Monday, September 26, 2011

Tierra Blanca Creek and Trujillo Canyon-Gila National Forest



I've been back on Tierra Blanca Creek 3 or 4 times, although not very recently. The first time I was looking for trout. I had read in Rex Johnson's Fly Fishing Southern New Mexico that this small stream in the Southern Black Range( also known as the Mimbres Mountains)contained a population of rainbows.It was a good hike,but the fish were no more, although there were plenty of ornery looking cows drinking in the stream which had plenty of water. I probably made it almost to the divide that first trip,hoping I would find fish up high. I did see a very large blacktail rattler sitting on a rock right in the middle of the creek on my way back down. On subsequent visits I've come to the conclusion that this is a snaky place. My last visit I actually encountered someone coming in from the other side in a Jeep Cherokee, it looked liked he had run out of visible road a ways back. I told him he absolutely would be at the end of the drivable portion of his journey soon, because we had just had to climb around a 10 foot waterfall coming the other way. Trujillo Creek is reached starting from the Tierra Blanca trailhead,but heading north on an old road.Many old mines,an old trailer and a bread truck that someone managed to drive in here are encountered on the way. Trujillo usually has some water.We followed the old road along the creek,passing one old homestead. It eventually turns into a trail that weaves along the creek bed and then the trail is the creek bed. I'd like to have a look at Trujillo Park, a large, flat grassy area to the northeast of the creek crossing. The road to Tierra Blanca is off of NM 27 a few miles south of Hillsboro. The first part is a good county maintained road that passes several ranches.Watch for a small sign for FR 522 that takes off to the north. From here on the road is very rough and slow going. You're bound to see javelinas in the fall.IMPORTANT UPDATE: These hikes are within the Silver Fire burn area.Check with the Forest Service for conditions.

1 comment:

rexjohnsonjr said...

This creek used to get stocked by parties unknown at the very head, just off the Royal John Mine road. Dry years and the cattle have taken their toll. The stream never dried up completely as far as I know, but by 1999,or 2000, I forget, the trout population was down to one 15 inch hen and several dozen fry in one pool. Riparian vegetation very scanty. Cowed out. Every small stream in the Gila with heavy cow grazing (N. Negrito, Centerfire Creek,Deep Creek, Devil's Creek, Pueblo Creek, SA Creek, several others) eventually meets with this fate. North Seco Creek used to be comparable but now has recovered to a remarkable degree, thanks to long-overdue grazing curtailment. It is now ready to support Rio Grande cutts transplanted from Animas Creek. If Ted Turner bought the Cox-Basin Ranch and one or two others in the vicinity (now facing hard times), Tierra Blanca would come back as well....