This week we are on letter G for our trip through New Mexico.
We are going to start in the far southwestern corner of the state with the Gila Cliff Dwellings. Quick pronunciation tip – the G is more of an H sound for Gila (Hee-luh).
The Gila Cliff Dwellings are located about 45 miles from Silver City on a twisty-turny road that they recommend allowing up to 2 hours to drive. This area was home to the Tularosa Mogollon people in about 1200 AD. They created their homes out of natural cliff dwellings. They also used natural stone to build their homes in the cliffs, to create rooms. There is evidence of about 40 rooms in the dwellings. The one mile loop trail will take you through natural environments, to the naturally eroded cave areas, and to rooms that you can enter to see the original timber lintels and support beams intact.
The Mogollon peoples of the Gila were farmers, tilling the land to grow squash, corn, and beans. They hunted game and wove the natural materials into items to trade with other communities and cultures. They grew and cultivated cotton, weaving it into cloth. They were also skilled potters, with evidence of their black-on-white designed and brown bowls with black interiors found in many places.
This is a national monument and is run by the National Park Service. It is located in the first designated wilderness, the Gila Wilderness. There is also the Gila National Forest surrounding the area so there are lots of opportunities for hiking, camping, and other outdoor activities.
Ghost Ranch is currently a national education and retreat center owned by the Presbyterian church. It has had many other lives, though, also. Being in the desert southwest, there were native peoples that inhabited this land long ago. The Navajo were some of those but were eventually run off by the Spanish who settled the area. It was bought in the 1930s by Arthur Pack, one of the nation’s first environmentalists. It was during his ownership that Georgia O’Keeffe first came to Ghost Ranch, which gets its name from a rumor spread that the land was haunted by evil spirits.
Pack opened Ghost Ranch as a dude ranch, where folks could come and stay. It served as respite for a wide variety of people, from nuclear scientists to artists such as Ansel Adams to Hollywood stars such as John Wayne to world record holders such as Charles Lindbergh. When O’Keeffe visited, she fell in love with it. She eventually convinced Pack to sell her a small part of the ranch and she lived there as often as she could.
The terrain is different than you might expect being a high desert. But then, maybe not. It is stark and beautiful and is widely praised by artists for the kind of light the area produces.
And last but not least, the Giant Pistachio.
This is a fun, side of the road stop close to Alamogordo. The area has several pistachio farms and one of them has placed this giant pistachio in their parking lot to grab attention. It does so! And every time I see it come up in my mom’s Facebook page, I know she is getting gifts for someone!
The 30 foot pistachio marks one of two country style stores run by the McGinn family. They also have tours of their pistachio farm and winery. The tours run about 30 minutes in length, according to the website. Definitely pick up some of the flavored nuts. We have some red and green chili pistachios sitting on the counter right now!
Everyone loves a stop for something weird and wonderful. I think the Giant Pistachio qualifies.
Have fun exploring New Mexico!
Lori, At Home.
Join the party! Link Up with your own ABC post.
Each week we will be linking up with the hosts of Blogging Through the Alphabet. Please visit some of these other blogs to get things like book lists, vegan recipes, and wonderful places to visit, just to name the topics I can think of off the top of my head.
- Amanda @ Hopkins Homeschool
- Christine @ Life’s Special Necessities
- Kimberly @ Vintage Blue Suitcase
- Dawn @ Schoolin’ Swag
- Wendy @ Life On Chickadee Lane
- Yvonne @ The Life We Build
- Jennifer @ A Peace Of Mind
- Kristen @ A Mom’s Quest To Teach
- Kirsten @ DoodleMom Homeschool
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* The most important rule is to make sure you are having fun! This is not something we want you to be stressed out over. We want to see all the fun ideas that everyone comes up with for the letters!