walked along an arroyo to complete our days’ exercise.

A little about the town of Georgetown:  The town grew out of silver mining in the area in the 1870’s and at its peak, had 1200 residents. Imagine churches, schools and adobe brick homes on the north side of town, a business district in the center with general stores, a butcher shop, a harness shop, restaurants, a hotel, a billiard parlor, and more, and then on the south side were miner’s shanties, saloons and ‘bawdy houses’. Military from surrounding forts would periodically be seen to keep the town safe from Apache attacks.

There’s some discrepancy about how the town got its’ name. The Magruder Brothers were mining here and they had come from Georgetown, Washington DC so that is one theory. But George Magruder was killed in a milling accident on the Mimbres River so some believe that the remaining brother named the town for his brother George.

Enjoy hiking in the area and contemplating how life may have been a short 140 years ago. For more details about the Georgetown area, check out my blog post:

Fun fact: oro in Spanish is gold; plata is silver; cobre in copper. I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve lived here 15 years and didn’t know that until recently………

This article was originally published in: “The Independent” on November 26, 2015.


May 2015 – Black Hawk Canyon

Many times while hiking, I find myself quizzically inspecting an unidentified geological formation, examining an interesting rock, or stumped on how a white line of quartz got in the middle of the earth, marked there like nature’s 50 yard line. I wanted to learn more about the geology I’ve been seeing on my hikes and so, after some digging, I was put in touch with local hiker Lee Stockman of the Grant County Rolling Stones Gem and Mineral Society. He has been interested in geology his entire life and told me that he looks at rocks with a chemists’ eye since that’s what he did for a living – a chemist at the water treatment department in Antioch, Ca. To emphasize his love of Geology, on the car ride to the trailhead, he pulls out a rock sample and shows his passengers. It is smooth and grey and has glittering silver specks throughout it. It turns out to be a sample of Native Silver from the Alhambra Mine which is very close to where we will be hiking today. I just got my first, but not last Geology lesson of the day. I wish I had this man for a science teacher all those years ago!

Lee hikes every week with a group of like-minded people and he offered to let me join them. Throughout the morning, Lee shares various interesting tidbits. When the group inspects white lines through a huge granite wall, he explains. “The granite cracked and super-heated water carrying minerals rose through the cracks. The water cooled and left the minerals in the cracks forming the lines we see today”.

On the trail, various rock specimens were passed around the group and inspected. “That’s a unakite – you can tell by the green stripes and the pink feldspar throughout it.”

At one point, a few hikers surround a green plant in the middle of the arroyo. They’re not seen often around here. The group calls out to Richard Felger, the resident botanist. “That’s a Desert Broom, Baccharis sarothroides.”

Describe one of your favorite hikes that you’d like to share with the readers:

Name: Black Hawk Canyon Loop

Distance: various

Difficulty: moderate

Directions: From the intersection of Highways 180 and 90, take Highway 180 West 12.9 miles to Saddlerock Canyon Road (on south side of highway). This road is close to Mile Marker 100 and is right after Mangus Valley Road. Make a left on Saddlerock Canyon Rd. Track your mileage from the highway turnoff. Travel on dirt road for 1.3 miles and go over the cattle guard. At the 1.4 mile mark (mm), the dirt road divides. Stay to the left. At the 1.5 mile mark there will be another fork. Stay left. At the 4.3 mm, stay straight. There are several side roads; when in doubt, stay on the main road. At the 5.2 mm, you will come to a closed gate. Go through the gate, closing it behind you, and continue on. The road peters out around the 6.4 mile mark. The hike starts here.


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Hike Description: Before starting the hike, look to the left and see a washed out dirt road going up a hill. If you’re positioned correctly, you’ll see some old mining equipment. This is where you will come out from this loop trail. Now start your hike by walking straight up the arroyo and into Black Hawk Canyon. Soon you leave the sandy creek bottom and begin to climb across the water worn granite. This granite intrusion (dated at 1.445 Billion Years old) raised the Burro Mountains. There is usually water here even during the dry season so look for paw prints of the wildlife who inhabit this part of the Burro Mountains. At the .78 mm, there is a side road that leads to the old Alhambra Mine. Make a note to go back and check it out sometime. Continue straight until you reach the .93 mm. To the left is FR 130. This is the road that loops you back to the car. But first, walk straight ahead on FR 4242Q for a while and enjoy a pink granite canyon. When you’re ready, come back to the road and take it up a hill. When you reach a ‘T’ in the trail, turn left. Towards the end of the hike you’ll come to your last fork. Make a hard left and head down hill past the Black Hawk mine.

