Monthly Archives: March 2012

100 Hikes in a Year – #50 Complete

 

 

The mouth of a mine shaft.

 

 

The temperature was seriously cooler near the opening. You go in, no you go, I'm not going in there, you go!

 

03-30-12 – Cleveland Mine Hike

The views up here are FINE!

 

I just updated my status and this is hike #50! I’m a WOOHOO girl today! It’s all downhill from here! I’m on track to complete on time since I had a goal to complete the first 50 by April 1st. The first half of this challenge has been incredible for me. When I think back to my experiences, it’s just fantastic! The things I’ve seen, the people I’ve gotten to be with and enjoy, the sore muscles the next day, the photographs. Even the planning has been fun, asking people their suggestions, writing down directions on the back of napkins at parties, pulling hand drawn maps out of my pocket from fellow hikers’ suggestions.

I believe this is LS Mesa.

 

A few stats: I have travelled 171 miles, and have been out for 126 hours. Cody has joined me on 34 hikes, Cisco is at 17, Marianne is at 13, and Helen is at 8. If the first half has been this interesting, I look forward to the second half like little Suzy on Christmas Eve!

This field is where the tailings are stored. There are pipes coming out of the ground to release gases as they build. It's completed fenced and probably toxic. But, I'm an optimist, It's got the BEST views!!

 

Helen heard about Cleveland Mine, and I went last week and was excited to explore it more so off we went on another hike of discovery. I talked about what little info I knew and had seen before as we climbed up the road towards the mine. I showed her the tailings area and a damn and an old foundation along with a well head. We wound around to where I knew many of the structures were clustered together and we enjoyed checking out old foundations and building remains. There were also so many different rocks; we got dizzy pointing them out to each other. The road continued on and we soon came to the mine shaft (1st two photos in this post). After exploring, we decided to continue further up the road. As we did, the wide scope of the operation 100 years ago became apparent. There were MANY holes and tailings and wood pieces and metal that I got tired of taking pictures of them all! We stopped for a break in a location that had tons of holes before heading back. Honestly, it was pretty amazing, and as usual, I find I have more questions and an interest in doing some more research on the area. Must check out Google earth! This is definitely a hike I’ll take visitors to – it’s worth it!

 

All that remains of an old structure - a residence, I suspect.

 Here is information on the Clean-up that occurred here a few years back – http://www.epa.gov/region6/6sf/pdffiles/0600952.pdf

 

Here are a few photographs of the sampling of holes we explored. And no, we didn't go in any.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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On a more somber note, I don’t know if you’ve heard about this runner who is missing up in the Gila Hot Springs area since Wednesday, but here is a link to his story. Basically, he went out for a run and hasn’t been seen since. It brings to light how dangerous this wilderness area can be. I hope he’s found safe….. and soon!

 

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/03/30/colorado-man-missing-after-going-for-run-at-new-mexico-resort

 

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4.00 miles / 3.50 hours

50 down / 50 to go

I don't think this photo shows it clearly, but we're pretty sure that's a bear print - and from the amount of scat around, it's quite possible!

Helen and Cisco checking out the old building structures.

Looking down at the old building structures.

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03-28-12 – A hike with views of a monastery – Silver City, New Mexico

This is the monastery's newer building.

 

I love the area north of Silver City, up Little Walnut Rd. I know several people who live in the area and always enjoy the pine trees and mountain views. Today, I thought it would be interesting to walk up Owen’s Rd – a road I had only been on one other time. There are several long range views including of the Monesterio de Nuestra Senora Santa Maria. Here is a link with a bit of information about the monastery.   http://www.ourladyofguadalupemonastery.com

The tower of the older building.

 

The entrance - that's as far as we went!

 

As we walked along, we encountered a monk on a bicycle, going for the mail. We also met a man on an ATV who asked us if we lived in the area. I suspect he was hinting that we shouldn’t be there, but he was pleasant enough and just asked us a few questions and moved on. I had heard that people in this area keep to themselves; we were sure to stay on the road and not intrude onto private property.

 

Not a bad little view of the Gila National Forest.

 

The hike was on a dirt road, as my companion is not in shape for trails. There was a variety of hills, but all in all, an easier hike. Cody enjoyed chasing a wide variety of deer. I kept seeing flashes of brown, and then a black-and-white blur, running across the road and then back again.

What can I say, the border collie loves herself some deer tail!

 

4.08 miles / 2.00 hours

49 down / 51 to go

 

 

 

 

03-24-12 – A hike in the Separ Rd. area

Cisco nicely asked me to stop taking pictures and keep moving!

