Wednesday, November 14, 2007

West Red Canyon- Cibola National Forest

I knew I had a cold. I was determined to go camping anyway, and we did. We made the trek to West Red Canyon in the San Mateo Mountains for the Labor Day weekend.We arrived late in the day. I had heard rumors that the Forest Service road had been improved since our last trip here 2 years ago. They were not true.It may have gotten worse. On the that last trip our trailer's interior had endured a serious road testing-and failed. I was not eager to repeat the procedure.But here we were: sun setting and ever hopeful that the 2 steep stream crossings before our old camping spot, had miraculously improved.They hadn't. And with our new relatively fuel efficient,but less powerful truck,just getting up the second one took on the aspect of a 50-50 proposition. Worse yet, our old spot was taken. We continued on through ruts,stones and mud,but luckily found a perfectly acceptable spot in short order. It was the opening of elk bow hunting season, and the holiday weekend, so there were many more people there than you would normally see.Still, it only amounted to four or five camps set-up over the 10 miles or so of canyon road on Cibola National Forest property.We didn't do any strenuous hikes. Just a few rambles along the road or the creek bed. It rained( and hailed we would discover) hard further back in the canyon,but we just had a few intermittent showers at our camp. I did a lot of sneezing and resting; watching chipmunks and bridled titmice in the little oak tree at our camp.The stream bed back in the forest had a phenomenon I had never seen before. Pine debris was piled up like a curb on either side, underneath was was a solid mass of half inch hailstones,insulated from melting in the heat of the day.We had a few more parts shake loose on the way back,but we did scout out a nice camping spot where we could avoid the treacherous crossing altogether.

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