Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Bar Canyon,Soledad Canyon- Organ Mountains

I heard a strange sound on the Bar Canyon trail. A few steps later I saw the water flowing across the trail amidst the fire blackened shrubbery. This area was in an extreme drought,which culminated in a fire in June. In July the rains came in a big way and didn't stop until September.The day I visited the normally very dry creek was running at least 1/2 mile distant from the waterfall at the trails end.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Dripping Springs Fire- Organ Mountains

I hiked the Dripping Springs Trail to have a first hand look the burn area from the fire in June. It burned mostly in grass and shrubland,but it did run up some small canyons burning oak and juniper thickets as well. It came quite close to some of the the historic buildings,but none were damaged. The grass will be coming back in short order.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Aker Lake- Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest, Arizona

Las Cruces was about to have " the hottest week of the year." Highs were going to be around 105. So we took off for the high country of eastern Arizona. We camped at KP Cienega, a very nice little campground tucked into a spacious meadow just below the ridgeline at about 9,000 feet. Highs were around 75 for the week. Skies were blue, and there was only the vaguest threat of rain on one afternoon. The streams were very low.The headwater branch of KP Creek was ok,but the upper reaches of Hannagan Creek, Grant Creek and several others were dry or just the merest of trickles. I did do some fishing at a little pond called Aker Lake. It was pretty low and mossy as well,but when the sun went  below the trees, the rainbows came to life and the action was fast. I've only fished for stocked trout maybe once before,but it seemed to me these had a lot of fight in them,contrary to what I had heard.It would have been great to keep a few for dinner but it was catch and release only.They are trying to reestablish a fish population, after draining the pond dry in a firefighting effort last year. It was so easy hooking one rainbow after another that actually got my fill of the fishing pretty quickly. We also did a drive around Escudilla Mountain on good gravel roads. Saw elk and a bear.We did some hiking as well.There were many,many downed trees on the three trails we chose, making even short dayhikes seem like a workout.They would've been really rough to negotiate with a 30-40 pound backpack.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Percha Box

I haven't been blogging ,because we haven't been adventuring much.We camped in the Black Range in April,but our little dog was in no mood to hike after the first day.We did go to the Percha Box below Hillsboro on Percha Creek. It's a beautiful spot and well worth the short hike(about 5 miles round trip).  The walking is on  good dirt roads except for the last little rocky pitch down to the creek.There is a permanent stretch of the frequently intermittent stream here and the BLM has fenced out the livestock,so there are willows and cress, and even small fish in the creek(Rio Grande Suckers, I believe). It's a real oasis in the otherwise bone dry desert. Best times of year here are  early spring and late fall. It's almost completely without shade until you get to the creek itself. If you go in the summer be sure to wet yourself completely down in the creek for the return trip. You'll be glad you did.I fished Sapillo Creek and the Mimbres River in May. I caught the very large rainbow that had gotten away from me in the Fall at Sapillo. Another jumbo tore my off my fly and about a foot of line after a painfully slow approach,where I ended up casting while wedged in a clump of willows.My first fish on the Mimbres was a nice brown trout.I had never caught a brown on the Mimbres before, and was doubtful of the rumors that they were there. Well there's at least one. The water was low on both streams, making the fishing difficult. The Mimbres had fish everywhere, although many of these were suckers. Still, many were trout, so if we get decent summer rains the fishing should be good come September and October.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Burro Peak, CDT Trail-Gila National Forest

We camped at City of Rocks and drove over to the Gila National Forest to hike a section of the CDT trail.We went in on FR 136 by the Tyrone Mine. Shortly after the Gila National Forest sign,there is a very small CDT sign indicating the trailhead on the left. We passed it the first time.There is plenty of room for parking and camping at the trailhead. We started up the trail,which initially is an old road. In just a short ways,we had to go through a small gate in the cattle fence. The trail has has frequent metal or wood CDT signs and follows the stream bottom of Deadman Canyon for the first couple of miles.There was sporadic water in the stream and one spring,but it seems likely that this hike could be bone dry in early summer. It was typical mid-elevation Gila terrain: juniper,pine and live oaks. Eventually, just past a rather, steep rocky section, the trail turns sharply to the left, crossing the stream for the last time, and sidehilling to the east in and out of a couple of small drainages.There was still several inches of snow in this section and the walking was somewhat dicey on the now much narrower trail. We switchbacked up , coming out on the gentle lower slopes of the peak. There is flat area here, perfect for camping, with fantastic views to the northwest, encompassing the rugged Diablo Range and the snow-capped Mogollons.The trail wound lazily upwards now, through widely spaced pines. We reached a gate in a fence. We were on Burro Peak, although there weren't many views.Through the gate a few hundred feet, there is a pile of rocks with brass marker sunk into the bedrock, indicating that this is indeed Burro Peak, of course we could tell because there was nowhere higher to go. There are a few views here, through the trees, off to the west.This is nice hike. I'm sure the cloudless, nearly 70 degree, February day aided in that perception. We were hiking in short sleeves. Our two old dogs made it without much trouble. It's close to 8 miles round trip,with about 1800 feet of elevation gain.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Caballo Mountains

This road is visible from I- 25. From that vantage point it looks cut into the side of a cliff.
We haven't done as much desert hiking this winter as I'd like. A brief stroll in the Goodsight Mountains, a walk at the Mesilla Valley Bosque Park,  and a hike to Long/Finley Canyon at the southern end of the Organs are about all we've done.We camped at the Riverside Campground at Caballo Lake State Park last weekend. We did another one in the Caballos that was steep and tough( like most of them are). We hiked part on old roads, part cross country( which was tough on our dogs) up to one of the many short canyons incised in the massive cliff faces on the west side of the Caballo Range. Just before reaching the gate in the photo there was a side road that goes up the cliffside, I presume to an old mine up there,but we just didn't have the energy to explore it.We did go past the gate where the road deteriorates rapidly. We could see mine tailings and a road curving around to the south on the north  facing cliffs.We've now hiked Apache, Burbank, Batcave/Flordillo and this most recent un-named one just to north of Bat Cave Canyon.