Notes: There will be some mild rock climbing and muddy spots along the first portion of the hike. At a few spots you will enjoy views of Bullard Peak. Expect to encounter cattle. They like to have their pictures taken, so ask them to smile. Several hikers mentioned previous kudamundi sightings in this area.

History lesson: The mining town of Black Hawk appeared in the 1880’s when silver was discovered in the area. The discovery of the Black Hawk Mine, and several others in the area, saw the beginning of the town. In the summer of 1883 the town had approximately 30 men employed in mining. By the end of the same year, there was close to 125, and the town was large enough to include a post office. In the late 1880’s production declined and the town was vacated. Today, hardly any evidence of the town exists. By the end, the Black Hawk Mine had produced one million worth of silver.

What can a reader do to learn more about the minerals in our area? Lee encourages readers to attend a meeting of the Grant County Rolling Stones Gem and Mineral Society. The meetings are on the 2nd Thursday of the month at the Silver City Senior Citizens Center (204 West Victoria at south end of town off of NM 90). A pot luck precedes the meeting at 6:00 pm. The meeting begins at 6:45 pm and is followed by an educational program.

February 2015 – Apache Mountain

Hiking Apache Mountain with Russ Kleinman

A sprained ankle and knee delayed my hike with retired surgeon, Russ Kleinman, but when I finally made it a few weeks later, it was fantastic!

Russ has been enjoying the outdoors since about the age of 4 when he roamed land near his home and later explored the San Gabriel Mountains outside Los Angeles.

Nowadays, he enjoys many outdoor-related activities including shortwave radio operation, dog agility training, hiking, camping and botany. He teaches a plant taxonomy class at WNMU (the science that finds, identifies, describes, classifies, and names plants). Mosses are his current interest, which he demonstrated along the hike by regularly crawling beneath brush and boulders. He wore a magnifying loupe around his neck and showed me the mosses up close. I was surprised to see the different varieties, which looked the same at first, were vastly different when inspected through the magnifier.

If you’re interested in the vegetation of the Gila, a wonderful resource is, a website by Russ with more than 16,000 photographs, locations and information about the plants in our area.

Describe one of your favorite hikes that you’d like to share with the readers…

Name: Apache Mountain

2.6 miles round trip

Difficulty: hard

Directions: Starting at the intersection of highways 180 and 90, drive south on Highway 90 for 30.4 miles (it is just after mile marker 11). Make a left onto WD Ranch Rd. There is a brown forest sign for Forest Road 841 to verify you’re on the right track. The first mile of this road is public access over privately owned land, so please stay on the road and don’t trespass. At the one-mile mark, you will go over a cattle guard and enter National Forest land. When you reach a fork in the road, turn left. Shortly, (a few hundred yards) you will come to a turn-off on the right hand side. Look through the grasses and find a brown forest service marker for Forest Road 40910. Pull in and park (do not block the road).

Hike Description: The first part of this hike is a gradual climb on an old dirt road alongside of Monarch Canyon. At the one-mile mark, you will reach a saddle where you can look down the other side into Apache Canyon. Here is where you leave the road and follow the fence line upward. There is a trail in some spots; when in doubt, I suggest you head upward.

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Notes: Don’t try to drive up FR 40910; it is heavily rutted in several spots. This is a short, steep hike up to the top of Apache Mountain. You will climb 1,383 feet up and be rewarded with unbelievable views. On the day we went, we actually looked down at clouds and had one move past us while sitting on the summit.

Along the way, you will see several large boulders and long veins of white quartz, something I’ve not seen often in this abundance in the Gila.

During the hike, Russ told me several hiking adventures, including this story:

“I enjoyed snow camping for a long time and one trip included crossing the Gila River. I knew enough to sleep with my water bottle underneath me in my tent to avoid having ice the next morning. But this trip, I learned another lesson. I took off my cold, wet boots and placed them outside the tent. The next morning, I found them frozen rock solid. A harsh lesson was learned that morning as I hopped barefoot around the snow, looking for dry wood to start a campfire. Thawing my boots was a bit like toasting marshmallows; I didn’t want to put them too close to the fire or they’d burn, and too far away and they’d never thaw.”

