December 20, 2009

Silver City - Mogollon Ghost Town

After leaving the Catwalk, we drove farther west to find a winding, narrow road up over a 7500 ft pass and then down into the Mogollon Valley, where and old mining town awaits our visit.

Although the drive up the pass tested our courage in a few spots, the rewarding views back behind us were worth a few stops "on the edge".

Farther along we start to see evidence of days past mining operations.

Upon arrival at the ghost town, we park the truck and walk the half mile or so up the small canyon through the old main street.

It's cold and dark in this crevice, not a sole in sight and dead quiet as we work our way past relics of by-gone days.  This truly is a ghost town today...what an eerie feeling!

Obviously the summer only residents have done an excellent job of preserving the look and feel of the original dwellings, adding to the charm of it all.

Relics of the past line the street as we proceed ----

------reaching the summit of Main St we climb a slight grade to the west, and get a nice view from atop an overlooking ridge.

As we walk back through the utter quiet of the past, I notice crumbling signs of the past.

Silver City - Gila Catwalk!

Today we decide to see another example of the many experiences offer by this area.  We're off wetward on Hwy 180 again, this time well past Bill Evans Lake and the town of Cliff.  About ten miles out of Cliff there is a Leopold Vista I glad we stopped!  In addition to getting a short history lesson on the naming of the wilderness, we enjoy those beautilful views this area is known for....

Another short drive and we are at the Catwalk!

The Catwalk is the result of a long elevated 18" diameter water line that ran for about a mile up the narrow Silver Creek Canyon to provide head for hydro-generation of electricity in the early 1900's for the tiny mining town of Silver Creek.  The pipeline had a wooden catwalk over the top to allow mine personel to service and repair the system.

Years after it's abandonment as a working water source, the National Forest Service replaced the original line with a series of elevated catwalks, providing one of the most rewarding trails in the area!
More of the history can be learned at

It seems as though Kim has sharpened her focus on trees lately, especially since she's started water color painting.  These strange, twisted contrasting hunks of  wood offer a challenge to color and shading.  We're fascinated during the first few hundred yards of the trail by the striking examples of Nature's art....

Kim walks ahead to the first entry onto the Catwalk, with the spectyacular canyon towering high above.  It's an eery but delightful feeling as we enter this labryrinth.

Around every bend is a treat to the eye, with many small waterfalls in the creek's flow below.

Around turns, up and down, through mazes we go...what fun!

Up ahead is the "helicopter bridge" a huge steel arch spanning the width of the canyon --

We walk alongside the "swimming hole"  It's a long way down, no diving from up here allowed!
Just ahead a nice low overhang, reminds us of places where the Pueblo cliff dwellers like to build...

Kim finds the end of the trail a bit exciting, crossing the swinging bridge - what a finale'  wonderful hike on the Catwalk!
If you interested in seeing more, I found this nice video set to music on YouTube: