That's a Cane Cholla.
These are Rooms 1 & 2 of the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument. It was a mile hike (round trip) & a lot of fun (with a running creek soundtrack for the way up & a burnt pine hillside [forest fire a year ago] on the way down)...mostly though, the guys loved the lizards (and may have been fighting over who spotted the most). Oh, and these structures were home to the Mogollon (Pueblo ancestors) for not very many decades & those black ceilings you see are from fires...the coolest part for me was the likely smoke house/hide tanning slab. I should also mention that while dogs aren't allowed on this particular trail, there are free kennels at the trailhead. How amazing is that?
We drove down to the Gila National Forest on Saturday afternoon (after spending the morning hiking for awhile at the Tom Mays unit in El Paso's Franklin Mountains- the steep trail that leads to the cave) & camped out (Colleen & Jason- That tent and it wasn't just us, but the Dog too). Chris said it would dip down to about 45 degrees so we brought warm blankets...but it turns out it was about 10 degrees colder & the quilts didn't cut it. And we didn't take an air mattress along either (our last one bit the dust). No one got much sleep. As soon as we got back, I spent awhile on REI picking out sleeping bags and found one rated for 15 degrees with an inflatable insulated pad that slip into it. I'm not going camping again without it...so at nearly $500, that'll be awhile. I know that conventional wisdom holds that our ancestors had shorter life spans because their nutrition was lacking, but I'm pretty sure it's because they didn't have central heat & air or pillow top mattresses & the persistant sleep deprivation took them out early. Have a great week. Love, s
p.s. I could've taken more photos, but the forest isn't my ecosystem (as Chris would say about the desert).