 

Yesterday I drove south on highway 90 to Separ Rd. The numerous bicyclists I encountered reminded me that the Tour of the Gila Bike Race is a few weeks away.  As I’m driving, I realize that I look at the scenery around here differently since I began this challenge. Every dirt road is a possible hike, every mountain I see I wonder, “how do I access that one”? I also count off, “done that one, and that one, and over that way, and that road.” It’s kinda fun and the list is getting longer. I’m excited to be nearing the halfway mark. Just two more and I’ll be there – and I’m on track too. I needed 50 done by April 1st and as long as I complete two this week, I’ve got it.

Lovin' the long-range views!

 

Several people have told me how pretty Separ Rd. is, and they don’t lie. It’s got that gently rolling hill look about it that I, for some reason, love. It’s dry right now and everything is brown. But I still love the feel of it. No one mentioned the copious “No Hunting or Trespassing” signs and I hate to intrude, so I walk on the dirt road. The signs eventually fade away and to the left I notice a hill with some rock outcroppings on it – it’s just 100-200 yards away and I wonder if Indians used it as protection. Cisco and I check it out and on the way find a large quartz rock. I waypoint it and continue on. The lookout is interesting and, after investigating it, we go back to our quartz and carry it to the road. I’ll pick it up with the car later.  Along the way, I snap some photos and run into a corral and windmill. As we turn back towards the car, I notice a cow trail that appears to wander in the same general direction and set out to explore.

Yep, this is ranching country.

 

It’s hot today and Cisco waits for me in the shade, panting hard. We both enjoy some water and I decide here is where I’ll take a self-portrait. Other bloggers have done this and I always get a kick out if it.

Here's my self-portrait - my best side!

 

The earth in the shade is quite cool and I realize how very smart my dog is. When all the Hershey Kisses are gone, we continue back to the car, but not before startling a few cows. A pleasant, quiet hike on a beautiful spring day. I head back, looking forward to the home-made pizza I have planned.

 

Peek-A-Boo!

4.14 miles / 2.00 hours

48 down / 52 to go

 

This cow trail brought me back near my car.

 

 

A hike to explore an old Gold Mine

03-23-12 – Cleveland Mine

 

Mine ruins in the background and a water spring in the foreground.

 

Four days ago I cancelled a planned hike due to high winds and bitter cold. Today, I hike in a t-shirt and get a sun burn. Typical southern New Mexico. I park on the side of Cleveland Mine Road and walk up the old dirt road setting out to explore the mine. There are a variety of old foundations to investigate and photograph, along with the reclamation area that is fenced off. I look forward to checking out the variety of side roads in the future.

I had been up here in the past while walking nearby land for sale. I even saw an old map where it showed the wells, where the miners lived and worked, the old buildings, etc.

The old buildings reminded me of either Montezuma's Castle in Arizona or Castles in southern Spain.

 

The mine yielded gold, silver and copper from the late 1800’s to the early 1900’s. Here is information from www.NMArcheology.org:

 

Site description: LA 167597 (435 m north-south by 230 m east-west) is north of the Cleveland Mill and has 65 associated features (Fig. 2). The feature types include shafts, adits, pits, waste piles, trenches, stopes, trash dump or scatter, hearth, metal flagpole, structure, privy, mineral survey point, and a large headframe. Mining was evident in this district prior to 1860, but significant amounts of metals were not recovered until that time. Gold was the major yield, with less production of silver and copper.

By 1868 six stamp mills were in the vicinity and employed 300 miners, eventually growing to 600. In 1905 a two-foot narrow-gauge railway, the Silver City, Pinos Altos and Mogollon Railroad (SC, PA & M) came to Pinos Altos. The ore was shipped to the Silver City smelter, but in 1913 declining silver prices forced the railroad to close, and the line was dismantled. During World War I, the Empire Zinc Company mined zinc from 1916 to 1917 for the war effort. By 1922 the entire Cleveland Mill Camp was abandoned and the machinery removed.

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Mines require clean-up, or reclamation, and I found the EPA report explaining what was done for this one:

http://www.epa.gov/region6/6sf/pdffiles/0600952.pdf

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In this photo, I'm standing near the Cleveland Mine, looking at the Tyrone Mine. From one great mine to another!

 

The hike was uphill (or the first half was anyway) and a bit strenuous – but totally worth it for the interest of checking out the foundations and such.

3.22 miles / 2.00 hours

47 down / 53 to go

 

Off with the turtleneck, and on with the t-shirt!

 

 

 

A hike in the Burro Mountains of New Mexico

3-21-12 – Burro Mountain Homestead Rd. to FR 4249G

I am making a conscious effort to do some hikes south of Silver City where it is warmer right now. As the summer comes on, I’ll be switching to going north into the mountains where it will be cooler. Besides, it snowed on Monday (what???) and north of the city would be icy and cold.

