Hike #70 – Railroad Canyon – 129 to 128, The Black Range, Gila National Forest
The Black Range is in the eastern part of the Gila National Forest and consists of over 550,000 acres of wilderness. Highway 152 works its way through the mountain range, reaches up to Emory Pass, and then cascades down the other side toward Interstate 25. Locals and visitors know this area well and discuss “going over the Black Range versus going around the long way”. The road can be brutal for folks who get car sick – it’s a windy one – but beautiful. I’ve only been through here a handful of times on my way to or from Albuquerque or Magdalena. I’ve always found it to be stunning. There are many dramatic vistas and outcroppings, valleys and canyons to ooooh and ahhh over.
I wanted to make sure I had at least one of the 100 here in the Black Range (more, if feasible) so we got up early and drove an hour to the Railroad Canyon trailhead. Another reason I wanted to check it out is because it’s the backdrop of the book, “Fire Season” by Philip Connor. It’s a fascinating look at the management of forests and a peaceful description of living in one. If you want to understand more about fires and forests, it’s a fascinating read that will get you thinking.
We parked in the ample lot that had a bathroom, gravel drive, picnic benches and shade. There are several trails to choose from, some staying along the canyon floor and others branching to other canyons or up the sides to the ridgeline. It was promising to be a hot day; we stayed under the trees and walked Trail 129 to 128 and then returned the same way. This trail rises slowly; we started at an altitude of around 7000 and by the time we turned back, we were over 8000.
Now I’m reading “A Walk In The Woods” by a funny man named Bill Bryson. It’s the story of a man who attempted to hike the Appalachian Trail and his experiences with it. It is helping me keep motivated to reach my goal; the guy has my sense of humor and it’s good to laugh at the way he tells the story.
5.32 miles /4.0 hours
70 down /30 to go
Posted on June 24, 2012, in Black Range, Challenge, Gila National Forest, Hiking, Nature, New Mexico, Outdoor Activities, Outdoors, Silver City, Southwest, Uncategorized and tagged challenge, Gila, Gila Wilderness, hike, hiking, New Mexico, Pinos Altos, Silver City, Southwest. Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.