Led by Double E Ranch Staff member, Mark Rinsler,
or another qualified Double E Ranch Staff member, you'll
travel by horseback from Ranch Headquarters to explore and experience the majestic beauty of the Gila Region: creeks, canyons, meadows and mesas, wildlife, plants and Native Ruins.
An avid horseman, Mark is also extremely knowledgeable about the history, flora and wildlife in the area. When he is not in the saddle exploring
new horse trails, he is out hiking
through the canyons and valleys of the Gila Region in his quest to find hidden Native American sites. There are several interesting sites easily reached along your journey. With a degree
in cultural anthropology and a Masters in Journalism, Mark is
relentless in his desire to learn about the history of the Old
West and share it with you, the world of nature in the Southwest and Native American
Culture in the Gila Wilderness region.
will reveal some of the most
stunning wilderness vistas imaginable! Uncover and
explore the history of ancient
Native American village
sites located along Bear Creek. Your horse will be steady and sure-footed,
willing to carry you there and beyond. Gila Wilderness Expeditions uses horses which are
seasoned and safe in the mountains and rocky, rugged terrain of
southwestern New Mexico and the Gila National Forest Region.
The Gila Wilderness and Gila National Forest was the home of the
ancient people, the Mimbres.
yourself a glimpse of the homes and lives of the people of the Mogollon culture who lived in the Gila Wilderness Region from the 1280s
through the early 1300s. The surroundings probably look today
very much like they did when the cliff dwellings were inhabited.
It is surrounded by the Gila National Forest and lies at the
edge of the Gila Wilderness, the nation's first designated
wilderness area. This designation means that the wilderness
character of the area will not be altered by the intrusion of
roads or other evidence of human presence. The area in
which you will explore is now known as The Double E Ranch.
the Apaches, the region was home to the Mimbrenos, an advanced
pre-historic Indian culture. Highly artistic, they are known for
their exquisite black-on-white pottery featuring nature
motifs. The Mimbres made their homes farming and hunting
along the Gila River and Bear Creek, living in pit houses,
shallow caves and small cliff dwellings. Earlier Indian cultures
most certainly lived in the area.
Limited evidence of hunting by the earliest
inhabitants (9500-6000BC) has been found in several highland
areas. Widespread evidence of the Archaic Culture, which is
considered part of the Cochise Culture dating from 6000 BC to
300 AD, has been found in the region. The sites you will
visit are all located on Double E Ranch and privately protected.
Valley region is historically significant primarily because of
the Mimbres Indians who lived here almost a thousand years ago.
The Mimbres people are an enigma to archeologists, because they
can only speculate about their beginnings and especially about
their ultimate fate. The Mimbres culture was relatively
isolated in southwestern New Mexico and eastern Arizona. It
reached its zenith about C.E. 1050 in the Mimbres river valley
20 miles east of Silver City, New Mexico. Resource stress (sound familiar?) caused by overpopulation, drought and pressure
(perhaps) from the emerging Chichimec Casas Grande power base,
100 miles to the south, put them
out of business by 1130 C.E. They appear to have been a peaceful bunch with regular contact with other contemporaneous
Southwestern cultures (Anasazi,
Mogollon Tularosa, Hohokam and the Chichimec trading cultures).
believe the Mimbres culture evolved from the Mogollon culture,
which itself possibly evolved from the Anasazi and/or the
Hohokam cultures. During the Mimbres phase, the move was made
from pit houses, to semi-pit houses, and then to above ground
pueblos. The dead were often buried under the floor inside the
house, with a pot covering their head. The big puzzle is what
happened to the Mimbres people. It is speculated that the
original Mimbrenos moved away, and were integrated into other
cultures, possibly to the south. It is not likely that they were
driven from the area by warfare, as evidence points to an exodus
extending over a period of years.
Mimbres pottery is the
most famous artifact of the Mimbres culture. Pottery was made in
plain and corrugated brown clay, polychrome, black and red, and
the famous black and white. The black and white pottery usually
depicted animals encountered in daily life, daily routines, or
geometric designs. Cranes, turkeys, fish, mosquitoes or
hummingbirds, small mammals, and humans often grace Mimbres
pottery. The expertise of the Mimbres potters is
considered superior to that of any other Native American
potters. A characteristic of pots found associated with a burial
is that of the "kill hole". A piece was broken out of the
bottom of the pot. It is postulated that this might have been to
release the soul of the deceased. Approximately
10,000 ceramic bowls have been unearthed and easily that many
remain buried in hundreds of small ruins located where ever
water was regularly found.