Helen on our hike. That's the Tyrone Mine Tailings in the distance.

 

Helen and I set out with four-legged companions Cody and Elsa to explore side roads off of Burro Mountain Homestead Rd. Helen told me a little history of how it came to be. Apparently, friends of Teddy Roosevelt came out here for rest. This area is known for being good for tuberculosis patients. They built the homestead and lived here. There is now a rather pleasant RV ranch nestled amongst the trees. The CD trail also comes through this area as does many Forest Roads.

 

That's snow from Monday - can you see Jack's Peak through the trees?

 

The sandy, soft trail meandered through junipers, scrub oak and eventually pine trees. Although there were not many long range views, it was a pleasant hike. We periodically stopped to identify tracks in the soft earth. Turkey, deer, horse and cattle – not to mention 2 happy dogs!

 

 

Cody and I loving the Pine trees!

 

 

4.08 miles / 2.25 hours

46 down / 54 to go

Don’t pee into the wind! A hike around Boston Hill.

03-18-12 – Boston Hill Trail System

 

High winds and a storm front entering the area compelled us to walk close to home today. We explored the Boston Hill Area of Silver City. This is an in-town green space that consists of many trails winding in and out of old mining ruins. For more information and a history, I encourage you to check out these links:

http://www.silvercityspotlight.com/shared_content/PDFs/History_of_Boston_Hill_Silver_City_New_Mexico.pdf

http://www.townofsilvercity.org/r/town_of_silver_city_NM.php?r=2,q2ujz

 

A view of where mining was done a century ago.

We parked on Market Street near Highway 90. There is a small parking lot and an Information Kiosk at this trail head. The numbered signs along the way help you through the labyrinth of trails. We generally walked the perimeter and then crossed through the middle at the halfway mark. It’s a nice trail for seeing the entire area. At various spots you can see the Gila Forest, the Burro Mountains, Highway 180, Highway 90, the university, the Kneeling Nun, “W” Mountain, every neighborhood in a 50 mile radius, not to mention interesting abandoned mines, and an area that was recently burned. We enjoyed all this while discussing the changes in women through the past 50 years. I certainly find these conversations interesting and cathartic. As we walk the maze of trails, I untangle my own maze of issues.

At one point, as the wind was howling, I had to go to the bathroom. Before I disappeared behind a bush, the girls called out to me, “Don’t pee into the wind”. Now, that’s just good advice for a happier life, right there!

 

That's me and Cody with the Burro Mountains in the background.

4.73 miles / 2.25 hours

45 down / 55 to go

Don’t be a stupid hiker – like me!

03-09-12 – Water Canyon – Southern Ridge

 

Me and Jim with my new walking stick.

 

Every year, we camp in Water Canyon in the Mimbres Valley. My husband belongs to the Gila Rangers Cowboy Action Shooting Club ( http://cowboyactionshooting.com/ ) and they have a range there. We have a truly enjoyable time since most of these folks are a lot of fun and have great attitudes towards life. For ten years, I have been looking at the southern rim of the canyon. Towards the top, there is a 20-30 foot cliff so I was discouraged from attempting to go up. One of the shooters got up to the top with her nephew, and one of the ranch hands, Buddy, told me to walk east up the canyon and there’s a hill that is climbable and you can get to the top. He encouraged my sense of adventure by telling me there are spectacular views and Indian shards up on top. It had to be doable; there are cell towers up there! The last time I tried to go up to the top, my husband broke his foot – it’s steep and rocky!

The view halfway up the ridge.

 

 

Looking west up Water Canyon towards Highway 35.

 

So, I gear up and tell Frank I’ll be back by 3:00- 3:30. My gear now includes a new walking stick that Jim Jones made for me. It has a strong rubber foot, the words “100 Hikes 2011-20112: on it, cool paintings and a brass cap up top. The dogs and I walk east up Water Canyon and I watch the ridge for a realistic way up. I soon see a grassy hill that looks doable. If I zigzag, I should be able to get up the side. As usual, I place twigs in the shape of an arrow showing where I ascended, just in case. About halfway up, I’m sweating and so take off my brother’s sweat shirt (more on that later) and hang it on a tree; I’ll pick it up on my way down. I waypoint it on my GPS and continue up. I come to the cliff-like area and easily find a natural staircase and climb and am soon up top. And I marvel at the view and the beauty and there’s a dirt road. I’m very excited and feeling proud that I finally made it! I walk towards where I can look down to see the camp sight and range {Anyone catch my mistake yet???? By this point, the mistake is made}. I take many photos and whistle and call to the guys below. This is great. The views up the valley are so beautiful. I can see forever, it seems. I explore the area including the cell towers. Someone once mentioned that there was a way down on the opposite side but I don’t see anything obvious. Anyway, I’m running out of time; it’s time to go back. I walk along, retracing my steps. And slowly it dawns on me; I don’t remember where I came up. No worries, the GPS will show me. When I look at the map of today’s trail, I can’t see where I have marked. It’s too bright out and I don’t see my tracks on the screen. I play around with the menus looking to change the color of the line to something brighter. I’m starting to feel frustrated inside. I can’t figure it out. How stupid can I be????? I’m close to tears as I realize what a mistake this is. I can see the camp but I can’t get down.

