A blog about exploring the natural areas of New Mexico focusing on but not limited to Dona Ana, Luna, Otero, Sierra, Grant, Lincoln,Socorro and Catron counties.
Friday, August 10, 2012
First Trip to Wolf Hollow- Gila National Forest
We first came out here right after school let out in early June, 2005. The campground was simple enough: five sites with fire rings and picnic tables around a small loop with a vault toilet in the center.There is no water. Juniper and ponderosa pine cover the uplands here,but much of the area is open grassland. We were dismayed to discover the bones,with some flesh still attached,of at least one elk scattered about within a few feet of our campsite. Not the kind of thing one wants when camping at a place called Wolf Hollow. Most likely they were left there by hunters during the previous winter.That first day we did hike up the Black Mountain trail (FT 773). This pleasant forested hike that follows Wolf Hollow creek has an pretty easy grade initially,but steepens once it leaves canyon. The creek had water intermittently. We made it up to a saddle that had views to the south. A man on horseback warned us that he had seen wolves in the vicinity. We probably wouldn't have thought too much of it, but we had our dogs with us, and as it was late in afternoon anyway, we forewent climbing to the peak with it's fire lookout and headed back down. Every evening we heard coyotes singing as the sun went down. We would walk down the gravel entrance road and see elk in the grasses. The second day we drove out on FR 150, parked, and took an off trail route down a side canyon to Beaver Creek. Initially, the only water we saw was collected in pools in the bends of the creek,but eventually as the stream straightened out a bit there was a continuous flow. We walked the serpentine canyon down to the spring, where tiny bass scurried about. The private property boundary starts almost immediately after, so we turned and headed back. Beaver Creek, and nearby Taylor Creek have both carved substantial canyons that seem out of proportion to their meager perennial flow. Our last day we did a hike along a road and trail in Christie Canyon(FT 206). It was a pretty, if unremarkable, area with springs and livestock ponds in a grassy semi-open valley. The highlight of the day was actually seeing a wolf in the road on the way there. We stopped the truck. The wolf stopped.We watched it and it watched us and then it was on its way. While doing our hike, we were a little paranoid about seeing it again, and we did see a coyote, but the wolf appeared to be long gone. This was a great introductory trip to this part of the Gila.