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Rich Kurczak --    Web Link - Rich .mac web site

July 9, 2006
From the Gila River Guesthouse - Yucca, Fat Birds, Ancient Relics

Greetings from southwestern New Mexico (pic.1)!

The adobe house we rent (pic.) is built upon 10 acres of unlandscaped desert near the town of Cliff. Yucca (pic.2), Mesquite, and multiple varieties of desert grass grow here in abundance between arroyos. We have been taking slow, zig-zag walks between blossoming plants that have been awakened by the just-begun monsoon season.

The property is bordered by 100 acres of Sierra Club land, and small cattle farms. In addition, it adjoins the 3.3 million acres of the Gila National Forest. Numerous bird species migrate through this area - including hummingbird, oriole and cardinal. We are descended upon daily by chubby bands of Gambel's Quail (pic.3) who peck the birdseed we set out.

We were surprised and excited to discover that this property is home to two, small Indian mounds that are less than 100 yards from our front door. The mounds were formally uses as dwellings and now resemble small craters - knee high at the rim, three feet deep at the center, and twelve feet in diameter. We have been told that they date back to the Mongollon-Mimbres era (which begins at approximately 100 AD). They have been crudely excavated at some point, but it is still possible to see pottery shards, arrowheads, and other artifacts in the area (pic.4). It has been extraordinary to view the evidence of an ancient culture up close and in the open air.

Plans over the next three weeks include exploring nearby cliff dwellings and more visits to the artist community of Silver City. More to come..!

click pictures for larger views