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June 2015 – FR880 – Sheep Corral Canyon Rd.

There are many ways to enjoy the outdoors in our area, and for the treasure hunter in all of us, geocaching is a fun option.

At the basic level, Geocaching is an activity where items (sometimes a log book, sometimes a small toy) are hidden by one party, logged onto the website, and then can be found by other parties. Anyone who has delighted in finding Easter eggs in the backyard will enjoy this game.

This month, the hike involves finding 5 caches along the route. You can either go to the website and get the information (Serina and Chad have put in clever descriptions and clues), or you can follow my directions in the hike description below.


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To get started, go to the website ( ) and move the map so you can see north of Signal Peak and Scott Peak. Near the label called, “Slack Sawmill Tank”, you will see five caches. These are the items you’ll be trying to find on your hike. Click on the first cache, “H” Marks the Spot” and when the information window opens, click on the title (“H” Marks the Spot) and read the description for clues of where the cache is hidden. You can either write the clues down or use a GPS to find the items. Click on the other caches and note the clues. There is an app that can be downloaded onto your Smartphone, but be careful, there’s no connection in the remote areas.

Geocache Hike Description:

Name: Forest Road 880 – Sheep Corral Canyon Road

Distance: 2.0 roundtrip (or more…….)

Difficulty: easy to moderate

Directions: Starting at the intersection of Highway 15 and 32nd Street, drive 15.9 miles north on Highway 15 (a.k.a Pinos Altos Rd., a.k.a. P.A. Rd.). On the left is Sheep Corral Canyon Rd. There is a brown highway sign to show you where it is. Drive up this dirt road. At the 1.1 mile mark, pull over and park.

Hike Description: There is an old dirt road leading up hill. The brown Forest Road sign (882) was lying on the ground when we were there. Head up the hill. After walking 0.2 miles you will come to Forest Road 880. Don’t take the first side road, walk to the top of the hill and see a second road. Follow this road a short distance to the first cache. Here is the clue to find the cache: Go to the southwest side of where “H” marks the spot and walk 120 feet in a southwest direction where you will find a large pile of rocks and boulders. You are looking for a container with a log and a few toys in it. It is customary that if you take an item, you also leave an item, so you might consider bringing a toy or similar type object (but you don’t have to).Write your information in the log and return the container to its original hiding spot.

Go back the way you came and continue on the main road for a minute or so. Look on your right for cache #2. Here’s your clue: “A step above”. You will find a container hidden near the clue.

Now continue towards cache #3. At the .6 mile mark, your clue is: “Gila Hallow”. Before heading down the hill, look on your right for a hallow tree trunk. If you look carefully, you will find your next treasure.

You will now continue downhill (careful, there’s a lot of loose rock here) and at the .77 mile mark, your clue for cache #4 is “Rooty” (on the left). When you find this nice sized green box, why not take a photograph to share on the geocaching website later?

And now continue downhill to the .9 mile mark and find your last cache. The clue is “Y”. Here, on the left, you find the tree in question. To find the cache, follow a downed tree trunk to the fortune.

You have now found all the caches for this hike. But I encourage you to continue on the old road for a beautiful hike through the pines.

After the hike, go to the website and log your “finds”. You can also add photos showing you and your friends at the location.

Notes: (1) Please do not remove caches. (2) To learn more about this game (I only scratched the surface here), you can go to the website and read “Geocaching 101”.

About my guides: During our time hiking, I learned more about my Geocache guides. Since winning the Girl Scout Gold Award and meeting President Obama for her work in literacy (, Serina has kept herself busy. She is currently on the Executive Board of the Girl Scouts of the Desert Southwest, has Served as Post-Secondary National President and member of Business Professionals of America, just ended two terms as Lieutenant Governor of Southwest District of Circle K International, is going to college at WNMU, is a world champion horsewoman and still has time to hide and find geocaches!

“Chad Paavola is equally impressive. He served 8 years in the Army, spending 5 years in Germany and was also stationed in Fort Myer, Virginia. He loves to travel the world and even scuba dives. He currently teaches at the Law Enforcement Academy at WNMU and is pursuing his masters degree in Elementary Education. This couple enjoys geocaching so much that when they’re on vacation, they fit geocaching into their travels. What a fun way to explore the world!

