Friday, January 13, 2012 – Saddlerock Canyon Rd.

Many dramatic rock formations to enjoy.

Where to go? Where to go? Shelley and I couldn’t decide where we should hike. I check out my map over my morning oatmeal and realize that I haven’t gone over to the west side of the Burro Mountains on this challenge. At first I thought we’d try something off of Red Rock Rd, and then I saw Saddlerock Canyon Rd. Boy, how long has it been since I’ve been out there? And so we head to the west. After passing a few hacienda-style homes, we hit the forest boundary and park. Cisco is fired up and ready to go!

An impressive balancing act.

This area is obviously used by ranchers for cattle; we see and smell plenty of evidence. We see a side trail that heads up through the hills. Off we go to check it out. Cool rock outcropping are everywhere – the photographs do not do this area justice. After a few hundred yards, we realize we are not going far; it’s a box canyon; a beautiful one. A few fire rings and shell casings show its popularity with the locals. At first we attempt to climb up one side and go over the edge. But me, Chicken Little Ferrara, talks Shelley into an easier trail. Hey, Frank is just recovering from a broken foot on a similar attempt; I have no desire to take my turn. We wrestle past a bunch of Cats Claw and head back up the main trail/road.

It was steeper than it looks in this photo! No really!

Shelley has lived in Wyoming for many years and has told me many great stories of her outdoor activities up there. Now she spends her winters in New Mexico and her summers in Wyoming. On our hike today, she describes an interesting observation of the difference in the outdoors here and there. She sees that the wilderness here is ‘harsher’. In Wyoming, you have shade and water and soft grasses. In New Mexico, you have the drying sun, sharp cactus, cats claw, loose rocks and firm grasses and seeds that get stuck in your boots and socks. It’s so true!

Who can resist a climb on a big rock?

We walk up the canyon and enjoy pointing out interesting rock outcroppings to each other. Finally, we need a break and look for a few boulders to sit on. I find a grove of trees that looks inviting but once under there, we see that there’s a lot of weeds and no where good to sit down. Shelley suggests we keep looking. We move a few feet more and find another little grove with a huge boulder wall to sit under. As we are getting settled, Shelley sees a poster on a tree a little off. It says something along the lines of “Who has lived here before? Please do not damage the Pictographs so that others may enjoy them too.”  Our necks whiplash up the rock face looking for pictographs and we point out several to each other. NOW we have a place for lunch! A restaurant with good art on the wall is the way to enjoy lunch! We see that rock climbers have been using this face for climbing; we can see their pitons (sp?) up the wall. I laugh out loud realizing that if we stayed in the first location, just a few feet away, we would have completely missed out on this!

What is this a picture of? A bow perhaps?

How do you describe this to someone else?

I just noticed that this has been my longest hike – by 0.27 miles.

5.27 miles / 3.25 hours


About Gila Hiker

First I hiked 100 different trails in a year, now I write a monthly article in Desert Exposure about a local hike. Come on out to Silver City..... and bring your hiking gear!

Posted on January 13, 2012, in Challenge, Gila National Forest, Hiking, New Mexico, Outdoor Activities, Southwest and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Wow. You stumbled on to one of my favorites! Did you go beyond the box canyon gate to the (little known) riparian area? Usually has water-this time of year ice. It is a real jewel.

    Incidentally, I passed you and Shelley on 180 and hoped you were headed for The Burros; I was on my way to meet Richard for lunch.

    • Steve, I didn’t know all the cool stuff was back there! The canyon we went into, was the first on the right. Where is the one with the gate? I am absolutely planning on going back to this one – definately park up the road and explore further in.

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