Nov 12, 2009 at 1:09 pm #1241637
I would like to do a 2-3 day trip somewhere in New Mexico or southern Colorado this month. I want to avoid snow, but will be equipped to handle it if necessary.
One place I was considering was the Mogollon Baldy Trail in the Gila Wilderness. I might camp at Hummingbird Saddle, weather permitting, and do day hikes from there. I usually hike in the South San Juan Wilderness near Platoro, but I figure it's going to be below freezing and/or snowing there by now.
I have an REI Sub-Kilo sleeping bag, a Tarptents Contrail, Micro Puff jacket and trousers, Marmot Reactor fleece top, Mountain Hardwear Microchill fleece bottom, and Capilene 3 top and bottom. For ground insulation I have a GG Nightlife pad, but could bring a Ridgerest if the Nightlife is insufficient.
I was thinking about getting a Backpacking Light PRO 90 Quilt to use in conjunction with my Micro Puff top and bottom, but maybe that's too risky for November. Any thoughts on this?Nov 12, 2009 at 7:01 pm #1544917
@davecLocale: Crown of the Continent
Extrapolating the 90 relative to my 60, I'd say it'd be too light for almost anywhere in the US right now. Maybe the Sonoran Desert and that's about it.
If you're whiling to drive a bit, head to Utah. Backpacking in the Needles in Canyonlands is fantastic right now and you'd almost certainly have it all to yourself. Snow is possible, but unlikely.Nov 13, 2009 at 10:35 am #1545076
Keep in mind that the main access road to the Mogollon Mountain high country (Bursum Road) will be closing for the season in another week or so. I believe they gate the road around the Redstone Park trailhead east of Mogollon ghost town. That would limit your ability to reach the Crest Trail to Mogollon Baldy without a more protracted climb, any of which would also involve multiple fords of Whitewater Creek en route. The distance and scope of such a hike might well prove beyond the range of a leisurely 2 or 3 day trip involving a base camp.
The Mogollons may still harbor some snow from a storm system that rolled through a few weeks ago, though it's likely nothing prodigious. However, another front is punching into the Southwest today and into this weekend, which, while fairly weak, should be cold enough to support some fresh snow in the high country.Nov 15, 2009 at 3:45 am #1545395
Brett, thanks for the info, disappointing though it may be.Nov 15, 2009 at 9:56 am #1545425
How about hiking a loop from the Catwalk Trailhead:
Whitewater Creek Trail – South Fork Whitewater Creek Trail – Holt-Apache Trail – Deloche Trail – Whitewater Creek Trail.
This would be under 25 miles in length, which might allow enough time for a spur trip to nearby Grouse Mountain. A more ambitious trip might continue along the Holt-Apache Trail to Spruce Creek Saddle, then down the Redstone Park Trail, rejoining Whitewater Creek higher up that drainage. This would add about 11 miles to the trip. But the core loop itself would spend less time at elevation than an all-Crest type of hike. And half of the miles spent (unavoidably) fording creeks would occur along the South Fork of Whitewater Creek, which is less than half the flow of the main fork, most of the time, and likely a rock hop right now.
The scenery along those creeks is spectacular, by the way.Nov 15, 2009 at 2:01 pm #1545458
@eugeneiusLocale: Nuevo Mexico
Bear with me on this one, I don't know if you are looking for a leisurely weekend in the mountains or are looking to cover some territory in a short amount of time, but (Day 1) Redstone Park via #207 starting at The Catwalk is a perfect destination along Whitewater Creek Trail #207, done in a day with plenty of time for settling in for the evening, there are a couple really primo sites to pitch tarp and get water immediately off trail. Whitewater Creek isn't really flowing hard, rarely does, if you cross right you don't get wet all the way up to the base of Whitewater Baldy, just bring some poles and hop the stones. The next trail intersect is #206 right in the Redstone Park vicinity depending on where you camped, #206 offers a semi-arduous but doable dayhike opportunity for Center Baldy and if you're ambitious a double summit of Center Baldy then hike north up to Whitewater Baldy (2nd summit) along the Crest Trail #182, then shoot down Hummingbird Saddle, descend the switchbacks down to Whitewater Creek and hike #207 W back to Redstone Park (Day2, dayhike). That would be a big counterclockwise loop hike with a fair amount of elevation gain and loss but is definitely doable and would give you great views of both the east and west portions of the Gila Wilderness extending into the Gila River basin. Day 3 you could pack up and head back W along #207 out of Redstone Park and back to The Catwalk.
Day 1 (#207) Catwalk> Redstone Park
Day 2 Dayhike (#206, #181, #182, #207) Redstone Park to Center Baldy via (#206, #181) and connect to #182 Crest Trail north to Whitewater Baldy, then descend SW to #207 down the switchbacks back to Restone Park.
Day 3 (#207) Redstone Park> Catwalk
Just an idea, good luck wherever you go. Weather is looking clear in Southern New Mexico for the next week, cooler temps but dry.
Cheers.Nov 15, 2009 at 2:06 pm #1545461
That could certainly work too. Personally, I'd try to work South Fork Whitewater Creek Trail into the trip. It traverses arguably the most impressive gorge in the Gila Wilderness, shy of the Middle / West Forks of the Gila River.Nov 15, 2009 at 2:18 pm #1545463
@acrosomeLocale: Back in the Front Range
I did a trip to the Great Sand Dunes National Park recently:
Does that count as "southern" Colorado?
Don't know about snow, though. We just had a storm here (Colorado Springs) last night, and WeatherBug had a 40% chance of snow listed for La Veta. Still, the San Luis valley often escapes when the Sangre de Cristos get snow. You could call and ask the rangers.
I've got to back Dave up on the quilt question. I've got a Pro 180 quilt and there is no way I would use it in Colorado right now. (Though, admittedly, I'm a new Coloradoan.) Heck, I'm breaking out my zero-degree bags…Nov 16, 2009 at 9:03 am #1545638
@akajutLocale: Central Oklahoma
Turkey Creek Hot Springs is listed as year around in the Falcon Hiking Gila Wilderness book. You could do the first night there, do a loop and spend the last night before you leave.
There's a couple of routes to get on the Mogollon River where you could do a loop to get up to Mogollon Peak.Nov 17, 2009 at 2:51 pm #1545940
Thanks for all the great trip ideas!
Re: the BPL 90 quilt, I wasn't suggesting that I use it alone. I would be wearing Capilene 3 tops and bottoms and a Micro Puff jacket and trousers. Do you guys think it would still be insufficient under those circumstances?Nov 17, 2009 at 4:35 pm #1545972
Paul, I think you should forget about trying southern Colorado now, unless you have a 0-10*F bag. Alamosa is a serious cold sink, and they think it could get down to 2*F tonight. (Dean, welcome to CO–the other major cold spot here you should know about is Fraser, by the way).Nov 23, 2009 at 7:31 am #1547338
@acrosomeLocale: Back in the Front Range
No way. Still not enough. No joke. At least not in Colorado.
Gary- GREAT to be here! Loving it.
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