Heading toward Tucson, Arizona we took a break in Deming. Driving long days is not part of our plan. Jim says we want to drive three hours and stay three days minimum. I’m not thrilled with sitting too long so that’s fine with me. After all, we’re not in a hurry. And the goal was to see our nation, and find treasures we didn’t know existed or at least haven’t seen.
As we drove into the area we spotted beautiful scenery north of us. I suggested there might be something neat we would want to check out during our short stay. Sure enough, north of town is Gila National Forest.
We decided to just take a nice drive to see the area and were surprised when we passed what looked like a bigger than gigantic quarry. It was the largest open pit copper mine in the nation. Impressive.
Then we missed the road we thought we wanted to take, and found ourselves on an eighteen mile, two lane road with sharp curves. It was our kind of ride. At the end of the drive were cliff dwellings at Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument. We were allowed to hike a steep trail to the dwellings and go in to look around. Knowledgeable park volunteers were present to answer question and share information. The area was a wonderful treasure of beauty and American history.
Familiar with the road on the way back, Jim had fun zooming through the curves as if in a race as we dropped back into the valley.
A word about park volunteers. As we visited with the people at this park we learned they only have one paid employee. The rest of the park was managed by volunteers. The one in the visitor center was local. She said she enjoyed the opportunity to talk to the people who come to visit. There were three other people at the steps to the cliffs and inside. They were from other parts of the nation and stay in dorms provided by the park.
Volunteers serve all over the nation. There’s a website with all the information. Many of the parks provide sites for your RV or some kind of housing. No doubt volunteering is a good way to keep our countries parks open. Thank you, volunteers.