This article first appeared in the June 25, 2015 “The Independent” in my column, “Trail Mix”.

April 2015 – FR 858/CD Trail/Silver Spur Loop

On a recent hike with Shelby Hallmark and Bob Wilson, I learned about the RTCA (Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance) and Grant County Trails Group, both which share a love for trails and their development in Grant County.

The RTCA group has been working on building support for developing Silver City’s planned trail system (notably the Master Greenways and Big Ditch Plan) and connecting it to the surrounding trails in the Gila National Forest. They applied for and were awarded an “RTCA” grant from the National Park Service for the purpose of enhancing local trails and greenways. In 2014 the team worked with Teresa Martinez, Director and Co-founder of the Continental Divide Trail Coalition, to designate Silver City as the very first CD Trail Gateway Community.

The group is currently continuing to work on enhancing Silver City’s branding as an outdoor destination, and building more trails in and around town.

Meanwhile, over the past six months the partnering Grant County Trails Group has focused on getting county residents to get out and use our existing trails and walking facilities.

If you enjoy hiking in this area as much as I do, you’ve got to love both of these groups and their impressive accomplishments!

How does someone join the RTCA group to work on development of new trails? Contact Shelby Hallmark at: or 575-519-1426.

How does someone join the Grant County Trails Group? Contact Michele Giese at: or 538-8573 (x121).

Describe one of your favorite hikes that you’d like to share with the readers:

Name: CD Trail / Silver Spur Loop

Distance: 5 miles

Difficulty: moderate


Starting at the intersection of Highway 180 and Alabama St, turn north onto Alabama St. At the .3 mile mark it turns in to Cottage San Rd. At the 3 mile mark, bear left onto Bear Mountain Road. Drive 2.1 miles and make a right onto Forest Road 858. Drive slowly (this road requires high clearance vehicle and patience) for 2.9 miles. Make a left and drive another .8 miles to a cattle guard and park.


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Hike Description: This is a loop trail that includes part of the new section of CD Trail and the Silver Spur Trail. Start the loop by crossing over the cattle guard and staying to the left on Forest Road 858. At the 1.0 mile mark you will see an old pumping station. We believe that was attached to Alum Spring and fed water to Silver City at one point. You may see the old water pipe along the way. At the 1.14 mile mark, the new part of the CD Trail crosses the road. Make a hard right onto the CD Trail (if you go to the left on the CDT you will walk around the base of Bear Mountain, if you continue on the road, you will come to a windmill and stock tank). As you climb this ridge, enjoy views of Stewart Peak and Bear Mountain.

Our GPS’s differ here so bear with me. At approximately the 2.50-3.0 mark, you will come to a green gate. Go through the gate, admire the cairn we made, and turn right onto the Silver Spur. Shortly, you will see an old metal Continental Divide Trail sign and walk through a barrier. Look for a cairn to the left and follow the old CD Trail. At approximately the 3.5-4.0 mile mark you will reach a dirt road. Make a right onto the road. Shortly, about .2 miles, the road curves to the right. Look for a cairn and trail on the left. Leave the road and walk the trail for about .5 miles back to your vehicle.

Notes: A great loop trail with diverse landscape. You will experience a few hills, pine groves, and views galore.

I contacted Teresa Martinez, from the Continental Divide Trail Coalition about the changes to the CD Trail. Here’s what she told me, “The Continental Divide Trail Coalition (CDTC) is excited about the development and progress of the new CDT location in and around Silver City. The segments that are complete and open to the public are fantastic trail experiences, and we look forward to acquisition and completion of the final segments of the CDT in the area and when the entire Trail may be opened. CDT is also excited to engage the Silver City Community in the stewardship of the CDT and hopes the efforts in and around Silver City continues to inspire other Trail communities to support the CDT in their communities.”

Where will the new segment of the CDT go? The new trail, which has already been partially completed, crosses over the Burros from its junction with Deadman Canyon Trail north of Burro Peak, past Red Rock Road to Mangus Springs. In the future, the Forest Service will complete the final segment from Mangus Springs across HWY 180 to LS Mesa Road north of Bear Mountain. That portion of the Trail is not complete yet and does cross private property, so the CDTC ask that people not trespass and to only use portions of the Trail that are officially open.