After I expressed my aversion to the thought of camping in snow, Russ responded, “Snow camping isn’t for everyone; it leaves a very narrow margin for error.”

Do you have a piece of equipment that you use often when hiking?

Russ shows me his map app called “Backcountry Navigator Pro.” It’s an Android mobile mapping application where you can download different types of maps including topographical, color aerial, street maps and more. You can mark waypoints, record tracks, compute trip pace, utilize a compass, keep waypoint lists, record trip stats, save, export, and import trip notes for future reference and more. I’m not the most technically literate person, but this new stuff is excellent so I guess I’ll get dragged into the tech age, hiking and climbing the entire way!

In order to intrigue you, I’ll share some hearsay about a mystery in the area. Through much digging, and an interesting conversation with local rancher Jimmy Stewart, I learned the following:

The WD in “WD Ranch Road” stands for Will Dover, who was one of about six ranchers who owned property in that area. In the late 1800s/early 1900s he ranched in the Apache Canyon area, including the peak. It is rumored that he got into a dispute with one of the other ranchers and disappeared … never to be heard from again.


March 2013 – Georgetown Road – FR 4085L

Name: Georgetown Road — Forest Road 4085L

Distance: Various

Difficulty: Easy to moderate

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Directions: Starting at the intersection of Hwy. 90 and Hwy. 180, take Hwy. 180 East to Hwy. 152 (7.3 miles). Turn left (north) onto Hwy. 152 and drive 6.3 miles to Georgetown Road. Turn left on Georgetown Road (a very well-maintained dirt road). Travel 1.5 miles to a cattle guard. Right after the cattle guard, on your left, you’ll see FR 4085L. There is a sign for it.

Hike Description: In this hike you will experience a lot of up and down hill terrain. It is nicely treed with the typical juniper, scrub oak and pines. I like this area because there’s a lot to enjoy: wildlife, views of the Kneeling Nun and Gila National Forest, ranch activity and mining history. It’s also close enough to town that you can get there quickly. Keep track of which trail you’re on because there are many intersecting trails and forest roads back there (all worth exploring).

Notes: If you’re interested in area history, you may want to check out the following locations along Georgetown Road:
1. When you turn in from Hwy. 152, go just 0.4 miles. On your left you will see an old cemetery. There are interesting markers to check out.
2.  If you continue on Georgetown Road (past FR 4085L), at the 3.9-mile mark you will see another cemetery. (For more on this historic cemetery, see “Grave Undertaking,” Desert Exposures – November 2007 Tumbleweeds.)
3. At the 4.5-mile mark you can park the car and explore the old building foundations and mining remnants.
4. At the 4.9-mile mark, you’ll come to the Georgetown Cabins. They have an informative sign on the right that describes the history of this area and other points of interest. (For more on the cabins, see “High-Tech Hideaway,” Desert Exposure – September 2009 Tumbleweeds.)
5. Continue to explore down the side trails and you’ll be rewarded with various mining-activity remnants. Cool stuff!

Helpful Hint: The more you know about your hiking area (desert, shaded, mountainous, rocky, water nearby, etc.), the better prepared you can be. For example, if the trail has lots of loose rocks, you may want to bring hiking poles and wear hiking boots that support your ankles.

This is a repost of an article that originally appeared in Desert Exposure. Check them out at:

Hike #100 – “W” Mountain

09-29-12 – “It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.” –Edmund Hillary

On Saturday, September 29, I completed my goal of 100 Hikes in a Year. I couldn’t be more delighted and proud!

If you want to have a fun Saturday, pick a beautiful Fall day, invite a menagerie of hiker friends, entice them with food and booze to celebrate 100 HIKES IN A YEAR, and then head for the “W”.  We gathered at my house at noon and headed north on Niki’s Rd to the cul-de-sac. Julian and Lynn let us traipse through their property and then onto an old dirt road headed south towards “W” Mountain. Some of you (in all probability not from around here…..) may be wondering what I mean by “W” Mountain. North of the town of Silver City there is a mountain with a HUGE “W” painted on it. It stands for Western New Mexico University and each fall, the college kids repaint it a bright white. It is visible from the entire area to the east, south and west of town. It is currently short one white rock which I currently have as a souvenir.

The dirt road travels the western side of the mountains and is washed out and hilly. I believe it currently holds the water lines that supply the homes north of town. I’ve heard, but can’t verify, that it was part of the old railroad that brought oar from the mines north of town.

