Gila Impressions

Middle Fork Gila Dawn

I shot these images back in March on a backpack into the Middle Fork of Gila river in southern New Mexico. These was a new portion of the Gila Wilderness for me, and one I’ve long desired to see. The scenery certainly did not disappoint: the Middle Fork canyon is a beautiful, twisted, intricate collection of dramatically eroded spires, pinnacles and gullies of volcanic tuff, with a fine wilderness stream at the bottom. The river was running very dark with runoff fro last year’s fires, but water in the desert is always a delight, murky or not. Add in a fine diverse riparian ecosystem of ponderosas, oaks, junipers, sycamores and much else, plus excellent backpacking camps, and you have a real wilderness paradise.

But just because a landscape is beautiful doesn’t mean it’s easy to photograph. The Middle Fork was a very tough nut to crack with a camera, and I don’t really feel like I even scratched the surface. The abundant vegetation makes unobscured views very hard to find, and lots of unfriendly plants on loose crumbly slopes below cliffs make it very hard to explore. And the light was not cooperative, with nothing but a slight overcast resulting in a washed out sky. What I really want is a solid week in there to wander at leisure and look for all the hidden intimate scenes at every time of day. Another time, I hope! Meanwhile, here are a few impressions of the area for the curious.

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