 

Looking south - beautiful!

 

 

An excellent view of much of the Mimbres Valley.

 

My husband is part of Grant County Search and Rescue. He has teased me about being prepared and not embarrassing him. “How would it look if I had to call them to go and find me?” he has told me as he ensures I’m properly equipped. Back on top of my ridge, I keep walking along the edge and there is no way down- it’s all 20-30 foot cliff. I pass by one stock tank and the dogs cool off in it. I didn’t see this on my way in so my bearings are really off. I’m worried that Frank and Jim are going to come looking for me. I don’t want Frank climbing a steep area; his foot is still weak. Jim is recovering from knee surgery. He’s going to kill me! I look out and see not too far away, a hilly looking area that I may be able to descend. I aim for it. Eventually I come to a second stock tank and see a cow trail along its edge. Maybe this is the cattle’s trail down into the valley. I follow it and sure enough wind down the side. When I hit the floor of the canyon, I see that I am MUCH farther up then where I started up. I have walked Water Canyon very many times in the ten years I’ve been coming out here – I’ve overshot my mark by quite a bit.  I practically run back to the campsite figuring Frank and Jim will start being concerned. I was over an hour late. They had started to talk about who they should call, maybe she came down the other side and it’s taking her a long time to walk way around, etc.

A shot of the camp site and range A.

 

I have to say, I felt so stupid. All I had to do is look back, maybe place a temporary cairn, know a lot more about the GPS, or made some kind of a marking for myself. But instead, I walked around taking pictures. I had placed 3 twigs in the shape of an arrow at the place in the canyon where I started to walk up. But didn’t think to put one where I had emerged up top. It could have been a much harder lesson if I stayed up there for a night; after all, it snowed that night and all the next day.

 

The next day, I have tight muscles; a steep climb will do that to you. It’s snowing and cold. We spend most of the day huddled in our RV playing cards and eating. When the weather breaks for a short time, my friend Margaret and I decide to go rescue the sweat shirt from its perch. The sweat shirt means a lot to me because my brother, the cop, gave it me after boot camp. It has our last name on it and I ‘m not letting it go easily. I learned a little more about the GPS and can now see the way point. We head out and find my stick arrow and head up. On our way, we notice what looks like building foundations.  Two holes in the side of the hill with many small rocks built up and sprawled around it. I’ll come back some warm day and check this out again. I easily find the jacket and we head back to camp as it begins to snow again.

The towers on top of the ridge - how did they get them up here???

 

The first stock tank we found.

 

In retrospect, I think I was too familiar with the area and wasn’t alert enough. I had a false sense of security and it bit me in the ass.

A cold, snowy day where no Cowboy Action Shooting happened. But there was comaraderie!

 

 

4.99 miles / 3.5 hours

44 down / 56 to go

An old mining area in New Mexico

03-05-12 – Fierro Hiking

 

 

 

Interesting rock formation.

 

When I want to do a quick hike, I tend to stay close in to Silver City. My go-to spots include Fort Bayard, Little Walnut Rd. and Fierro. Shelley and I drove to Fierro since she had not been out that way previously and I thought she might enjoy seeing the mine ruins and such.

It is unfortunate that many beer drinking folks like this area too because when we drove out there we found a lot of trash, mostly of the party kind. The trash really disappoints and frustrates me; I was always taught to respect things and be considerate of other people. Sigh.

 

Can you see the wild curve of this tree trunk???

 

The sunny day enhanced our hike down an old dirt road and along a creek. We enjoyed walking through the pine trees and Cody certainly enjoyed the cool stream water. The photographs will show some interesting rock formations and views. We also came upon an old mine shaft – photos shown here. We stopped and ate brownies on a downed tree and talked. Brownies may become a necessary pack item! No respectable hike is without them!

Looking down at the old mine shaft from the trail.

