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.