Monthly Archives: July 2012

Hike #84 – Meadow Creek to Forest Rd 609, Gila National Forest

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Today’s hike concludes our tour of Meadow Creek, although there are more sites to explore in the area. After the 100, I want to come back to Meadow Creek over and over again. Three places to investigate include: around the Boy Scout camp, up FR 88/89 and then to the left onto 869, and lastly, farther up the creek to where there is a cabin and waterfall.

A few weeks back, Sharon eyed a small trail through the trees. At that time, we explored the entrance and identified several landmarks in anticipation of today’s hike. We parked in our usual spot, walked down the main road to our landmarks, turned left and upward we went! I always get this sense of adventure when I start a new trail. As I walk, my head swivels looking for interesting attractions.  We saw cool mushrooms, glazed pottery pieces, a ‘field’ of old tin cans all bunched into a small area, interesting birds (I’m trying to get id’s on one of them as I write this), beautiful views of Scott and Signal Peaks, and elk prints.

The trail follows a small creek/tributary up the canyon side and onto a ridge. There are ponderosa, pinions, junipers and lots of green grasses, flowers and plants. Gradually, the ridge turns downward and we connect with other trails including 4257A and 4086O (does anyone know where they come out? I can’t find them on the map……..). We follow and lose the trail along the hillsides in the area. It appears on the GPS that we are heading back towards the main Meadow Creek trail and that we’re making a large loop. But eventually the trail peters out for good. We bushwhack for a while and then decide that in order to get in the desired mileage (we are aiming for 6-8 miles), we are better off retracing our steps.

This was a very attractive hike that I look forward to redoing in the future!

 

6.5 miles /4.0 hours

84 down /16 to go

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Hike #83 – Georgetown Town Site and surrounding area

A.K.A. The Stop and Start Hike

High humidity and low temperatures (both were around 66) greeted us this morning as we set out for Georgetown Rd once more.  I wanted to check out the old town site and so we parked past the cemetery where we thought the site might be.  First we took the road to the left, but it only went up a few hundred yards. We checked out some old mine holes and then back to the car where we took the road to the right (is there a political witism in there somewhere???) Again, the road ended pretty quickly so we went back to the car and drove to another spot. At the next spot we had the same problem – short roads for girls looking for long strolls. After checking out more mine holes and a few building foundations, we again got into the car and headed to the cemetery where there was a side road that I remembered having length. Third time we debarked and headed out; we took a side trail that was nothing more than a forest cul-de-sac. Back to the road and we continued on the road for the duration of our walk. Jeesh!

We were lucky to have good company, interesting vistas and mine remnants to keep us from getting frustrated.

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3.82 miles /2.0 hours

83 down /17 to go

Hike #82 – Sawmill Wagon Road, Ft. Bayard Trail System

Steve and I hiked through the Fort Bayard Game Preserve, just to the east of Silver City. There are many trails throughout the area and we chose one of the northern most ones. First we wound our way through the trails near the “Big Tree” and then proceeded west onto the “Sawmill Wagon Road” Trail. Coming back, we looped onto another trail and back to the car.

This area has many junipers and scrub oak and it seemed to be slightly uphill most of the way (okay, most of the first half.). We often saw evidence of deer and elk and caught a photo of a horny toad (which seem to be out in force since the rains started). I have never hiked this trail before and it was obviously less used than the other Ft. Bayard trails. There were lots of nice views of the Geronimo Stronghold (east of the Mining District), south to Mexico, and of course  of the Twin Sisters.

I’m proud to say, I passed the 300 mile mark today – 300.88 cumulative –WooHoo!

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6.44 miles /2.5 hours

82 down /18 to go

Hike #81 – FR 89, Meadow Creek, Gila National Forest

July 24, 2012 – A hike in the Skate Canyon area

On hike #73 (July 1st) I ran into a couple hiking with their dogs and they mentioned another side trail off of Meadow Creek that was very nice. I’ve looked for it but never found it until last week. Through the trees, we saw a trail meandering up a hill and after exploring the area, found a downed forest road marker. So this week, we headed for it and can now thoroughly understand why the gentleman said it was one of his favorites. It is on the Forest Service map as #88, but all the signage calls it 89. It’s a beautiful climb up a mountainside with many large trees and boulders; this one really reminds me of trails back east. It was green, damp, and lots of shade. After a mile or so of climb, it levels off and we walk along a ridge for a while. There are several side trails to explore including 4256, and 869 (869 is on the map).

On top of that ridge, the terrain turns decidedly rocky with lots of boulders; we walked across bedrock for a good half a mile and lost the road a few times. The long range views were fantastic of the Gila… mostly to the north. Sharon plans to further explore this area with her husband and Jeep. According to the map, 869 goes pretty far so they should have an interesting ride.

