Second trip to Silver City in three weeks. Last time I had hoped to get some hiking in, but it was windy, chilly and threatening rain, so just hung around town. This time things were fine, so I wanted to do this hike again (last in 2009). Seemed harder and longer, but I am older, out of condition, and not motivated anymore. Nevertheless, it was fun. The first thing I wanted to do is see if the flamingos were still at the lookout. When I made it to the peak they were nowhere to be seen. The tower was manned, and after awhile the fellow invited me up. Of course, the first thing I asked him was, " What happened to the flamingos?" He said, "Don't worry, they will be back." We had thought their presence there was due to a woman's touch, but that turns out not to be so. One of the male lookouts assigned there is responsible for them (as well as the flower boxes that are hung on the railing of the ladder steps to the cab. That fellow was not on duty, and when he is away he takes those with him. Why? Turns out the some of his fellow Forest Service workers don't like them, so he takes them with him for safe keeping.
Indeed, the fellow on duty said that if he put them in the storage shed up there, he would burn them
Anyway, we had a nice long conversation, and I asked him if Philip Conners was still a lookout over at Hillsboro Peak, and he said yes. (I picked up Philip's latest book, "All the Wrong Places" at Gila Hike and Bike in Silver City last trip).
I thanked him for inviting me up, then made my way back down the mountain. On my way back to town I passed through Pinos Altos and saw that the well known Buckhorn Saloon and Opera House was open and stopped in for a beer and look around. I had not been in there in about 20 years, so that was fun.