“First time here?” he inquired affably. We told him it was our fourth visit to Silver City, but our first time on the trails above the town. “This is one of my favorite places,” he said. “I come here several times a week to play my guitar in the hills and hunt for amethysts. I’ll show you if you like.” As we studied the map, he started up the trail, strumming a Spanish tune on his guitar. We followed behind, intrigued by the music and his tale of amethysts.
The Many Treasures Of Silver City
Sure enough, about a mile up the trail he veered off into the scrub, reached beneath a large sagebrush, and dragged out a heavy maul he had hidden there. With a few swift blows, he laid open several large rocks, exposing lavender amethyst crystals within. “Take whatever you like,” he offered. Obviously, traveling with a rock collection isn’t practical for our lifestyle, but we couldn’t resist picking up a couple of amethyst chunks.
Silver City is awash with colorful landscapes, art, buildings, and people. The sky is cobalt, the perfect backdrop for the sagebrush and mesquite-covered hills. Vividly painted doors and windows adorn adobe buildings (many in various stages of decrepitude). Home to a disproportionate number of artists and galleries, the town has also somehow become a mecca for foodies—which makes no sense at all, given that it’s a long way from any major or even minor metropolis.
Gourmet Adventures In Silver City
Colorful locals (in addition to our amethyst benefactor) include Jake, the owner/chef at Café 1zero6. He sports full sleeve tattoos, decorates with Buddhist/Hindu/Bollywood flair, and cooks delicious creative fusion cuisine three times a week. We plan our visits to Silver City so that we can be sure to have a meal there (the small restaurant is open only on weekends).
Another evening, we had a unique dinner at The Curious Kumquat, crafted of local wild foods from the nearby Gila Wilderness. Our six-course tasting menu included artfully presented and delicious offerings made with spring cattails, acorns, watercress, wild mushrooms, amaranth, nettles and more, along with locally raised meats and vegetables. (As of 2023, neither of the restaurants exists. The owners have moved on to other pursuits. But knowing Silver City, other interesting options have arisen.)
Hiking Around Silver City
Day Trip To The Gila Wilderness
We also made a day trip through the Mimbres Valley to the Gila Wilderness. Our plan included hiking to the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument and to Lightfeather Hot Springs. It’s a three-mile round trip easy hike on the Gila River that involves two river crossings.
We enjoyed a relaxing and fun week in Silver City filled with all kinds of colorful adventures. We’ll be back—there’s always more to explore, and there’s no telling what kinds of unexpected treasures await us on the trail (and in the restaurants).
Where We Stayed
This visit, we stayed at Manzano’s RV Park, just a few miles outside of town. It’s a small, family-run park, with large sites and attractive desert landscaping. Full-hookups, excellent free internet, good Verizon; $30 per night. It’s very homey, with a house on the property that serves as the clubhouse/laundry/bathhouse.