We were both really pleased that we did over 6 miles today; although to be honest, I’m feeling it now. I’m going to sleep well tonight! I also am excited because next week we’re going to bring lunch and try another trail we saw in the same area. I hope we do over 8 miles on that one.

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6.22 miles /3.5 hours

81 down /19 to go

Hike #80 – FR 4085E – Off Georgetown Rd.; Gila National Forest

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Today’s hike was in the Georgetown Rd area. There’s many side roads back there so April, Dora and Cisco joined me in an exploration. We climbed up Forest Road 4085E and ended up on a ridge overlooking the Santa Rita mines. It’s a pleasant, sunny trail with scrub oaks, junipers and the like.

The area was full of rabbits that Cisco unsuccessfully chased. We saw quite a few along with some turkey, some horny toads and a tarantula. Rainy weather brings out more than just the grasses!

 

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5.21 miles /2.0 hours

80 down /20 to go

Hike #79 – Georgetown Cemetery and Vicinity

Thursday, July 19, 2012 – Cemetery, Mines and Mud……

I have been meaning to explore the Georgetown Cemetery area for a while now and since I was a solo hiker today, I decided to check it out. Helen and I had explored the Georgetown Road area in the past; there are lots of trails and Forest Roads in the area. The terrain is hilly, with creeks and good tree cover with scrub oaks, juniper and a few ponderosa.

First I entered the cemetery and looked at the headstones. I was struck by several things. Some of the graves were over 100 years old and a few were only 5 years old. Also, some of the markers were impressive while many were simple. When I saw a few that held babies, it reminded how tough it was 100 years ago and how far we’ve come with medicine and easy living.

The little research I had done told me that this was a mining area and I was in front of a full cemetery, so where were the buildings and mines? Since the hills held the answers, I headed for them. I quickly and consistently came upon remnants of old buildings and mining holes although most of what I found was merely rubble. I could see by the wood pieces that they held age. Twice I found what looked like grave markers. I found evidence of old roads but they stopped and started and were hard to follow due to the creeks and tree growth. When I went to rest on a boulder, I found a newer helmet light sitting there and remembered seeing a mine cave back a ways. Some courageous soul crawled into that; they’re braver than me (but I am curios if they found anything….)! I once again learned that getting off the trail is a great way of seeing more!

As I headed back to the car, I came upon the main road and followed it back. Shortly I heard a vehicle approaching and grabbed Cody’s collar. A nice man drove up on his 4–wheeler with a fabulous border collie riding on the back. We chatted for a few minutes and I asked him if I could take a photo – our dogs look enough alike to spark my interest. But his is only 4 years old while mine is 11.

There were a spots where I was hiking that were a little rough: rocky, muddy, steep. Ever since I’ve been using 2 light weight poles, these obstacles have been easier to overcome (okay I did land on my butt at one point, and my pants are FULL of mud, but that’s besides the point. Cody’s been on 4 paws for 11 years, I’ve only been doing it for a month or 2!). Now I know why dogs can climb these mountains better and faster than me – they’ve got 4 on the floor!

On the way back into town I was compelled to stop the car, fish the camera out from the pile of gear, and take a few shots of the Santa Rita Mine. Between the sunny day, the variety of exposed rocks and the green fields, I just had to click off a few!

If you’d like to read a little more about the cemetery, check out this article from Desert Exposure: http://desertexposure.com/200711/200711_tw_cemetary.php

 

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3.5 miles /2.5 hours

79 down /21 to go

Hike #78 – Meadow Creek – Off Trailing – Gila National Forest

Tuesday, July 17, 2012 – The Gila Turns Green!

Since the monsoons have come, the Gila has turned green! We are finally seeing the grasses taking over where the ground was a dust cloud a few weeks ago (don’t ask me how the ground can be a cloud – it just is!). We continue to explore Meadow Creek and each time we come back there’s more and more creek …… and more green meadow! Heading down the road looking for a trail between two mountains, we see an ATV trail that heads upwards. A short climb to the top reveals mountain views and photo opportunities. However the road ends and we’re just getting started so we decide to continue into the forest, and off trail. I have been gaining confidence in doing this (I know you experienced hikers are probably rolling your eyes at my hesitance) and feel that my GPS skills are improved enough to get us back to the car. We find that there are splendid meadows, pine trees, and rock outcroppings to explore. At one point, where we make a right turn into an arroyo, we build a small wooden arrow in the path to show us where we just came from. I know, I know, anal. If you see it out there, you can dismantle it since we never did make it back that way………

We continue on talking and burning some calories until we see a dirt path through the trees. Maybe this is the trail we’ve been hunting for. Ummmm, no, it’s the road we started on and we are practically 100 yards from the car, which is visible through the trees. Nope, not lost this time (to be honest, I thought we were wandering farther and farther into the woods and away from the road – duh!).

