The Southwest United States is filled with ruins left by ancient civilizations. I have long been fascinated with cave dwellings,petroglyphs, and cliff dwellings. There is something about walking through ancient ruins that brings mypresent moments connecting with the past as each footstep re-traces over what feels like Sacred Land. I know that as I walk and journey where prior animals and past cultures have trekked I am connecting to those incredible beings. I can almost hear and smell the campfires and ritualistic dances of times gone by as I climb over stone artifacts across ancient plots of soil. It is my Sacred Honor to walk through ruins of the Ancient Ones without speaking for in doing so I am taken back to the knowledge of past human species who knew connecting to the elements and the wilderness contained wisdom unlike any book or internet available to our world today. The storytelling and history of those civilizations that lived long before us is reflected in observing the pottery, baskets, and tools that were left behind. I visited the Gila Cliff Dwellings which is accessible through the Gila National Forest, a wonderful adventure in itself! The National Forest is a terrain of unspoiled beauty ranging from deep canyons to forest covered hills and rugged mountains. The wilderness called me through mesquite, Apache pines, cottonwoods, and willow trees. I had to keep pausing by the roadside to breathe in their majestic towering callings taking me back to times long forgotten. On the way to the Cliff Dwellings I was invited by the awe-inspiring scenic banks of the Gila River that literally took my breath away! As I stood hanging on the railing of a bridge overlooking the glorious waters, a young woman and her child were equally mesmerized by the beauty as they stood below me at the riverbank. I called out to her and we shared a momentas we all three smiled at this serene view! Once I arrived at the Cliff Dwellings I crossed a bridge and hiked the well traveled path across several footbridges up wooden ladders into natural caves of the Mogollon Culture who lived here in the 1280's. The openness of the ancient dwellings felt like a comfortable arena of safety as I imagined what their life must have been. The Mogollons as well as the Anasazi's disappeared from these areas so long ago. Yet my connection with their existence as I reflected during my visit upon their lands was a reverent piece of my New Mexico travels. I could feel their presence within my grateful heart and soul for having the opportunity to know them on some intangible level.