January 2015 – Fort Bayard Game Reserve

Petroglyph Paradise

Hiking the Dragonfly Trail with Silver City native Jeffrey Carrasco

On a crisp fall morning, I tied up my laces and drove over to Fort Bayard Game Reserve to meet Silver City native, Jeffrey Carrasco. I never fail to learn something when I hike with a new person and my hike with Jeffrey was no different.

During the walk he explained what the small ball-like ‘pods’ were on the scrub oaks we saw (don’t mind this east coaster; I thought it was a seed pod or eggshell of some sort). “Those are galls,” Jeffrey said. “Gall wasps inject fluid into the tree causing the tree cells to multiply and a gall is formed. The wasp larvae grow inside the gall.”

Naturally, I asked Jeffrey to describe one of his favorite hikes, and he picked the Dragonfly Trail.

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Name: Dragonfly Trail #720

Distance: various

Difficulty: easy

Directions: Starting at the corner of Highway 180 and 32nd Street Bypass, drive east on Highway 180 for 3.3 miles (between mile marker 118 and 119). Turn north (left) onto Arenas Valley Road and drive one mile straight to the parking lot and trail- head. The last tenth of a mile is dirt road. There are signs on the highway pointing to the turnoff for the Dragonfly Trail.

Hike Description: This is an easier, well-marked walk that offers many hiking options. Here I describe the trail we took to the petroglyphs 1.5 miles away. After parking in the second lot, enter through the green gate and past the information board. You will soon reach a fork. You can reach the dragonfly petroglyphs either way; we went to the right. At the second fork, stay to the right. At the third fork, stay to the left. From this point, brown trail markers clearly guide you right to the petroglyphs. When you see a Forest sign on a tree that says, “Who passed this way?” you’re there. The petroglyphs are among the boulders to your right and up the small hill. Enjoy exploring them but please don’t destroy or compromise the area in any way. Continue past the sign and return to the parking area using the loop trail. Walk about five minutes and you’ll come to a wooden sign that describes a few hiking options. If you go to the right here, you will travel north and meet Sawmill Wagon Road. Hike and explore to your heart’s content.

Notes: The entire area is mostly flat with a few easy hills and sometimes travels near or through Twin Sisters Creek, which may (or may not) contain water.

You will likely encounter other hikers, their dogs and possibly horses and their riders.

The Gila National Forest Service has a map of the trails in this area. They are located on 32nd Street Bypass.

I spoke with Elizabeth Toney of the Forest Service and she shared some information with me about the Dragonfly Petroglyph Site.

“The Dragonfly Petroglyphs at Fort Bayard were formally recognized and recorded as an archaeological site in 2003 through a joint effort by the Grant County Archaeological Society and the Gila National Forest,” she said. “The site is monitored by the New Mexico SiteWatch program. There are at least three dragonfly petroglyphs at that location along with numerous other petroglyphs. There are many different interpretations for what the dragonfly might mean. Some Archeologists have interpreted the dragonfly in Mimbres culture as a symbol of water and fertility. Archaeologists sometimes use ethnographic analogy to also interpret what the dragonfly petroglyph might mean. There are stories that describe the dragonfly as a creature that brought food to people in times of famine. The dragonfly is also thought of as a shamanistic creature that are messenger-type beings sent to open up springs.”

Buildings, days gone by

Jeffrey’s family has been in the Silver City area for generations. I asked him to tell us about the good old days.

As we walked, Jeffrey shares some remembrances and family history. First he describes how Silver City has changed.

“JC Penney was on Bullard Street where Workshops of Carneros was,” he said. “TG&Y (a five-and-dime) was where the Billy Casper Wellness Center now stands. Smith’s Music was on Bullard where Manzanita Ridge is currently. There was a store called “Sprouse-Reitz” (five and dime) where Sun Valley is today. Piggly Wiggly (supermarket) was where Family Dollar (corner of highways180 and 90) is today, and next to that was Anthony’s Clothing. The first Walmart was where Ace Hardware is now. On Highway 180, where the County Administration building now stands was a variety of department stores. Bealls used to be a Kmart.

Then he tells me about his family.

“One grandmother was born in Catron County and another in Cleveland Mine. My mother was born in Santa Rita. In order to visit family in Pinos Altos, they would travel from Santa Rita in a wagon. She told me it took three days.”

