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.