2 On The Road Blog

After 12 years of full-time rving, we've sold our truck and trailer but we're still traveling. Email us at wowpegasus@hotmail.com if you would like to contact us.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The Catwalk of Whitewater Canyon

NM highway 174, known as Catwalk Road, is a skinny, paved road to the Catwalk. There are many water crossing but this is the only one that had water in it.
The view from the parking lot.
Gold and silver were discovered here by James C. Cooney, a soldier stationed at Fort Bayard, just east of Silver City. Cooney could do nothing

to develop his discoveries until he was discharged from the service in 1875. He then organized a party to prospect the district.
Among them was John Lambert who found rich gold and silver ore just above Whitewater Creek. The mill lasted only about 10 years. About 1908 the mill and
pipeline were dismantled and the materials were sold. The canyon was left undisturbed until the mid-1930's when the Civialian Conservation Corp (CCC) rebuilt the
Catwalk as a recreation attraction for the Gila National Forest. The Forest Service has rebuilt the Catwalk several times after devastating floods have taken their toll.
Notice the prickly pear cactus growing out of the side of the cliff.
In 1978, 1 mile of the historic Catwalk pipeline route was designated a National Recreation Trail (NRT).
We have no idea what this is. The door has a lock on it and a pipe runs into the stone from the side.
About 34 million years ago violent volcanic eruptions caused pyroclastic (pyro = fire, clastic = fragment) flows. Instead of a tall mountain with one eruption
chamber, there were several magma chambers spread over many miles. The volcanoes collapsed to form the Bursum caldera - a large, bowl shaped depression
that stretches from the Catwalk to Gila Cliff Dwellings, some 30 miles away. the pryoclastic flows that make up the rocks in
Whitewater Canyon are called Cooney Tuff or volcanic rhyolite. This basic igneous rock was changed by pressure
and heat from volcano action, earthquakes and movement of land. Faults formed in the rock masses. Water followed these faults and created this slot canyon.
There have been more than 15 major floods in the canyon in the last 40 years. The catwalk is suspended about 10 feet (depending on water levels) above
Whitewater Creek.

Pipe bridge.

Notice how the water carved the lower rock into a "C" shape? The water no longer falls on this rock until the water level raises.

We just about stepped on this dude. It's some species of caterpillar in the genus Automeris. These are giant silkmoths.
The falls at the swimming pool.

The steps down to the pool.
These 55 steps along the trail had only 2" of drop between each one.

This iron bridge was flown into the canyon by helicopter in three separate sections in the 1980's.
View upstream from the helicopter bridge.
Some of the boulders on the canyon floor were huge.
You see remnants of the late 1800's gold and silver mining in a lot of places along the canyon. This was a support for the pipe.
The suspension bridge near the end of the Catwalk trail.
The end of the rail. So we turned around and headed back.
Under the suspension bridge you could really see how the water has carved the rocks.
Nolan thinks he's the helicopter that brought in the helicopter bridge.
Love how they used two pipeline supports from the 1800's to surround the steps up to the helicopter bridge.

This part of the trail to the catwalk is handicap accessible. Notice how they used rock bolts to stabilized the cliff face.
This is just like the bug that climbed Nolan's leg at the Gila Cliff Dwellings. It's called a Pleasing Fungas Beetle, scientific name Gibbifer californicus

This is a variety of Big Legged Bugs. Yeah, I know that sounds like I am making it up but honestly, I'm not. I'll keep looking online to see if I can identify it.
I think this is a Fendler Globemallow flower.

More flowers for me to try to identify.

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