Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Lower Gallinas Campground, Dry Gallinas Canyon- Gila National Forest

We went on Sunday to look at the snow at Iron Creek Campground in the Black Range, something we've been doing for years.  The warm weather had melted most of it,but there was still a little  left on the north side of the canyon. We had a picnic and did a slippery little walk on the road there.  We drove the couple miles down NM152 and parked across from the closed Lower Gallinas Campground at the mouth of Dry Gallinas Canyon. The road in that canyon continued for a short ways, transforming into a vague trail through a rather generic,but still lovely swath of untouched( by fire) forest of junipers, pines and both deciduous and live oaks, which is nice to find these days since the 2013 Silver Fire.  We found a more obvious trail on the west side of the canyon created by cattle, horses and wildlife. The dry gray boulders attested to the canyon's name,but I was still hoping for trickle as we hadn't brought a bit  of water for ourselves or our dogs.Happily, as I later discovered looking at Google Earth, we turned around after less than a mile out, right before the canyon was about to change into a particularly severe bit of scorched earth.
 We turned around walked back and then across the highway to the closed Lower Gallinas Campground to let the dogs drink from the creek. It was wonderfully( and unseasonably) warm December afternoon so we strolled along the creek to the end of the road. The golden grass was high among the huge junipers and we wondered if this pretty spot which has been closed since the fire would ever be open to camping again. It seems that there could be a liability issue that the Forest Service would just as soon avoid due to the area's increased susceptibility to flash flooding.
The whole Gallinas, Iron Creek corridor is still beautiful,but could really be the best of the Gila camping areas with a few improvements and probably should  be changed into a fee area with a campground host to prevent further degradation and to keep it family friendly.

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