(Catwalk Recreation Area - Hiking the Whitewater Canyon)
Yesterday we had a 3-hour drive or 170 miles from White Sands National Park to Silver City NM before we finally arrived late at the campground. Unfortunately, when we got there, the Campground office was already closed and we had to ring out the camping host who had no problems with it and kindly get our place assigned.
Early in the morning the next day, after a cold night, we broke camp and headed to our next stop. For the first time, our gas heater in the camper was used here and gave us a comfortable and cozy sleep. Originally we wanted to visit the Gila Cliff Dwellings, but deviated from our plan, as we wanted to avoid a 4-hour detour over the narrow serpentine road leading there. Instead, we visited the "Catwalk Recreation Area". I had read that there was an excellent hike into Whitewater Canyon there, and we wanted to do that instead of the Dwellings.
After a short drive, we reached the "Catwalk Recreation Area", whose parking lot was also the starting point for our hike along Whitewater Creek into the canyon. Fortunately, the parking lot was not very crowded at this time of day and we had the trail almost to ourselves. Only a few hikers met us, who were probably on their way already earlier this morning.
First, it went over a well-developed footpath always along the small river easily uphill. The actual beginning of the Catwalk was then after a short time in front of us and enabled us over metal footbridges the access to the canyon. This section was breathtaking, as the walls of the canyon were already narrowed down to a few meters. In addition, the small river below us was getting wilder and wilder and was roaring its way through the canyon.
After leaving the narrow part of the canyon behind us, the gorge opened up and the path continued along the river. At first, we crossed the river over a bridge, but the further we went the more unpaved the path became and the river crossings became more difficult.
Further upstream we went then hardly on paved roads, but along the river where there were always some plats between the water and the rocks. However, the landscape became more and more beautiful, from different angles we had epic views into the canyon. Eventually there was no further to go, and warning signs indicated that a further ascent could be dangerous.
A further advance we did not want to risk, especially since our time here was limited and we still wanted to reach another highlight of our trip today. After a short break at a babbling waterfall at the end of the canyon and some snacks we brought with us, we finally made our way back.
With this short detour to Whitewater Canyon, we were well back at our camper. However, our final destination today was Arizona. With the impressions of New Mexico, we now started the drive to Wilcox, Arizona. There in the vicinity is a rather unknown nature reserve.
On the drive there we were looking forward to a special adventure, which should reward us for the somewhat boring drive along interstate 10 to Chiricahua National Monument.