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.


December 2014 – Boston Hill

A Town of Trails

Hiking Boston Hill in Silver City with Adrienne Booth.

by Linda Ferrara

To wind up the 2014 hiking articles, I was lucky enough to hike with Adrienne Booth, a vivacious woman who is involved with many organizations in Silver City including: Grant County Trails Group, Tamal Fiesta y Mas, SWNM Green Chamber of Commerce, and the Grant County branch of AAUW-Expanding Your Horizons. I felt an immediate connection with her since we both grew up in urban areas (she in Illinois and me just outside Newark, NJ) and at early ages found connections to the outdoors.


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Her first outdoor experiences were exploring the urban neighborhoods and public parks around her childhood home on the South Side of Chicago. As she spent more and more time outside, she came to love nature, and when she visited a new place her first inquiry was about hiking in the vicinity. “Being outside was fun, inexpensive entertainment,” she recalled. “In college, I didn’t own a car, and I explored much of urban and rural New England on foot.”

One of the many things that drew her to the Silver City area was the potential for hiking. She told me, “This is the best urban trail system I’ve seen, including places with highly praised greenways such as Austin, Texas, and Portland, Oregon. As a community, we need to appreciate and use this special opportunity.”

Adrienne earned a degree in Visual and Environmental Studies from Harvard in 1980, and later did graduate work in geography and interpretive media. She has worked for educational publishers, coordinated manager training programs for Texas State Parks, and recently served as manager for the Gila Conservation Education Center here in Silver City. One of her current interests is with the Grant County Trails Group in our area. This group, along with many other organizations, helps create and promote a system of greenways in and near Silver City to provide local residents with places to enjoy nature and get exercise.

On many local trails you will get a flavor for the past and how Silver City developed into the unique place it is today. Maybe we should call this hike the “Health, History and Heritage Tour.” When she hikes regularly, Adrienne finds that she feels better. By walking just half an hour daily, she has seen her bad cholesterol numbers go down and her lipid numbers get in check. Her glucose numbers have gotten under control, she sleeps better and doesn’t crave junk food, her clothes fit better and the 56-year-old feels mentally sharper.

Both Adrienne and I want to encourage readers to get out and explore these trails. Instead of sitting and having coffee with a friend, why not get a to-go cup and walk one of the trails? Rather than playing video games, why not bring the kids to the trails and show them one of the many paths in the area? Are you thinking of a New Year’s resolution for 2015? Consider making this yours: “I’m going to get out and hike all of these trails in 2015.”

Here is a partial list of some the trails currently available right in the Silver City area: Boston Hill, Big Ditch Park, La Capilla Vista, San Vicente Creek, Big Tree Trail, Dragonfly Trail, Gomez Peak Trail System. You can get a more extensive list at here.

Name: Boston Hill

Distance: various

Difficulty: easy to moderate

Directions: There are several trailheads in the Boston Hill trail system. One entrance is at the top of Market Street, near Hwy. 180. The others are on Cheyenne Street (off Market), Spring Street (off Cooper) and Cooper Street (north of the cemetery).

Hike description: This is a pleasant, meandering trail system over the 550 acres of Boston Hill. You will enjoy long-range, panoramic views of the area, various mine evidence to explore, and wildlife and plants of the area. Since it is a series of three hills, there is some climbing. But it’s still easy and doable for most people.

Notes: In 1879 a mining claim was made on the smallest of the hills by the “Boston Company.” Within four years they had sold the mine, but the name remained. In 1999 the Town of Silver City purchased the property with intentions of preserving it as open space.

It is popular with locals because it allows dogs on leashes, is open to bicyclists and pedestrian traffic, and is close to town yet still provides the feel of nature. There are benches for resting and numbered trail junction signs. If you’re going in hot weather, bring water and wear a hat. If you would like to have a map to take with you, you can get one at the Visitor’s Center on Hudson Street, or online here.

Tell us about a particularly memorable hiking experience:

“In both 2013 and 2014, I worked with the Hispanic Access Foundation to bring about 30 urban kids from Catholic youth groups to experience the Gila River for the first time. We hiked near the Cliff Dwellings and in the Mogollon Box area.

“For many participants, it was a spiritual and life-changing experience. They turned off cell phones except to take photographs of the river to share with their friends, and they talked about wanting to come back on their own to explore the outdoors again. It was very rewarding for me to share my love of nature with them and to have them enjoy it and want to share it with others.”


