The Chronicles Of Grant County

Turkey Creek

turkey creek hot springs douglas lemoine march 24 2006 65 Turkey Creek Hot Springs. (The photograph was provided courtesy of Douglas LeMoine, March 24 2006.)

                         

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving – a day when likely thousands of people in Grant County will celebrate with a dinner of turkey and other seasonal foods. Some will reflect on the year past and give thanks for the people and circumstances of their lives.

Turkeys have been part of our American Thanksgiving for generations.

But turkeys are also part of the natural landscape in Grant County and throughout New Mexico.

"The wild turkey is the largest game bird in the United States," according to a statement from the New Mexico Department of Game & Fish. "New Mexico has three sub-species of wild turkey: Merriam's, Rio Grande, and Gould's."

The range of Merriam's wild turkey covers about half of Grant County. Much of the northern part of the county and areas just to the west of Silver City are home to this type of turkey.

This animal has given its name to a number of geographic features in Grant County.

Turkey Creek flows into the Gila River. Separately, Little Turkey Creek flows into Little Creek which then flows into the West Fork of the Gila River.

Alongside portions of Turkey Creek is the aptly-named Turkey Creek Road.

Also alongside portions of these streams are sections of two trails that bear the "Turkey Creek" name. According to a statement from the Gila National Forest, "this trail [also known as "Trail #155"] has a great diversity of scenic beauty and ecosystems including rugged desert mountain, riparian habitat, and alpine forests. Two and a half miles of this trail, from White Creek Cabin to the junction with Trail #153, were logged in the summer of 2017."

"Trail 155 can best be described broken into two segments," the statement from the Gila National Forest continued. "The first segment is 17 miles long beginning from the trail head at the mouth of Turkey Creek to the saddle between Turkey and Little Creek. Except for a three mile section that follows a ridge from Skeleton Canyon to Sycamore Canyon, the trail stays in the canyon bottom. The vegetation is lush and the creek forms many pools and small waterfalls. This segment is difficult for pack animals."

The statement goes on by noting that "the second segment of the trail, about 11 miles, is from the saddle at the upper end of Turkey Creek to the West Fork of the Gila River. This segment crosses over the Diablo Range and into McKenna Park. The park is a gentle sloping terrain of old-growth ponderosa pine. On the…[topographical maps] this segment of [Trail] #155 is called the 'Little Creek Trail.'"

Within a remote area of Turkey Creek are the Turkey Creek Hot Springs.

Even in the midst of the Winter, people have found the waters in these hot springs to be warming to the touch. And maybe even a hint of romance.

These springs even have garnered national attention through the years. In February of 1999, news reports detailed that The Wilderness Society named Turkey Creek Hot Springs one of the top ten spots for romance in the wild.

Whether you enjoy eating turkey at the dinner table or watching wild turkeys roam the wilderness, have a Happy Thanksgiving.

happy thanksgiving jill wellington pixabay october 31 2021 25(The photograph was provided courtesy of Jill Wellington through Pixabay, October 31, 2021.)

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© 2022 Richard McDonough

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