Then Jeffrey described some memories of his childhood. He attended the Sixth Street School until, in second grade (circa 1984), someone set it on fire. At that point they went to classes in the library at Jose Barrios until portable classrooms were set up at Harrison Schmitt School. That chain of events caused him to miss out on an experience he had looked forward to as a child.

“Miss Packard was the third grade teacher at Sixth Street School and every year around Christmas she invited her class to her home on Broadway (now “The Inn on Broadway”). I remember my cousins describing how they slid down the banister. Because of that fire, I never was able to do that.”

“You should put that on your bucket list,” I told him.

“I actually was at a meeting at the Inn on Broadway” once,” Jeffrey said with a laugh. “And I was so tempted to do it!”
This is a repost of an article that was originally published in December 2014 in Desert Exposure.

September 2014 – Tadpole Ridge

Winging It – Hiking Tadpole Ridge with birder Brian Dolton.

This hike is for the birds!

Earlier this year I contacted the local Audubon Society about a hike related to birding. I was soon in touch with Brian Dolton, a 53-year-old Englishman who is the Field Trip Coordinator. He has been interested in birding since he was a wee lad growing up in an English village where he walked the moorlands. For the past five years he has lived just north of Silver City, where he and his wife, Robin, enjoy hiking and birding.

We first did a hike on Signal Peak just days before the Signal Peak fire and the trail that Brian had chosen turned out to be right in the fire’s path. Our second outing was in early June when we drove up Hwy. 15. During these two hikes I learned a lot about birding. The first thing I learned was that I was calling it by a common misnomer: bird watching. The hobby is as much about listening and knowing locations as it is about watching, ergo: birding.

I was curious about why we were heading into the mountains, since I thought that the best place to find birds was near water. Brian explained (using that delightful accent), “Of course water is a good place to find birds, but the beauty of the mountains is it gives one the opportunity to gain altitude. You see, this is an excellent chance to view birds that spend much of their time atop trees.”

Brian showed me a new addition to his birding gear: an iPad with an app that is an encyclopedia of birds that actually has bird songs and calls so you can instantly verify what you are hearing, and verify sightings using photographs and much more.


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Name: Tadpole Ridge

Distance: Variable

Difficulty: Moderate to difficult

Directions: Starting at the intersection of Hwy. 15 and 32nd Street in Silver City, drive north on Hwy. 15 for 13.7 miles to the turn-off for Meadow Creek. Park here and walk across Hwy. 15 and walk up the dirt road you see there.Hike Description: This is an upward trek towards Scott Peak and beyond. You will travel through pine forests and open areas with loose rocks. At the 0.27-mile mark, you will see a cairn on the left. This is the trail that goes down to the Signal Peak parking area on Hwy. 15 (right near the cattle guard). Continue ahead uphill through the trees. At about the 0.57-mile mark, you will start seeing views of Scott’s Peak. Look back at Signal Peak behind you and view parts of the May 2014 fire area.

If you go far enough, you will observe maple trees and even farther up is a stock pond. This hike is a good one for observing succession vegetation from old fires (the aspens, ferns and oaks are all examples), as they are visible on many of the mountains around you, both nearby and far in the distance. When ready, return the way you came.

Notes: Along the way, we identified several bird species including: five turkey vultures, a broad-tailed hummingbird, a northern flicker, a western wood-pewee and an American robin. I was first to see an olive-sided flycatcher, to which Brian exclaimed, “Well spotted, well done!” It was a great introductory hike for a person new to birding. Now when I go on a hike, I am much more aware of the sounds of the birds and I thank Brian for that.

Can you give us a “Beginner’s Guide to Birding”?

    1. Your best chance of viewing the most birds is early morning.
    2. A set of decent binoculars is a must.
    3. Get a pocket-sized bird identification book. (Brian recommends The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Western North America by David Sibley.)
    4. Get a bird checklist (available for purchase through the SWNM Audubon Society).
    5. Attend Audubon field trips.
    6. Join the Audubon Society (either national or local chapter)

Tell us more about the Southwestern New Mexico Audubon Society:

Check out their website at, or contact president Nancy Kaminski at, or membership coordinator Terry Timme at, (575) 534-0457. The group has field trips, usually on the first Saturday of the month, a presentation meeting on the first Friday of the month at WNMU’s Harlan Hall (12th and Alabama Streets) at 7 p.m., and a “Birds and Brews” event on the fourth Thursday of the month at Little Toad Creek, Bullard and Broadway in Silver City, at 5:15 p.m. Details on the field trips and meetings are in The Ravens newsletter published five times a year. It is available on the website or various locations around town. Annual membership is $15. You do not need to be a member to attend any of these events.

