El Moro has a fun, not-too-challenging hiking trail that goes around the base and up to the top. The base is decorated with petroglyphs from ancient and not-so-ancient times. Native American drawings share space with names, dates, poems written by early European and European-American explorers.
A steep path climbs up to the top, made of different colored limestone. Red rock. Yellow rock. Gleaming white rock. And some remains of an ancient civilization. We are the only ones up here, scrambling over the smooth boulders.
The rest of the day is driving. Just driving, driving, driving. From low forested mesa lands through higher forests, down to lower deserts, the flora ever-changing.
“It’s the Gila River Watershed!”
We learn of Aldo Leopold, New Mexico’s John Muir. Also how the Gila River is the longest un-dammed river in the Lower 48. Thanks to Aldo Leopold and like-minded environmentalists, no doubt.
Driving, driving, driving…through a slowly changing scenery.
Lots of signs say “No No No Wolves!” The people here are down on wolves. Poor canis lupus! Killed for the sin of screwing up human interests. (Like the gophers and ground squirrels on our ranch, I guess, except the wolves are nowhere near as prolific.)
It takes the whole day to get to Silver City, an old mining town that is surprisingly big and surprisingly modern.
We continue up SR-15 from Silvery City through Pinos Altos and towards the Gila Cliff Dwellings. Our plan to go to Chaco disappeared when the weather pushed us in a southerly direction. This is now the Follow the Weather Tour.