On a winter road trip to enjoy the Arizona snow at Hannagan Meadow Lodge, Alan and I stopped to take in this scene of the Gila National Forest and the Gila Wilderness. We were driving north on NM Highway 180 that skirts the edge of eastern Arizona and western New Mexico, not the usual route for Tucsonans traveling to the White Mountains. But you know us, we like those off-the-beaten-path experiences. I’m sorry to say that this has been the extent of our adventures in the Gila Wilderness. It’s time for us to go back to check out the Gila Cliff Dwellings (closed for repair through late December 2011), hike a day trail and soak in one of the many hot springs. Did you know that the Gila Wilderness was named the world’s first designated wilderness area in June 1924?