Silver City, New Mexico: inspiration, perspiration, and some needed respiration

Hiking in Silver City, NM

Welcome to Silver City, New Mexico!





We finally did it! After like eight hundred LONG years (okay, really it was only eight years, still really LONG), Tom and I were finally able to get away for a few nights of adventure. Our empty-nestedness still holding, last Monday we loaded up the car with bags, snacks, hiking boots, and, of course, Tynan and headed south towards Silver City.

On the way to Silver City, NM.

Looking back to the east on our way to Silver City. Just outside of Hillsboro, NM. Make sure to pray for no car trouble because your cell phone is worthless here.


Anyone else see a rug hooking possibility in this photo?

It’s spring and the cholla’s blooming!

Chino Mine near Silver City, NM.

Mixed feelings alert! This pic was taking at the Chino Mine Vista Point. It’s the best place to attempt to take in the immensity of what we read is the third largest open pit mine in the world (!!!). The Chino Mine facilities clearly make a HUGE mess of the natural surroundings. On a scale that boggles the mind. That being said, they’ve been here since the 1800s. More importantly, I surmise that the employment they provide to locals is pretty important. I wish I had an answer…

Driving to Silver City is almost a “you can’t get there form here” experience. It certainly reminds us that we aren’t in New England any more. First you head down Interstate 25 for a few hours. After Truth or Consequences, you bang a right off an exit that puts the Rio Grande River to your backside, and you head east/southeast eventually into the far reaches of the Gila National Forest. You’re on a narrow road with lots of ups and downs and twisty-turnies. And fabulous views. More hours than you think later, you level out, the road straightens, and Silver City is almost within sight. If it weren’t for more mountains, mines, big sky, cows, and sweeping vistas. But you will make it; I promise.

Tree damaged in fire.

Blistering on tree bark caused by a forest fire slooks like dragon scales. (Karen Miller of Karen D. Miller Studio, I was thinking of you!)

Despite being known as a tourist destination, Silver City is mostly a town filled with friendly working folks, artists, college students, and retirees going about their daily lives. It’s colorful, lots of art – galleries, shops, studios. Very shabby chic and a little on the edge what with a number of empty storefronts along the main drag. One hopes that summer’s activities and tourists

There be more dragons in these hills!

can change that, fill the place up a little more, provide some employment for the locals. There are plenty of restaurants, but be advised that a number are closed on Mondays – at least during shoulder season.

Silver City is the gateway to the Gila National Forest. From town you can access the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument, various state parks, LOTS of trails, the Catwalk Recreation Area, and so on. Being there only two days, we didn’t do many of those things. But we could have….



Deer in Silver City, NM

The supercilious attitude of these deer was palpable when I took the shot. “F-ing tourists…”








Mr. (or Mrs.?) Quail didn’t give a crap about me either.



Nope, our trip was about getting away, relaxing – when we weren’t driving, that is. The one full day we stayed in town was spent on a fairly leisurely hike, finding a great lunch, and poking in and out of little shops. I swam in the hotel pool and read my book. Later we headed into the tiny community of Piños Altos for dinner at the Buckhorn Saloon and Opera House. The historic bar was authentic though I doubt that back in the 1860s they were serving goat cheese and aioli with their burgers. Still, very yummy. Excellent fries and a good beverage list.





Somewhere north of Silver City in Big Sky Country. (I think you could fit Rhode Island in just this picture!)


Dog at Catwalks Recreational Area..

Tynan contemplating the beginning of the Catwalk.

Wednesday we climbed back into the car and headed up north along the Arizona border. It’s a desolate and supremely beautiful ride. Lots of ranch land, not a lot of people or infrastructure. Gas up in Silver City, people! This is Big Valley for real! And big mountains too. We detoured to the Catwalk Recreation Area because I’d seen pictures that looked quite intriguing. (New Englanders, this is the Flume on steroids. With a lot less trees and humidity.) We even got to ford a river. Twice. In a Honda Accord, that can be rather…exciting. We made it, so it was okay. Just like I told Tom it would be. Even though I wasn’t driving…


The Catwalk trail built into the sides of the slot canyon and hanging over the river. Tynan really didn’t like walking on the catwalk. We tried to tell him it was just a name, that they could have just as easily named it the dogwalk.






Now that Tom and I remember how to do the get-away thing, we plan on making it the habit it was a couple of decades ago. And since the snow’s on its way out up north, it’s almost time to go that way. And west; there’s still plenty of west between us and the Pacific. We didn’t move all the way cross country to sit on our butts.


Mosaic in Silver City, NM.

Someone installed this mosaic into the side of a Silver City building. To me it screams this is the southwest, a little rough, but filled with unexpected beauty.





Have any travel ideas for High on Hooking? List’em here in the comments ’cause we’re raring to roam everywhere now!





6 thoughts on “Silver City, New Mexico: inspiration, perspiration, and some needed respiration

  1. Debora

    As an infrequent visitor to the West, I recommend Canyon de Chelly! Go in the spring when the water is high in the canyon, and travel with a guide in the canyon, then explore the Rim on your own! The tours out of Thunderbird Lodge are great as the trucks are open so you get a great view up the canyon walls! Our native guide’s talk as we explored was very moving and personal.

  2. Sylvia Doiron

    What a delightful adventure. In the telling it sounds so relaxing. Thanks for sharing. Several ides for rugs. Taking a break from hooking but will get back to it.

    1. LauraS Post author

      My neck is telling me it’s time for a break, but no time! Sale next weekend. And Fiesta right behind it. I need a real vacation!

  3. Debbie Moyes

    Sounds great! The West is certainly different. Where is your daughter? I knew she had a job but has she left your nest?
    I was talking to a woman down the street the other day. She must be in her 60’s. Very long story short, her daughter and several grandkids live with she and her husband and the local kids are there a lot. She was saying that they have decided to pick a day a week for the two of them to get away and do something. It sounds like no one helps her with laundry and cooking….yow! What has happened to parents? Peter’s parents would not have let us move in. Mine probably would have, but neither one of us would have dreamed of not doing our share (or more) of work.
    Oh – I wasn’t saying all this about your daughter; I’ve just been thinking about it since I talked to her. I just feel badly when being the parent of an older child interferes with retirement or the health of the parents. I thought my nephews would never get jobs or be independent and my brother is in his 70’s…

    1. LauraS Post author

      I never would’ve wanted to move in with my parents after college, Deb. I got married instead! (And then re-married 🙂 .) She did indeed leave the nest after disagreeing with some conditions we found…necessary to instill if she was to stay. So now she’s learning that it’s often difficult to live with people – family or friends, no matter! And food and wifi are not free out there. Say a prayer for her; she needs it. The crisis THIS week was a blown-out window in her minivan – done in by her roommate’s moped that they were transporting. It never ends…