When we finally got near the “W” and could see it above us, I was happy to reach it and was ready to turn around. But my companions rallied and won the debate to climb up to the “W”. We found the trail that the college kids must use when they paint it each Fall and headed up. I was surprised to see an open mine hole right there near the path that we all checked out before continuing on. It was steep and there were a few missteps but we all eventually made it up there and boy was the view worth it!

First, I noticed how steep our climb had been; the dirt road was directly below us and we towered over it like Snoopy on his dog house. I enjoyed looking out at the Kneeling Nun to the east, the entire town of Silver City and on to Mexico to the south, and the Mountains to the west, Gomez, Eighty, McComas, and Bear. I sat on the white of the “W” and as my friends took a few photos of me and the view, I smiled from ear to ear realizing that today I will finish my one year journey!

At the BBQ afterwards, someone asked me if I was glad or sad that it was over. That’s a hard question to answer. I will miss hiking twice a week and the anticipation of seeing new trails. But in a way, I am glad it’s done. The preparation, hiking, and blogging took a lot of time. And when you’re doing something like this, the goal is to get to the end. So for that, I’m glad I met my goal.

This morning, I straightened up after the party. And then I dismantled my hiking gear. I put Frank’s GPS on his desk. I cleaned Mary Ann’s hiking poles in order to return them to her. I washed and put away my pack. I took the dog cage out of my car and realized, boy does my car need to be cleaned!

A few stats:

Total Hours hiked: 272.73

Total miles: 385.36

Hiking partners: 23

Joined me on the most hikes: Mary Ann at 26

Cody Hike total: 65

Starting in January, Frank and I will walk, hike or bicycle 500 miles in a year. We can duplicate trails this time and walk on concrete or blacktop in addition to dirt trails. It should be a fun one, why don’t you join us?

I’d like to say thank you to all of you who made this such a fun experience; I appreciate your encouragement, advice, support and friendship. But now, I have GOT to go and clean that car!!

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4.10 Miles / 2.5 Hours

100 down/0 to go

Hike #79 – Georgetown Cemetery and Vicinity

Thursday, July 19, 2012 – Cemetery, Mines and Mud……

I have been meaning to explore the Georgetown Cemetery area for a while now and since I was a solo hiker today, I decided to check it out. Helen and I had explored the Georgetown Road area in the past; there are lots of trails and Forest Roads in the area. The terrain is hilly, with creeks and good tree cover with scrub oaks, juniper and a few ponderosa.

First I entered the cemetery and looked at the headstones. I was struck by several things. Some of the graves were over 100 years old and a few were only 5 years old. Also, some of the markers were impressive while many were simple. When I saw a few that held babies, it reminded how tough it was 100 years ago and how far we’ve come with medicine and easy living.

The little research I had done told me that this was a mining area and I was in front of a full cemetery, so where were the buildings and mines? Since the hills held the answers, I headed for them. I quickly and consistently came upon remnants of old buildings and mining holes although most of what I found was merely rubble. I could see by the wood pieces that they held age. Twice I found what looked like grave markers. I found evidence of old roads but they stopped and started and were hard to follow due to the creeks and tree growth. When I went to rest on a boulder, I found a newer helmet light sitting there and remembered seeing a mine cave back a ways. Some courageous soul crawled into that; they’re braver than me (but I am curios if they found anything….)! I once again learned that getting off the trail is a great way of seeing more!

As I headed back to the car, I came upon the main road and followed it back. Shortly I heard a vehicle approaching and grabbed Cody’s collar. A nice man drove up on his 4–wheeler with a fabulous border collie riding on the back. We chatted for a few minutes and I asked him if I could take a photo – our dogs look enough alike to spark my interest. But his is only 4 years old while mine is 11.

There were a spots where I was hiking that were a little rough: rocky, muddy, steep. Ever since I’ve been using 2 light weight poles, these obstacles have been easier to overcome (okay I did land on my butt at one point, and my pants are FULL of mud, but that’s besides the point. Cody’s been on 4 paws for 11 years, I’ve only been doing it for a month or 2!). Now I know why dogs can climb these mountains better and faster than me – they’ve got 4 on the floor!

On the way back into town I was compelled to stop the car, fish the camera out from the pile of gear, and take a few shots of the Santa Rita Mine. Between the sunny day, the variety of exposed rocks and the green fields, I just had to click off a few!