This is a reprint of an article that first appeared in the December 2014 issue of Desert Exposure.

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 #86 – CD Trail from Highway 15 to Webb Gulch

August 7, 2012 – Happy Birthday, Kristen!

Our through hike today took a little coordinating. Sharon’s husband drove us to our access point for the CD Trail on Highway 15 – just past the Arrastra site. Frank planned to pick us up between 1-3 at the Jones’ house. Our plan was to hike the Continental Divide Trail from Highway 15 to our friend’s house off of Webb Gulch; we estimated it was approximately 6-8 miles.

This trail is a beauty as you walk through tall pines and creeks, on old roads, and then come up to views of the monastery and the Gila National Forest. It has a lot of up and downs, which didn’t bother me yesterday, but my legs do feel it today. We also saw evidence of old mining activity, bear scat and a turkey that had a VERY bad day recently.  Later, when our friends mentioned that they had mountain lion activity in the area, we think we know what happened to that turkey!

We had many views of “Our Lady of Guadalupe Monastery”. They have quite an operation up there; we saw gardens, barns, a large water tank and several other buildings. The trail came around to the north of their property and then swung down to the south so we really did see much of their beautiful set-up.

This portion of the CD Trail is maintained by Bob G. who lives in the area. The trail is made up of old roads and trails and is well marked.

I was a little concerned about locating the spot where we turn off to get to the Jones’. I had been there on June 3rd with Vicki and thought I would remember the trail. When we got in the area, sure enough, I saw the turn off and we headed up a slope. Soon we came to a fence and newer looking gate, but it didn’t look familiar and I felt like we were off course. I called Margaret and we soon had neighbor Bob on his ATV to guide us back. Frank and Jim were even saddled up ready to come to show us the way. Luckily, we huffed and puffed up the last hill to their house before they headed out. In looking back, I made the call too soon. It was only 12:30 in the afternoon; I could see their house marked on my GPS. If we knocked around some more up there, we would have found the hidden trail and gotten to them easily. {I learned that it’s very hard to get directions from someone when you’re out in the woods. How do you describe where you are? “I’m at a fence with a lot of trees around it”?????} A second option was to stay on the CD Trail and take it to FR 506 which connects to their road.

Once we were back on track, we were able to check out “Tin Town”, an old mining enclave, which I describe in my June 3rd post (hike #63).

The map that is included in the photos shows most of our trip; it’s the line in red. We went from the eastern most part to the spot where is says ‘Water’.

All in all, it was a great hike that I look forward to doing again!

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6.40 Miles / 4.5 Hours

86 down /154to go

Hike #83 – Georgetown Town Site and surrounding area

A.K.A. The Stop and Start Hike

High humidity and low temperatures (both were around 66) greeted us this morning as we set out for Georgetown Rd once more.  I wanted to check out the old town site and so we parked past the cemetery where we thought the site might be.  First we took the road to the left, but it only went up a few hundred yards. We checked out some old mine holes and then back to the car where we took the road to the right (is there a political witism in there somewhere???) Again, the road ended pretty quickly so we went back to the car and drove to another spot. At the next spot we had the same problem – short roads for girls looking for long strolls. After checking out more mine holes and a few building foundations, we again got into the car and headed to the cemetery where there was a side road that I remembered having length. Third time we debarked and headed out; we took a side trail that was nothing more than a forest cul-de-sac. Back to the road and we continued on the road for the duration of our walk. Jeesh!

We were lucky to have good company, interesting vistas and mine remnants to keep us from getting frustrated.

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3.82 miles /2.0 hours

83 down /17 to go

Hike #80 – FR 4085E – Off Georgetown Rd.; Gila National Forest

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Today’s hike was in the Georgetown Rd area. There’s many side roads back there so April, Dora and Cisco joined me in an exploration. We climbed up Forest Road 4085E and ended up on a ridge overlooking the Santa Rita mines. It’s a pleasant, sunny trail with scrub oaks, junipers and the like.

The area was full of rabbits that Cisco unsuccessfully chased. We saw quite a few along with some turkey, some horny toads and a tarantula. Rainy weather brings out more than just the grasses!


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5.21 miles /2.0 hours

80 down /20 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