 

Next we climbed down to explore.

 

A bird's eye view.

 

On the way back, we found interesting rocks that had flat and polished sides to them. It was strange, because they certainly seemed to be man-made – and they’re so pretty that they don’t look like ‘throw-aways’ to me.

Can anyone tell me what I've got here?

 

I mentioned to Shelley that one of these days I was going to check out the Fierro Cemetery and she told me that today was the day. We drove up the little dirt road and found a larger cemetery than expected. I am providing some of the pictures here; this would be an interesting place for a photographer to come because there are many interestingly designed markers in the cemetery.

 

 

 

 

 

In a previous post I had a link to the Fierro information – I provide it here again. It’s an interesting part of the southwest history.

 

http://southernnewmexico.com/Articles/Southwest/Grant/ElFierro-thepastliveson.html

 

I also wondered what Fierro means – it means ‘Iron’ in Spanish.

 

 

2.73 miles / 2.0 hours

43 down / 57 to go

A ‘New Mexico Blue’ Sky

03-04-12 – Steven’s Ranch Rd – Fort Bayard Game Preserve

 

Can you see the interesting rock formation in the background?

 

What a beautiful day for a hike! The sky is that New Mexico Blue that just gets me all smiling inside. It was warm and sunny; layers were peeled off early. As spring approaches, I think it’s time to shift the layers to lighter materials – which is good since I’m sick to death of seeing that old black turtleneck and the ancient red jacket in my photos!

 

I'm guessing this tree was hit by lightening. See what I mean about the "New Mexico Blue' sky???

 

Marianne, April and Dora joined Cody and I at the Fort Bayard Game Preserve where we drove up Ft. Bayard Rd and parked in the lot up there. We headed north onto Stevens Ranch Rd and enjoyed a meandering hike through meadows, rock outcroppings, and a variety of trees. Time wasn’t with us to go all the way up to Woodhaul Wagon Rd, which was our destination, so we have an option for another day when we all have more time.

The Burro Mountains in the distance - that's where I hiked last Wednesday.

 

 

As I get closer to the halfway mark, I’m getting excited. I see this challenge as doable suddenly. My anticipation of what’s to come is fueled by memories of the wonderful things I’ve seen already. As much as I love being outdoors and in nature, I’m also enjoying the human aspect of this. The people I’m getting to know during the hikes, and the human history I’m learning about and seeing. Plane crashes, Indian ruins, grave markers. It’s all making for a dynamite experience!

Is this Mr. Stevens' well?

 

 

3.82 miles / 2.0 hours

42 down / 58 to go

 

A gnarly old Cottonwood

 

 

A beautiful view to the south.

 

 

 

A Leap Day Hike

Wednesday, February 29, 2012 – Jack’s Peak Parking Lot to C Bar Ranch Rd.

 

Sweeping views at the beginning of the hike

 

Today, Steve, Dave and I did my first ‘shuttle’ hike. That’s when you park one car at the beginning and another at the end. The other types of hikes include, ‘out and back’, where you go out and come back the same way, and ‘loop’, where you walk in a circle, looping from start to finish.

 

Interesting rock formations make for fun hikes!

 

This was also my longest hike to date coming in close to 8 miles. I am writing this the day after the hike, since I was too tired yesterday…. and frankly feel a bit worn out today. I was pleased to see that I was able to keep up with the pace and did not slow the group down, like I usually do.  If you’ll look at my last blog, you’ll notice that there is a 14 day lag between hikes. This is due to the fact that I got the flu the day after my last hike and have been out of it for about 9-10 days. That’s why I was especially pleased to see that I was able to keep up.

 

Steve and Dave near the miniature canyons.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This hike is on the CD trail and is well marked and worn. We head out from the Jack’s Peak parking lot, off of Highway 90, and head south. The entire trail is hilly and has the feel of typical high desert: low brush, bear grass, sandy patches, jutting boulders, and such.  At one point we come across a sandy area where water, wind and time have carved miniature canyons. I am always amazed that most of my hikes have been through a wide variety of terrains – long vistas, open fields, hills, tall trees, rock outcroppings, arroyos and on and on. It certainly makes for interesting hikes and photographs.

 

Steve and Dave gold prospecting. I told them that they need longer beards and less teeth to find anything!

 

 

At one point, Steve and Dave decide to try their hand at a new hobby, gold prospecting. I rest up top eating chocolate kisses while they climb down a large group of boulders that are covered in lichen. I start designing my new gold ring while they do their prospecting thing. When back up top, they refuse to admit they found anything and we move on.

 

 

Looking back at where we just had been.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7.92 miles / 4.5 hours

41 down / 59 to go