If you’d like to read a little more about the cemetery, check out this article from Desert Exposure:


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3.5 miles /2.5 hours

79 down /21 to go

Hike #63 – Tin Town and Beyond

June 3, 2012 – A hike with Vicki in the pines

Southwest New Mexico continues to be stressed with smoke from the Whitewater-Baldy Fire that is 30-50 miles to our west. On Saturday, there was a fire on Gomez Peak, just 4-5 miles north of Silver City. The local firemen along with Forest Service, air support, and hotshots had it put out in several hours. Any sane person gets nervous when they hear wildfire. It can get out of hand fast and the dry, hot conditions make it tense at best. Along with all this, I happen to be reading the book, “Fire Season” by Philip Connors. It’s a fascinating look at fire management and the positives/negatives that go with that administration.

On the way to meet Vicki, today’s excellent hiking partner, I passed Gomez Peak and paused to survey the damage. About 50 acres on the north and west side were burned. Once the rainy season starts in July, we should see new growth and green. On May 6th, I hiked it as part of my challenge, and now that I remember the hike and imagine the worst, I hope that the beauty that is Gomez is intact.

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Vicki led me on a lovely hike through the pine forest off of Wagon Wheel Lane. She has her regular trails and was kind enough to show me this one. We saw several points of interest including a 1900’s cabin, Preacher’s Point, Bear Mountain, a variety of arroyos and “Tin Town”, a group of old tin buildings next to Arroyo Rico that was an old mining camp. At one point I put my hand against the building and just thought about what was going on here 100 years ago. I imagine toothless miners with panning equipment, and perhaps a mule.

There are many offshoot trails including the CD Trail that I look forward to exploring in the future – it should be spectacular come the rains in July!


3.97 miles / 3.0 hours

63 down / 37 to go

100 Hikes in a Year – #50 Complete



The mouth of a mine shaft.



The temperature was seriously cooler near the opening. You go in, no you go, I'm not going in there, you go!


03-30-12 – Cleveland Mine Hike

The views up here are FINE!


I just updated my status and this is hike #50! I’m a WOOHOO girl today! It’s all downhill from here! I’m on track to complete on time since I had a goal to complete the first 50 by April 1st. The first half of this challenge has been incredible for me. When I think back to my experiences, it’s just fantastic! The things I’ve seen, the people I’ve gotten to be with and enjoy, the sore muscles the next day, the photographs. Even the planning has been fun, asking people their suggestions, writing down directions on the back of napkins at parties, pulling hand drawn maps out of my pocket from fellow hikers’ suggestions.

I believe this is LS Mesa.


A few stats: I have travelled 171 miles, and have been out for 126 hours. Cody has joined me on 34 hikes, Cisco is at 17, Marianne is at 13, and Helen is at 8. If the first half has been this interesting, I look forward to the second half like little Suzy on Christmas Eve!

This field is where the tailings are stored. There are pipes coming out of the ground to release gases as they build. It's completed fenced and probably toxic. But, I'm an optimist, It's got the BEST views!!


Helen heard about Cleveland Mine, and I went last week and was excited to explore it more so off we went on another hike of discovery. I talked about what little info I knew and had seen before as we climbed up the road towards the mine. I showed her the tailings area and a damn and an old foundation along with a well head. We wound around to where I knew many of the structures were clustered together and we enjoyed checking out old foundations and building remains. There were also so many different rocks; we got dizzy pointing them out to each other. The road continued on and we soon came to the mine shaft (1st two photos in this post). After exploring, we decided to continue further up the road. As we did, the wide scope of the operation 100 years ago became apparent. There were MANY holes and tailings and wood pieces and metal that I got tired of taking pictures of them all! We stopped for a break in a location that had tons of holes before heading back. Honestly, it was pretty amazing, and as usual, I find I have more questions and an interest in doing some more research on the area. Must check out Google earth! This is definitely a hike I’ll take visitors to – it’s worth it!


All that remains of an old structure - a residence, I suspect.

 Here is information on the Clean-up that occurred here a few years back –


Here are a few photographs of the sampling of holes we explored. And no, we didn't go in any.










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On a more somber note, I don’t know if you’ve heard about this runner who is missing up in the Gila Hot Springs area since Wednesday, but here is a link to his story. Basically, he went out for a run and hasn’t been seen since. It brings to light how dangerous this wilderness area can be. I hope he’s found safe….. and soon!