In closing, I found Brian to be a first-rate hiking partner because he was knowledgeable not only about birds but about all things fauna and flora. It occurred to me that he would be equally comfortable in a science lab as he would be in a computer lab.

Please tell me I didn’t say “Bloody good show, mate!” to him when we parted ways!

To read more about Linda Ferrara’s 100-hike challenge, check out her blog at

See a collection of Linda Ferrara’s previous 100 Hikes columns

July 2014 – Cherry Creek

Kids’ Stuff

A Cherry Creek hike even a 10-year-old can love.

by Linda Ferrara

Short and sweet — wait, is that describing the hiker or the hike?

Haylee Kelley is a 10-year-old Girl Scout I met about a year ago. She is of slight build and is sweet, inquisitive, smart and wonderful and will be in the fifth grade come August. She has lived in Silver City for most of her life and enjoys playing right and center field in softball, fishing, golfing, shooting, and playing on her tablet.

After I assured her that even if we saw a snake, the chances of us being hurt by one were slim, we went on a hike up Hwy. 15, north of town. It was a warm summer day and we talked about everything from wanting Barbie’s RV to whether we wanted to live forever or not. After much discussion we decided that we wouldn’t mind living forever as long as we could be healthy and active. We checked out a variety of flowers, leaves, bugs, and a horny toad that Haylee had no problem picking up. She even taught me a new word when she described fresh strawberries: “They’re amazalicious!”

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Here’s a description on the hike we went on:

Name: Cherry Creek

Distance: 1.6 miles

Difficulty: Easy

Directions: Starting at the intersection of Hwy. 15 (Pinos Altos Road) and 32nd Street, travel 10 miles up Hwy. 15. Park in the small pull-off on the right. Walk to the other side of the road and back up the road where you just came from. You will soon see a trail that goes into the woods. Follow this trail as it meanders along Cherry Creek.

Hike Description:
This is an easy, shady hike for a warm summer day. It is mostly flat with a few small hills to climb, sheer rock surfaces that are easily traversed and several downed trees to negotiate. Be sure to look up through the trees and enjoy the interesting rock formations high above. Along the way, you will encounter small ponds and waterfalls. At the 0.7-mile marker you may even be tempted to climb and explore some of the boulders. At the 0.8-mile mark, the trail ends (or at least I can’t find the way through). When you get towards the end, the trail forks and is occasionally hidden. After a little searching, you’ll find your way. (Remember, you’re walking along a creek with steep walls — just keep near the stream and you’ll be fine.) If you go during monsoon season, please be careful as there are many creek crossings.

Would you recommend this hike to other kids? Haylee answered slowly, “Well… yeah, it’s a lot more fun than playing video games!”

Columnist’s Note: I originally had another hike planned for this month’s column. On May 6, 2014, I hiked on the CD Trail off of Signal Peak with a member of the local Audubon Society who taught me a lot about birding in the area. I eagerly went home and wrote up a delightfully interesting article about my experience. Five days later, the very trail we were on was engulfed in the Signal Fire that burned 5,485 acres in the Gila. I felt sick thinking of the forest I love so much burning. I’d spotted a western tanager (a beautiful yellow and red bird) on our hike, and when the fire was raging I kept wondering where that bird ended up (sigh).

I will write a new article in the future about hikes for birders, but in the meantime I thought this might be a good time to share a few resources regarding fires. You can follow Gila National Forest fire incidents at:

There was a Facebook page set up that shared information and photos of the Signal Peak fire: So if there’s another fire, you might search on Facebook to see if they have a page for information.

If you’re interested in learning more about fire management, I suggest you read “Fire Season: Field Notes from a Wilderness Lookout” by Philip Connors. It discusses his experiences as a fire lookout in the Gila National Forest. If you’re a nature lover, this book will remind you of why you are. It explains a lot about the life of the forest and the cycles it goes through. The Silver City Museum has copies for sale, and the Public Library of Silver City has a few copies to borrow.

