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A Los Angeles Childhood - I Climb as Though My Life Depends On It! Part II
Sunday, 10 July 2011 10:43

The Mogollon people came from 75 miles away in Reserve New Mexico, with mountains in this area going up to 10,000 feet. These people are now called the Ancestral Puebloans, Anasazi, Hohoken, and their caves supported 40 to 60 people.

Along this tour, two men help me as needed. They spot me to make sure I am on steady ground. I ask the height of these people. The guide tells me the men were about 5'8". When we descend the same way we came up, I walk like a crab leading with my right foot, the younger ones darting down the path like lambs reminding me that I was once like that 30 years ago. We see dragonflies on a babbling brook. Yes there really is that sound in the small stream that runs alongside the path down.

We are reminded that across the United States wild lands were disappearing fast. Aldo Leopold, the pioneering ecologist, convinced the Southwest national forest service to establish the Gila Wilderness area in 1924. It protects the upper Gila River watershed, the longest un-dammed stretch of river in the contiguous 48 states. This also brought about the 1964 Wilderness Act that preserves over 100,000 acres of federal public lands.

This afternoon I have such a sense of accomplishment. This hike has been calling me to the challenge for the past 5 years and now I can finally say, a peak experience and one that I will remember for some time to come.

Don Juan Ignacio Flores Mogollon served as the Spanish governor of land from present New Mexico to the Pacific coast in the 18th century. I promise myself I will read up on the ghost mining town that has his name before long.

The last time I climbed through cliff dwellings was in 1983 in Mesa Verde. I was one of those younger mountain goats jumping from one ledge to another with no thought to consequences.

I am so excited to tell you of this wonderful adventure. I hope that those of you who have never visited the area will consider it. You won't be sorry!

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