Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Mount Sedgwick, Zuni Mountains- Cibola National Forest

View of Mount Taylor from Mount Sedgwick
















After getting the tent and camp set-up, it was only 4:30 which left us plenty of time for the short hike up to Mount Sedgwick, the highest point in the Zuni Mountains. There are two roads across FR 480, from the Ojo Redondo campground that can be used access the peak. One, to the west, runs by an old cabin and has a small sign that is marked 504.  We, because we didn't see the official road at the time, took the other, to the east and closer to the campground entrance. This path sees little use,  has no sign, and is not on maps,but  after one detour where we went right when we should have gone left, it eventually hooked up with the numbered road and brought us to the base of the peak.
 Our little trail/ road had been pleasant hiking through a pine and fir forest. The ground was littered with milky, gray and rusty quartz pebbles and stones that had weathered out of the rough textured  orange and gray granitic rock that cropped out at  odd angles and shapes along the way. I understood now why there is peak in this range called Quartz Hill.




 It was just little warm tackling the switchbacks up to the top. Fires in recent years have left Sedgwick and other nearby rounded peaks mostly open with just a few surviving pines. We made it though, and now enjoyed some shade, cool breezes and spectacular views to Mount Taylor, the redrock mesas to the north, and the blanket of green pine forest to the south. The rocky mountaintop has some old foundations and USGS medallion embedded in the rock at the east end. It was so nice to be up there, we lingered a bit, eating a pear and taking photos. I even had service so I called my wife and talked for awhile.


 
 
 
We returned by the same route,but had I known about the other road at the  time I would have preferred to make it a loop. All the while Seamus was busy peering and sniffing towards the woods, sure that some animal, ripe for chasing, would appear. They didn't. We were back by 6:30 and ready to eat. Note: the road I used is probably not suitable for street vehicles.  The last  part of  504( it's being called 504 E) that ascends  the peak via the switchbacks   is in very bad shape and has a sign attesting to this fact. Don't attempt it in a vehicle unless you have a lot of experience in that kind of endeavor.



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