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.
Monday, August 6, 2012
Jicarilla Mountains- Lincoln National Forest
We camped out here one September weekend back in '05. Initially we had gone to the Three Rivers forest campground. There was some kind of boy scout outing going and the place was packed. We took the last spot, spent the night, and then vamoosed right after breakfast in search of less populated environs. We drove north on US 54 past Carrizozo , eventually turning to the east on NM 462 which turns into FR 72, the main thoroughfare of the Jicarilla Range. We found a side road, not far from the old Jicarilla Mine and set up camp. The Jicarillas are more like hills than mountains, especially when compared to nearby ranges like the Capitans and the Sacramentos. A few isolated peaks like Jack's Peak and Jicarilla Peak stand above,but don't even reach 8,000 feet in elevation. The grasses were high and wildflowers abundant in between ridge tops covered in juniper and pinon. Along the creeks or in the north facing shadows grew the occasional ponderosa pine. The cattle tank near our campsite was full of muddy water.We walked on an old road west toward Jack's Peak, but returned without climbing it. It's very easy to use up a lot of water on your dogs when there's no live stream for them to drink from and cool off in. Later, we explored around the old mine. A few trucks went by now and then,but for the most part we were splendidly alone in this expansive landscape. This was a nice place to camp,but we were there a little too early as it was still a bit too hot to be camping and hiking in such open terrain. On the way back we drove through the mostly abandoned town of Jicarilla and then through the once prospering gold mining town of White Oaks.