We’re not ready to be done and so cross over the road to the other hill and wander up and around the mountainside for a good 45 minutes again enjoying the trees, grasses, an interesting animal hidey-hole and excellent views.

Towards the end, we wind up on the dirt road heading toward the car. I still haven’t found the trail a nice man described to me a few weeks back and I’m not ready to let it go. I suggest we walk adjacent to the road but pick through the brush to see if we find a trail somewhere in there. And you know what? We found 2 trails that we want to check out – that we couldn’t see from the road – which is just 30 yards off to our right. So I learned that when you get off the beaten trail – just a little – you can find interesting things. There’s a life lesson in there somewhere.

If someone has information on Trail 89 off Meadow Creek, I would appreciate you sharing.

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3.22 miles /2.5 hours

78 down /22 to go

Hike #77 – Meadow Creek Road – Past Scout Camp and Up Creek Bed – Gila National Forest

I’ve been exploring the trails in and around Meadow Creek. Today, Sharon and I walked the road which turned into creek bed and back to road beyond the creek. There was a good amount of rain up here yesterday and Cody had plenty of opportunities for drinking and playing in mud. With about 11 days of rain, the desert is turning green fast and we thoroughly enjoyed the trees, plants and grasses. We even came across spearmint – only because Cody ran through it and brought the smell with her.

A few minutes beyond our car, we found 4-5 old building foundations. I’ve been researching them and found out that they are the remains of an old Boy Scout camp which was relocated to the Mimbres Valley – now known as Camp Thunderbird. It was moved due to fear of fire – the area only has one way in and out so I can see how it would be dangerous in a fire situation. I also found out that if you walk further up, there is a waterfall and swimming hole. I’m going back some day to investigate!

Although we walked close to 4 miles, it was all fairly flat so was not as tiring as some of the other trails I’ve done. We also saw another trail that went up a canyon that we plan to try in the coming weeks.

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3.77 miles /2.14 hours

77 down /23 to go

Hike #76 – From Forest Road 506 south to Gomez Peak; around base of Gomez Peak and Back

This Hike Stinks!

Okay. The hike doesn’t stink; in fact it was a great hike. However, by the time we finished, we stank. So my subtitle should read, “This Hiker Stinks!”  It was a hot, humid day for a walk, for sure. Also, when we came around the north side of Gomez, we reached the burn area, and it stank. A sad, burned forest smell that was very strong. For those of you who aren’t from around here, several weeks ago, there was a fire on our beloved Gomez Peak and people have been mentioning that they walked the trail and saw it. I wanted to see it, but I didn’t, do you know what I mean? It makes you sick and scared. The fire could have been worse, but it’s bad enough as it is.

Our original thought was to walk off of Forest Road 506 in the shade but once we got talking, we decided to circle the base of Gomez using the trail system there. I had never done it so it was enjoyable to experience it. We walked south from the car and quickly came to the trail signs. There was a bunch of different terrains we went through: shaded forest, arroyo walking, large boulder spanning, typical desert terrain. It didn’t seem far to circle around the base, until we were on the south side of the mountain and started to get hot and tired. That’s where the trail goes up over the saddle and is the terrain is barer. I even ran out of water which I have never done before. Cody drank 3 dishes full when we got back to the car. I drank my 3rd bottle (that I leave in the car for the return trip) by the time we got home.

It was a good hike to break in my new hiking boots with – I’m on pair #3. Let’s see how long this pair lasts!

Well, this girl is tired, so I’ll end now.

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5.4  miles /3.0 hours

76 down /24 to go

Hike #75 – Webb Gulch Area – Gila National Forest

I just logged in 200 hours – feels like 20! – I’m ¾ of the way to my goal!

I had some gardening chores to do at some friends’ house – they live up Wagon Wheel Lane on Webb Gulch so I decided that after my weeding I would hike up and around their house. It’s a hill-of-a-hike; towards the end I felt like I had been going uphill the whole way! But it was pretty enough and a good work-out.

I liked this hike very much; not only was it interesting, but it was mostly off trail. I know the area reasonably well, having hiked it before and been to several people’s homes in the area. I set off with my trusty GPS and made a crazy-shaped loop around my friend’s house.

I scared a bunch of turkey off and Cody almost caught a quail, but the bird flew off (I think Cody caught it but didn’t know what the hell to do with a hysterical ball of feathers, so she dropped it). I found my first deer antler, a small one, but still, with all my hiking this is the first one I’ve ever found. We also came across a neighbor’s deer stand, a water retention system, the skull of an unlucky deer and an old damn. Not bad for a 2 hour hike!

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1.94  miles /2.0 hours

75 down /25 to go