Anthropologists and historians have long debated the location of the Garden of Eden. Theories abound but surely God’s graceful touch has anointed the Magical Mimbres Valley with many Eden-like qualities. Its narrow strip of fertile land framing the Mimbres River invited settlers from the first agriculturally oriented Mimbreno Indians to the Spanish explorers to the present day seekers who discover a treasure more enduring than the Seven Cities of Gold sought by the conquistadors.
Over the centuries the Mimbres Country has yielded to all the dreams of the American West. Ranching, farming, mining and lumber ventures have thrived here and an encounter with a valley native can reveal this down-home essence, and the home spun tales and stories, told with a twinkle in the eye, can keep you guessing and wondering if all this whimsy and magic can be true. Although New Mexico’s history goes back a scant 100 years to statehood, the old timers in the valley are a touchstone to the last remaining vestiges of the old wild, wild west.
The magical river itself, named for the Spanish word for the enormous willow trees that hang their feathery branches along its banks, issues from the high country of the Gila and Also Leopold Wilderness, a hundred square miles of pristine back country. There’s enough hunting, fishing, hiking, camping, riding and bird watching here to fill several lifetimes. Deer, elk, bear, lion, turkey and javalinas are found here in abundance and the Mimbres River is situated on the migratory flyway of hundreds of bird species. The steep mountains and rolling hills force the river on a slow and meandering course toward its disappearance into the Chihuahuan Desert north of Deming. Don’t let the sparkling beauty lull you in to forgetting that the river can turn into a muddy torrent, capable of uprooting those mighty trees and depositing them far downstream. It is a fickle beauty that can turn on a moment.
Today the magical valley offers a charming blend of past and present. The riverside is punctuated by traditional Hispanic family orchards, small scale organic farming operations, berry patches and graceful vineyards. The visitor can sample fresh home baked bread, taste a glass of local wine or soak in one of the healthful hot springs found throughout the area.
The Mimbres Valley Heritage Site is found in the middle of the valley, located on ground once occupied by the native Mimbreno Indians. It complements the world famous Gila Cliff Dwellings to the north and is dedicated to the preservation of the pit houses, burial mounds and distinctive, impressionistic black on white pottery of the Classical Mimbreno Period. There is great effort being expended to bring these few remaining, fragile and irreplaceable sites under protection.
The valley is known more for what it gives than what it receives and the folks who live here now respond to the natural beauty and fascinating history with a sense of opportunity, freedom, choice and hope. Live styles vary from hardworking farmers to the skilled artisans to the discerning retirees, this magical valley beckons to everyone. Simple foods, close families and good neighbors form the foundation of happiness here. We invite you to come for a visit. We invite you to stay.
For additional information go to www.magicalmimbresvalley.com.