This was first published in Desert Exposure – July 2014

See a collection of Linda Ferrara’s previous 100 Hikes columns

November 2013 – Sheep Corral Canyon Rd – FR 3131F+G

Name: Sheep Corral Canyon Road — Forest Road 3131F/G

Distance: Various

Difficulty: Easy

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Directions: Starting at the intersection of Hwy. 15 and 32nd Street in Silver City, drive 15.9 miles north on Hwy. 15 (aka Pinos Altos Road, aka PA Road). On the left is Sheep Corral Canyon Road. There is a brown highway sign to show you where it is. Drive up this dirt road. At the 3.2-mile mark, pull over and park where you see the brown Forest Service marker reading, “3131F.” If you park on the left, the trail is on your right. Do not go over the cattle guard for this hike.

Hike Description: Your hike begins on 3131F. After just a minute or two of walking, the trail/road turns into 3131G (on your right). Enjoy a shaded hike through pine trees, along a creek with interesting boulder and rock formations. At approximately the 1.18-mile mark, you will meet the intersection of Trail 876 on your left. For this hike, stay to the right, on 3131G. You will soon meet Sheep Corral Canyon Road. You may either turn around at this point, make it a loop hike by walking on Sheep Corral Canyon Road, or go back and explore Trail 876, which also comes out onto Sheep Corral Canyon Road.

Notes: Sheep Corral Canyon Road is a well-maintained road but can be a bit rough in spots. As you explore farther up, it gets rougher still. A high-clearance vehicle is recommended for the rough spots. There are many, many trails to investigate up and down Sheep Corral Canyon Road.

Helpful Hint: I know there are lots of positives to hiking alone; there are also negatives. Hiking with a buddy increases safety. If you get hurt, dehydrated, lost or stuck, having someone with you increases the possibility of positive results.

This is a repost of an article that originally appeared in “Desert Exposure”. Check them out at:

August 2013 – Meadow Creek


Name: Meadow Creek
Distance: Various
Difficulty: Easy
Directions: Starting at the intersection of Hwy. 15 and 32nd Street in Silver City, drive 13.5 miles north on Hwy. 15 (aka Pinos Altos Road, aka PA Road). On your right, you will see a Forest sign saying, “Meadow Creek 3 Miles.” Turn right (you will see signage stating this is “149”) and drive up a well-maintained dirt road for 2.2 miles. On your right, at the bottom of the hill you just came down, you will see a small dirt road. Pull in and park. There are several parking spots there.


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Hike Description: Walk along the side dirt road for about three-tenths of a mile, where the road ends and a trail begins. This is a perfect hike for a hot summer day. It is heavily shaded with many large trees. You will enjoy identifying the wide variety of flora along this moist, cool creek. Although the path climbs a few hundred feet in altitude, it is a gentle, easy rise. Expect to see water in the creek at most times of year along with several seeps/springs. There are cattle on this land, so be careful if you’re hiking with pets.


Notes: The area around Meadow Creek is interesting to explore. At some point up the main road, you will have to park and start your hike from there; the creek and boulders make it too difficult to drive over (except for those “monster trucks” — you guys just go ahead and drive on up!). Enjoy checking out the old Boy Scout camp up the road, and other trails off of the main road. If you want more information about this area, check out my blog ( entries in the months of June and July 2012. I spent a bunch of time writing about Meadow Creek trails (specifically, entries titled: Hike #69, 71, 73, 77, 78, 84).


Helpful Hint: Even though this particular hike has a water source, many local trails do not. When hiking in a desert environment, water can be very hard to find. If stuck, try digging a hole in an arroyo, place a collection container at the bottom, and place a plastic bag over the hole. Secure with rocks. Place a stone in the middle of the plastic bag. Condensation will build in the hole and collect on the bag and drip into the container. Another option is to tie a bag around a leafy tree branch. Overnight, it may collect condensation.

May I suggest that bringing more water than you need is an even more helpful hint. As an exercise, I attempted the two suggestions above for water collection. I learned that these collected only a small amount of water and I probably expended more sweat digging the hole than I collected water. What I describe above is VERY DIFFICULT and will only produce small amounts of water. Carrying extra water is so much easier!


