Sunday, November 13, 2011 – Water Canyon Northern Ridge Hike
How can two hikes in the same neighborhood be so different??? The comparison of Saturday’s ugly duckling hike was a sharp contrast to Sunday’s!! Margaret and I took Cody and Cisco up the north ridge of Water Canyon in the Mimbres Valley. The upward climb only took about 20 minutes but it was 20 minutes that were hard on my knees! Boy did it burn! I regretted not taking my hiking stick but soon found one to replace it – the downhill trek would require a third leg!!
For those of you from around this area, you may be more familiar with McKnight Canyon – which is just to the north of Water Canyon. I’ve never done McKnight – but it’s in the plan for sure!
When we got to the top of the ridge, we were rewarded with 360 views. We could see into the Mimbres Valley and pointed out landmarks to each other. Mr. Fowler’s House, the BBQ
Restaurant, etc. Looking south, we saw layers of mountain ranges, from nearby to far in the distance – probably the tallest one was Cook’s Peak – which I never saw from this angle so it was difficult to confirm. To the north we enjoyed ridge upon ridge of Gila National Forest.
We were shocked to see a well-used dirt road on our ridge. When we walked south west (which was close to our starting point) we ran into a turnaround – but no road down. So we wondered how did vehicles get up here – they were obviously up here often enough to wear
this road. We walked the road north east for a good hour feeling sure we would find the answer to the vehicle access question.
In the past we had walked Water Canyon up quite far and discovered a water tank and wind mill with a road. So today we thought we would hit that tank and discover the connection
for this road. We made it to the end of this ridge and the road started winding to the north – toward McKnight – the opposite of what we expected. Looking down toward Water Canyon we realized that there was another ridge between us and Water Canyon – so we were too far over. We never did discover where this road lead to civilization but did thoroughly enjoy this trail and nature.
On Saturday at our campsite, we enjoyed watching 2 ranch hands bring in some cattle. They go up Water Canyon, collect them, and bring them in. They said they had lost about 20 head – couldn’t find them anywhere. Well, Cody found two of them up on this ridge. They were off to one side minding their own business. We toyed around with bringing them in ourselves but quickly realized that dealing with 2 cow-crazed barking dogs, 2 immense cows and being on a timeframe, our cowgirl dreams were probably unrealistic. I think we got points for considering it though!
The southern ridge of Water Canyon is certainly in the plan – but it will be a challenge to get up to – our first attempt in August landed Frank with a broken foot – it’s crazy steep! We’ll have to try ascending the northern side at some point. I’ve heard from ranch hands that there are Indian ruins up there – I’d love to see that!
14 down / 86 to go