Monday, September 26, 2011
South Percha Creek, Gila National Forest
The old road down to South Percha Creek is 3 miles west of Kingston on NM 152. I can't be any more specific than that. The turnout looks just like any of the other turnouts along the myriad of bends as the road winds its way to Emory Pass. I've driven right by when I was trying really hard to be on the look out for it. Just watch your odometer and then look for gap in the shrubs( mountain mahogany I believe,but don't hold me to it). It may be easier to find coming from the other direction if you have a passenger who is diligently looking over the edge. They may be able to spot the road and tell you to slow down. Anyway it's a steep and shadeless trek down to the bottom. You'll remember both those adjectives on the way back up. Thankfully it's a pretty short as well. At the bottom is the confluence of South Percha( on the right) and Drummond Canyon. Both usually hold some water. Old boards and assorted mining debris are littered about,including a sizable cast iron boiler a short ways up Drummond. There are also several mines both upstream and downstream from this point on South Percha . I collected some nice azurite encrusted rocks from one of the tailings piles on one visit. There are many good sized bigtooth maple trees down in these canyons that turn brilliant red in October. It's a pretty easy place to get a dose of New Mexico fall color. Traces of paths going up Drummond Canyon and down South Percha are just unofficial use trails that don't go anywhere,just as far as your exploring wants to take you. Although if you amble far enough down South Percha you will hit private ranch property eventually.Going upstream on South Percha appears to be a bit rougher. I haven't explored very far up the canyon, but erosive forces have considerably widened the channel and scraped it down to bedrock in the lower end. At one time this place was obviously bustling with activity,but now is forgotten and remote despite being barely out of earshot of the cars negotiating the twisting NM 152.IMPORTANT UPDATE: This hike is within the Silver Fire burn area and may be significantly altered from the time that this blog was written (June,2013).