This is a repost of an article that originally appeared in “Desert Exposure”. Check them out at:

July 2013 – Little Cherry Creek

Name: Little Cherry Creek

Distance: Various

Difficulty: Easy

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Directions: Starting at the intersection of Highway 15 and 32nd Street in Silver City, drive north on Highway 15 for 8.2 miles. On the right-hand side of the road you will see a wooden sign saying, “Little Cherry Creek Ranch.” Turn right on (what seems to be) a driveway and find a parking spot; there are several right there when you pull in.

Hike Description: This is a good hike for a hot summer day, as it is follows the creek and there is often water available. It is heavily treed and there are many interesting rock formations to appreciate. At the 1.4-mile mark, the road makes a strong curve to the left. If you look straight into the woods, you will see a trail. Continue there for as long as your legs will take you. While on the road, the walk is a gradual uphill climb. Once you get into the woods and off the road, it gets hillier and soon starts up the side of the mountain.

Notes: This is a heavily traveled path, so expect to see other hikers, horseback riders and vehicle travel. As you walk along, notice the different foliage. There are a lot of different plants due to the moisture. Watch out for poison oak!

Helpful Hint: ALWAYS tell someone where you are going, and when you expect to be back.

This is a repost of an article that originally appeared in “Desert Exposure”. Check them out at:

June 2013 – CD Trail off of Signal Peak Road

Name: CD Trail from Signal Peak Road

Distance: various

Difficulty: moderate

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Directions: Starting at the intersection of Highway 15 and 32nd Street in Silver City, drive north on Highway 15 for 12.8 miles to Forest Road 154 (on the right after cattle guard). Forest Road 154 is known to the locals as Signal Peak Road. Take this road 4.1 miles and look for Forest Road 4256B marked on your left. Park. Walk along on 4256B. There are two forks in the road. At the first fork, stay left. Go through the gate. At the next fork, you will see a yellow arrow pointing to the left; stay to the right on this fork. In a few minutes you will come to the CD Trail and have to choose left or right. Both are beautiful hikes. This hike describes the hike to the left.

Hike Description: This is a well-marked trail that winds down the side of a mountain and then back up the other side. You will hit a road at the bottom of the trail (I believe it is 4256B). We continued on the CD Trail and meandered up the other side. You will enjoy long-range views and a pine-tree-covered trail.

Notes: I categorized this hike as “moderate” due to the steep climb back up that mountainside. This whole area has interesting things to explore. There are several trails and dirt roads to hike. If you follow the yellow arrows described at the beginning of the hike, you will find Forest Service snow-measuring apparatus. If you drive or hike to the top of the main road (154), you will come to another CD access point, other trail heads and, farther on, the Signal Peak Lookout Tower.

Please note that Signal Peak Road (Forest Road 154) is closed in the winter.

This is a repost of an article that was originally published in “Desert Exposure”. Check them out at:

May 2013 – Cross Mountain

Name: Cross Mountain Road

Distance: 2.95 miles round-trip

Difficulty: Moderate

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Directions: Starting at the corner of Highway 15 and 32nd Street in Silver City, take Highway 15 (a.k.a. Pinos Altos Road, a.k.a. P.A. Road) north 6.0 miles. On the right, you will see a street sign that says, “Cross Mountain Road.” Turn right onto the road and drive 0.12 mile and park; there are a few pull-off spots to park in. If you have a high-clearance vehicle and nerves of steel, you can drive up farther. Good luck with that….

Hike Description: An uphill hike on a rough dirt road with lots of boulders, potholes, etc. to traverse. I recommend hiking sticks for this one. You will travel 1.45 miles on this road until you reach a small white cross with an arrow on it on the right side of the trail. Take this trail the remaining way up the hill. Along the way there are attractive places for views and a few nicely shaded areas with pine trees. When at the top of this trail, you will be rewarded with seeing a huge white cross on top of the mountain along with views of Silver City and points south. For more information about the history of the cross, check out my blog entry,

Notes: There are several other trails to explore along this road. Enjoy checking out the town of Pinos Altos from this angle; it’s interesting to see the town sitting on the hillside.

Helpful Hint: If you want to see wildlife, leave your dog at home and focus on being quiet.

This is a repost of an article that originally appeared in “Desert Exposure”. Check them out at: