December 12, 2009

Silver City - Hike Up Gila Box Canyon

After our visit to Bill Evans Lake, we continued west on Hwy 180 to visit the small communities of Cliff and Gila, home of quite a few of the artists that offer their creations for sale in Silver.  We stopped for lunch at the Village Market in Gila (excellent sandwiches very reasonably priced) and chatted with the rock shop owner next door.  He highly recommended the drive up the Box Canyon north of the town.

The Gila Lower Box Canyon is a true oasis in the desert. Since livestock has been prohibited in the river canyon since 1990, the canyon has grown into a lush thicket of cottonwood, willows, and other riparian vegetation. The area provides some of the best birding in New Mexico, and is habitat to many rare and unusual birds, including common black hawks, zone-tailed hawks, Bell's vireos, yellow-billed cuckoos, and hundreds of other bird species. The canyon also provides opportunities for canoeing, rafting during Spring runoff, hunting, and year-round fishing and camping. The river contains smallmouth bass and several species of catfish.

Among the many activities available in this area, rock-hounding is a great way to spend an afternoon.  Kim ound a few choice specimens along this expansive wash (remember Lucy & Desi's "The Long Long Trailer").

We hiked up the River Trail for about an hour, spooking quite a few mallards, and even spying a trout or two along the stream.  This are is truly amazing!

Silver City - Bill Evans Lake

We took a dive today west on Hwy 180 to this small 65 acre stocked lake high above the Gila River (yes, the water is actually pumped up about 800ft to the man-made lake!).  The project was started years ago buy a mining outfit in coordination with the Forest Service.

In addition to holding the State record largemouth bass at almost 16 pounds! It boasts a nice population of other species including these nice rainbows caught by a local.

Kim was amused by this confused domestic duck, which had adopted the wild Mallards as it's family.