Sunday, September 25, 2011

Spring Canyon Trail 721,Gila National Forest

This our fourth or fifth hike up the Spring Canyon Trail. It's easy to drive by the short side road that leads to trailhead. And I did it again. It's in between Railroad Canyon and Upper Gallinas with only a small brown sign indicating a forest trail.This is not nearly as popular a trail as others in the Emory Pass corridor,but it does look like it's been receiving more traffic lately including some horses,which I haven't seen evidence of before. There even looks like there's been some trail maintenance, which is highly unusual on all but the most popular trails in this section of the Gila. Perhaps it was the Backcountry Horsemen group doing it.This is a nice hike,mostly closed in by alders,boxelders, oaks and walnut along the narrow streambed. The stream was flowing in a few short stretches.Much of this creek flows on a contact between limestone and volcanic rock. There is abundant light colored limy mud and re-deposited calcite minerals in the stream course which gives it a different look from many of the streams in the area.There's a nice grove of mature aspens about 2 miles in,that I always enjoy seeing like old friends. We made it to the first saddle, then went through the gate to a second saddle, then down the trail a ways to where the views open up to the Sawyers Peak ridge and on out to the Mimbres Valley. We were tantalizingly close to the Silver Creek mining area,which I had wanted to get to back in the Spring.This hike is about 5.5 miles(if you make it to the Silver Creek Road) with about 1300 feet of elevation gain. I still would like to do a shuttle hike from Emory Pass along the Sawyers Peak trail, down the Silver Creek trail and then back up and over on the Spring Canyon trail. On a side note: there has been a corral built in one of our favorite dispersed campsites across the creek at Upper Gallinas. I guess it's alright.There had previously been no facilities for horsemen in this area of the forest.Who knows, I may use it some day if I ever learn to ride a horse.IMPORTANT UPDATE: This hike is within the some of the more severely affected areas of the Silver Fire burn area.  Flash floods have been frequent. Conditions are vastly altered.  Here are some photos from fall camping trip from 2007. As you can see, it was once a sweet little area to hike.

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