It was another sunny day in southern New Mexico yesterday. We left the motel before 8:00 AM to make the 11 mile road trip to Rock Hound State Park east of Deming. One of the more unique parks in the country, this tiny expanse of mountainous land allows visitors to take up to 15 pounds of rocks they mine themselves from the many arroyos, hills and mountains.
Lori and I spent some time talking with the volunteer manning the visitor's center. He showed us the best hiking trails and we decided to take a relatively easy half-mile trek, enjoying the many different cacti and birds we saw along the way. The elevation was about 6000 feet and the trail was on a steep incline.
Sun Canyon is a day use area that is part of the state park. It boasts about 350 Persian Ibex, offspring of a dozen or so sent to the USA by the Shah of Iran in the 1970s. The canyon has very steep walls and trails that are much more primitive than at Rock Hound. We started to walk a half mile trail that led to "Lover's Leap," but the higher we went the more dangerous the trail, which ran next to high cliffs, became. My limbs were already shaky from exercising my Parkinson's ridden beyond where I usually take it.
This past Thursday we ventured to Gila Cliff Dwelling Monument for an interview with the ranger in charge of the Volunteer Interpretive Ranger Program. Believe me, the word "ventured" is more than appropriate. The country highway that runs from Silver City, NM to the cliff dwellings is not wide and contains some of the tightest "S" curves and hair spring turns I have ever driven. When you add the fact that the road does not have guard rails to protect drivers from making a fatal mistake of going off the road, driving it is especially challenging to someone with PD. Thankfully, while I was negotiating the road, my daily wearing off period had not kicked in.
One more thing worth noting about our trip through Gila National Forest was the young coatimundi that crossed our path as we drove to the cliff dwellings. I had not seen a coatimundi since I was stationed in the Army in Panama in the late 70s. The colony of these creatures that lived near our house would come down from the jungle to my front yard every evening and still cookies from my children's hands.
We decorated our motel room with a Christmas tree we bought from Goodwill and some inexpensive decorations we purchased at the local Dollar Tree. All our neighbors at the Butterfield Stage Motel pass by our window slowly to take in the sight.
Tomorrow we will be heading to Columbus, NM, down on the border with Mexico to visit the Pancho Villa State Park. This is the only one in the region we have not seen yet. If we have enough time, we plan to go back to City of Rocks State Park again tomorrow. It's our favorite state park we've been to.