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4.00 miles / 3.50 hours

50 down / 50 to go

I don't think this photo shows it clearly, but we're pretty sure that's a bear print - and from the amount of scat around, it's quite possible!

Helen and Cisco checking out the old building structures.

Looking down at the old building structures.

A hike to explore an old Gold Mine

03-23-12 – Cleveland Mine


Mine ruins in the background and a water spring in the foreground.


Four days ago I cancelled a planned hike due to high winds and bitter cold. Today, I hike in a t-shirt and get a sun burn. Typical southern New Mexico. I park on the side of Cleveland Mine Road and walk up the old dirt road setting out to explore the mine. There are a variety of old foundations to investigate and photograph, along with the reclamation area that is fenced off. I look forward to checking out the variety of side roads in the future.

I had been up here in the past while walking nearby land for sale. I even saw an old map where it showed the wells, where the miners lived and worked, the old buildings, etc.

The old buildings reminded me of either Montezuma's Castle in Arizona or Castles in southern Spain.


The mine yielded gold, silver and copper from the late 1800’s to the early 1900’s. Here is information from


Site description: LA 167597 (435 m north-south by 230 m east-west) is north of the Cleveland Mill and has 65 associated features (Fig. 2). The feature types include shafts, adits, pits, waste piles, trenches, stopes, trash dump or scatter, hearth, metal flagpole, structure, privy, mineral survey point, and a large headframe. Mining was evident in this district prior to 1860, but significant amounts of metals were not recovered until that time. Gold was the major yield, with less production of silver and copper.

By 1868 six stamp mills were in the vicinity and employed 300 miners, eventually growing to 600. In 1905 a two-foot narrow-gauge railway, the Silver City, Pinos Altos and Mogollon Railroad (SC, PA & M) came to Pinos Altos. The ore was shipped to the Silver City smelter, but in 1913 declining silver prices forced the railroad to close, and the line was dismantled. During World War I, the Empire Zinc Company mined zinc from 1916 to 1917 for the war effort. By 1922 the entire Cleveland Mill Camp was abandoned and the machinery removed.


Mines require clean-up, or reclamation, and I found the EPA report explaining what was done for this one:



In this photo, I'm standing near the Cleveland Mine, looking at the Tyrone Mine. From one great mine to another!


The hike was uphill (or the first half was anyway) and a bit strenuous – but totally worth it for the interest of checking out the foundations and such.

3.22 miles / 2.00 hours

47 down / 53 to go


Off with the turtleneck, and on with the t-shirt!




An old mining area in New Mexico

03-05-12 – Fierro Hiking




Interesting rock formation.


When I want to do a quick hike, I tend to stay close in to Silver City. My go-to spots include Fort Bayard, Little Walnut Rd. and Fierro. Shelley and I drove to Fierro since she had not been out that way previously and I thought she might enjoy seeing the mine ruins and such.

It is unfortunate that many beer drinking folks like this area too because when we drove out there we found a lot of trash, mostly of the party kind. The trash really disappoints and frustrates me; I was always taught to respect things and be considerate of other people. Sigh.


Can you see the wild curve of this tree trunk???


The sunny day enhanced our hike down an old dirt road and along a creek. We enjoyed walking through the pine trees and Cody certainly enjoyed the cool stream water. The photographs will show some interesting rock formations and views. We also came upon an old mine shaft – photos shown here. We stopped and ate brownies on a downed tree and talked. Brownies may become a necessary pack item! No respectable hike is without them!

Looking down at the old mine shaft from the trail.


Next we climbed down to explore.


A bird's eye view.


On the way back, we found interesting rocks that had flat and polished sides to them. It was strange, because they certainly seemed to be man-made – and they’re so pretty that they don’t look like ‘throw-aways’ to me.

Can anyone tell me what I've got here?


I mentioned to Shelley that one of these days I was going to check out the Fierro Cemetery and she told me that today was the day. We drove up the little dirt road and found a larger cemetery than expected. I am providing some of the pictures here; this would be an interesting place for a photographer to come because there are many interestingly designed markers in the cemetery.






In a previous post I had a link to the Fierro information – I provide it here again. It’s an interesting part of the southwest history.


I also wondered what Fierro means – it means ‘Iron’ in Spanish.



2.73 miles / 2.0 hours

43 down / 57 to go