May 2016 Western Trip - Part 28
The last stop on our 2016 Western Trip is Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument about 35 miles north of Silver City, New Mexico. I've visited several cliff dwellings over the years and even a few on this trip. But I wanted to make sure to include the Gila Cliff Dwellings because they are some of the most accessible ones offered in the National Parks system. Many cliff dwelling sites keep the visitors back away from the ruins a bit to make sure they don't damage or destroy anything. Years ago, Mesa Verde, probably one of the best known and largest cliff dwelling sites, allowed you to get closer and wander around the ruins. But with the hundreds of thousands of visitors they have each year, they have been slowly pulling in the reins on that a bit. However, they do still allow you to climb around a little and climb down the ladders into the Kivas.
Gila Cliff Dwellings are much more open and they let you go anywhere you want. Some of the reason for this is probably because they don't have nearly as many visitors, being so far away from anything and isolated. Even though it was about 4-5 days after breaking my ankle, and it included an uphill hike to view the dwellings, I enjoyed my time there.
After one more driving day and night in west Texas, I then headed back home completing a wonderful 28 day road trip. Cheryl and I had a great and enjoyable time through the first two thirds of it before she headed home from Las Vegas as planned, while I had the opportunity to visit a few more sites on my extended drive home.
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