Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Sawyer's Peak, Gila National Forest

Near the intersection of FT 79 and FT146

View from the Sawyer's Peak Trail looking northwest
 I've hiked this trail many times, most recently in 2010, but my first time  here  was probably back 1998 or 1999. I've only gone all the way to the peak once or twice. One of the first times I hiked here we got caught in a  July thunderstorm with lightning striking all around us. The temperature dropped from the 80's to the 50's as the rain blew in. So in the summer try to wrap it up early. To reach the summit, it's necessary to leave FT 79 on a well trod path that  heads west and then loops around to the top. This was the first time we saw the thousands of ladybugs that are resident on top of many New Mexico peaks. They were thickly coating the rocks and shrubs all around. I 've seen other people mention this phenomenon, but I've never seen an explanation for it. I remember reading the latest entry in the log that was kept in a jar on the peak, " charged by javelinas in the fog. . ." This trail along with the Hillsboro Peak trail( the continuation of trail 79 on the other side of NM 152 at Emory Pass) are probably the two most popular trails in the  Black Range and I would guess  some of the most popular in the whole Gila. I recall encountering a mountain biker on one early trip,  but on most days( especially if it's not a Saturday or Sunday) you're not likely to see anyone. Several times we've just stopped near the intersection with the Silver Creek trail( FT 146) and picked ( and eaten!) the raspberries that grow in  a substantial bramble there. Once we headed down the Silver Creek trail. It's a steep descent through a very lush area that reminded us more of the Sacramentos near Cloudcroft.  I'm still looking to use this route to do a shuttle hike using the Spring Canyon trail to bring me out on NM 152 near Upper Gallinas. IMPORTANT UPDATE: This trail was at ground zero in the Silver Fire. It  may be closed or non-existent. Many hazards are present.June, 2013).

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