I hope you enjoyed this road trip over the past three weeks, including the extraordinary 1Zero6 Café review and the tour of Silver City, New Mexico. Here are today’s favorites from the Catwalk:
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Along the Catwalk Trail the hiker will find colorful placards explaining both the history and the geology of the area. The area in and around the Gila National Forest is home to not one, but rather four supervolcanoes. For more on these massive explosive calderas, see Supervolcano – Wikipedia.
I mentioned in previous articles in this series that the Catwalk started out as a support for a pipe carrying water for a lumber operation. And here’s what appears to be a remnant of that operation:
Just inside the Catwalk Recreation Area is a nice picnic ground, a great place to have a bite to eat following your hike:
This picnic area is just a short distance from the footbridge that crosses back over Whitewater Creek after your return hike:
But let’s get back to the Catwalk, which I’m sure is what interests most of you:
This treasure is just an absolutely wonderful way to spend a couple of hours.
Now for today’s gallery:
This hike along the Catwalk Trail offers absolutely stunning views and photo opportunities. New formations lurk around every corner, and current views change to reveal totally different perspectives and sights with a mere change of just a few short feet. Indeed, the following sight revealed itself to Ursula only through a break in the trees above:
It’s definitely a good thing that the federal government recognized the Catwalk was something worthy of preservation. The efforts to convert the Catwalk from a support for a lumber operation waterline to a recreational hiking trail began as a Depression-era Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC) project way back in the 1930s.
Unfortunately, this early CCC effort focused on converting the existing wooden structure using the original supports rather than taking into account the vulnerability to the area’s floods and wildfires. Consequently, the Catwalk was destroyed several times over the intervening years. In 2013 the remnants of the Catwalk washed away in a massive flood, and for a while it looked as if the Catwalk would not be rebuilt.
Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed and funds were allocated to place new supports higher up the flood-prone canyon, and convert the trail from wood to metal. The new Catwalk reopened to the public on Memorial Day weekend of this year — 2016. Ursula had wanted to visit this area for years, and now that the trail reopened, this was the year.
The geology of this area is igneous, as you’ve probably surmised from the photos of the reddish rock formations and their rough texturing typical of magma.
It’s a dark and alien landscape dotted with contrasting sprinkles of green vegetation.
Beyond the canyon the landscape changes to something a bit more familiar, at least to those of us who live in the Desert Southwest.
Now for a little gallery of images. Click on any image below to enlarge and bring up today’s slide show of the Catwalk: