#Wilderness50!  The Gila Wilderness:

Trail of the Mountain Spirits Scenic Byway - Riding Beneath Cliffs in the Gila Wilderness

Packing along the Gila River, the traveler pauses to sense the quiet on this riverside campground below jagged tan cliffs.

Location: New Mexico (33.183° N 108.207° W)
Status: Public domain. Photo by Joe Burgess

The Gila Wilderness of New Mexico - the first wilderness area to be protected under the Wilderness Act and just one of the many images of wilderness areas to be found in National Archives holdings

(Submitted by usnatarchives!)

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Wildfire shatters record for largest in New Mexico wildfire burning in the Gila National Forest is now the largest blaze on record in New Mexico, a fire incident spokesman says. Two lightning-sparked fires merged last week to form the giant blaze, which has grown to more than 170,000 acres.

Photo: Smoke from the Whitewater-Baldy Fire is seen on Tuesday, May 29, 2012, in the Gila National Forest, New Mexico. (Andrea Martinez / Gila National Forest via


Last spring, we decided to take up backpacking and of course, we had to take the corgi! Our first trip was to the Gila National Forest, where we hiked 12 miles in two days and made over 20 river crossings. Hence, the life jacket for the Lucy Bear. (First 2 pics)

The second trip was to the Lincoln National Forest where we hiked around 13 miles and actually saw a bear. Luckily, the Lucybear didn’t see it and it didn’t see us. (Last 4 pictures)

Gila, New Mexico wildfire sets state record for destruction
  • 170,000 acres burned in last week source

» Authorities have confirmed that the fire, which formed after two separate lightning-induced blazes converged last week, has now destroyed more than 265 square miles inside of Gila National Forest. The blaze surpassed a fire from 2011 that destroyed more than 153,000 acres, and threatened the Los Alamos Nuclear Laboratory before authorities could stop contain it.

New Mexico (beware it's a long one)

Where should we start?

After leaving El Cosmico &  Marfa early Wednesday morning we headed into New Mexico. First stop was the Carlsbad Caverns, which were pretty wild to see in person. We even picked up a National Park Pass to get us into the rest of the parks on this trip, it should definitely save us some money.

That night we camped out side of Roswell, New Mexico at the Bottomless Lakes State Park. It was a pretty nice place to camp for the night and shower up. We really enjoyed checking out the sky that night, it was so dark you could see nearly every star. 

After Roswell we headed into town for breakfast and to see the sights. Every street has an Alien themed shop it seems, little green men are spotted all over town. 

White Sands National Monument was next on the list to see, so we headed towards the Alamogordo area. Along the way we spotted the worlds largest Pistachio & the ranch they are grown on. Ruben picked up a bag to snack on, and Tony & I now regret that we didn’t get any our selves. 

Located between two mountain ridges outside Alamogordo are the breath taking White Sands. Bleach white dunes are all the eye can see in any direction, it’s like a scene out of a movie.  While walking the dunes you’ll feel like they never end, it’s up one side and down the other. We felt it was mandatory to camp and stay the night to get the full experience. 

Our camp site was nearly a mile from the road, Tony and I grabbed all our gear and headed in, Ruben volunteered to carry the cooler full of food. We quickly set up camp and hiked out to shoot photos of the beautiful sunset. Since none of us brought sandals on the trip we had to spend nearly 14 hours barefoot on the sand, our feet felt extra soft the next day & were extremely tender the day after that.

The last stop in New Mexico before heading to Arizona was Gila National Forrest. Gila was a beautiful sight to see, I think we can all agree that it’s definitely an under rated National Park. Unfortunately the road that leads you to the forrest is so windy that it takes nearly 2 hours to drive 40 miles, I can also tell you that you will have absolutely zero cell reception for your entire visit, in our case that was 3 nights. In Gila we camped at a privately owned hot spring deep in the woods, it was incredibly relaxing. 

After 3 days in the bush, completely cut off from civilization we left Gila and headed directly to Phoenix. We are currently enjoying wifi, warm weather, comfy beds, and most importantly real food!

Sorry for the long post but we felt it was necessary to give everyone a solid update. Be on the look out for some photos from Ruben and I in the next day. Tonight we are relaxing, tomorrow we will edit photos for you to enjoy.