Southwestern Guesthouses on 265 Acres
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|NEWS FROM THE CASITAS!
Michael's Gila Nature Blog Michael's been writing since January 2011. Check out his musings to see what's happening in the natural world of our 265-acre Nature Preserve. Lots of info on hiking the western side of the Gila National Forest and Gila Wilderness.
Land! And Trails! We've created the Casitas de Gila Nature Preserve
High-Speed Wireless Internet is available in each Casita
Geocaching! If you've never done it, give it a try! If you love it, then we've got several caches on our land waiting to be found!
|Michael's Nature Blog
If you've never stayed with us here at Casitas de Gila Guesthouses, Michael's Nature Blog will give you an idea of what goes on on our 265 acres, and on the western side of the Gila National Forest and Wilderness. If you have been a guest, we hope you will enjoy a glimpse into everyday happenings here. Check it out! And feel free to leave a comment or two to let us know what you think.
Casitas de Gila Guesthouses has expanded its presence in nature!
In 2008, 2009 and 2010 we purchased an additional 175 acres of land directly across Bear Creek from the Casitas, bringing our total acreage to 265 acres. Our new land includes floodplain, forested land that borders the floodplain, mountain land that borders State land on three sides, and land in First Valley (the other side of the two mountains across from the Casitas). With the purchase of this land, the magnificent view across Bear Creek from the Casitas that our guests have enjoyed since we opened in 1999, has been preserved, and our vision for creating a true Casitas de Gila Nature Preserve within this pristine and unique High Desert landscape is becoming a reality.
Since the purchase of our new land, Michael has been hard at work building new trails, so we now have 12 marked trails, with a total of over 6 miles of hiking and walking trails and paths that our guests can use for first-hand observation of the unique natural environment of Southwestern New Mexico. The trails traverse a variety of landscapes including shady, forested paths beneath ancient cottonwoods and sycamores along a free-running creek, old river terrace flats, hillside trails through juniper, piñon, mesquite and cactus, and high, mountain-top vistas of awesome magnificence.
The vision of creating a small nature preserve is something that Becky and Michael have been quietly working towards for many years. When we visited Southwestern New Mexico, it was the stunning beauty of the landscape that led us to settle here and develop Casitas de Gila Guesthouses. Over time we came to realize that in addition to offering a landscape of exceptional diversity, this small corner of the world was home to an equally exceptionally diverse and ever-changing variety of plants, birds, and other animals. The primary reason for this degree of diversity, of course, is the presence of the year-round running waters of Bear Creek, a true rarity in the arid southwest.
When we began the Casitas in 1999, we had 70 acres of land that bordered Bear Creek on the north and then crossed the creek on the south to adjoin a section (640 acres) of mountainous State land on the east. A few years later a purchase of 21 acres extended our lands to the north and east, and the first trail – a half-mile long self-guided nature trail – was established in the floodplain. By this time both we and our guests had begun to think of the Casitas as a very special place, a sort of stress-free zone where one could relax, forget about “the world out there,” and recharge by reconnecting with nature … a true nature getaway with all the modern conveniences!
A common phrase one often hears is “you can’t improve on nature.” Unless, of course, you were to add … MORE nature! So it was with great excitement and enthusiasm that we jumped on the opportunity in early 2008, and again in 2009 and 2010, to purchase additional acreage that would protect our view and extend our floodplain on both sides of the creek to almost 3/4 of a mile, and border State land on three sides. With this purchase, our once dimly-perceived vision of creating a small nature preserve has now become a reality. The Casitas de Gila Nature Preserve has been secured, for both our guests and, most importantly of all, for the plants and animals that make their home here.
We look forward to meeting you and sharing this special natural world with you while you are a guest at Casitas de Gila. Meanwhile, why not download a copy of our Trail Map and have a peak at the trails!
High-speed wireless Internet access is available to all guests at Casitas de Gila Guesthouses right in each Casita, at no additional charge. Our local phone company has made DSL internet available to us and we have set up a wireless network for those of our guests who just haven't managed to really escape work to enjoy our wonderful, stress-free location overlooking Bear Creek and the Gila Wilderness. We have no cell phone service at the Casitas because we're in a bit of a valley, but you can use Skype and Facetime over our wireless network to keep in touch with home or work.
Our Art Gallery is a wonderful addition to Casitas de Gila Guesthouses and has been delighting our guests since April 2003! Here you'll find Michael's oil paintings of a variety of scenes around the Casitas and along Bear Creek. Becky, in her free time, makes beautiful turquoise jewelry, as well as jewelry from other semi-precious gems.
We also have a selection of items from other artisans from near and afar, including pottery, whimsical hand-carved Tree Creatures and wood sculptures, incredible rock carvings, unique decorated gourds, copper and glass suncatchers, wool Zapotec rugs, practical pewter treasures, books on local history, note cards, handmade soaps, and t-shirts and caps featuring Mimbres designs. Our gifts start at $6, so there's sure to be a southwestern treasure for everyone.
Casita guests are welcome to browse the Art Gallery at any time. The public is invited to visit on weekends, or by calling ahead to make sure we're here.
Self-Guided Nature Trail
Our Nature Trail will introduce you to the dominent Piñon-Juniper Uplands Zone ecosystem that surrounds Casitas de Gila Guesthouses, along with the localized riparian ecosystem of Bear Creek. The self-guided loop trail, which Michael has made especially for our guests, is an easy half-mile in length and suitable for all ages and abilities. There's a trail guide available with lots and lots of information on what you'll see at each stop along the way.
They're here every year!
We have a hummingbird feeder up under the porch at every Casita, so you can watch these incredibly energetic little birds up close.
Black-chinned and broadtailed hummingbirds visit the Casitas every day from Spring into late Fall. By late Summer the rufus hummingbirds will arrive on their way back to Mexico for the winter.
During the summer months, guests at Casitas de Gila will also be delighted watching Bullock's Orioles, Scott's Orioles, and Hooded Orioles steal nector from the hummingbird feeers that hang on each Casita porch.
Winter guests need not feel slighted as there are plenty of birds at our feeders all Winter long, too: stellar's jays, scrub jays and pinyon jays, as well as doves, finches, cardinals, juncos and various other small birds. We also see hawks, eagles and ravens circling about, and an occasional great blue heron down in the creek below the Casitas. At night you might glimpse a nighthawk or an owl, and in the summer you'll hear the poor will and kingbird calling,
More Special Things … We've Got A Telescope!
|Becky & Michael O'Connor, Owners
CASITAS DE GILA GUESTHOUSES & ART GALLERY
50 Casita Flats Rd • PO Box 325 • Gila, New Mexico 88038
575-535-4455 • fax 575-535-4456
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UPDATED AUG. 2015 COPYRIGHT ©2016 CASITAS DE GILA, INC.