Jun 3, 2012 at 6:11 am #1290630
A friend and I are planning a trip to the White Mountain Wilderness next weekend (6/8-6/10). We plan on hiking up the Argentina Trail (#39) to the Crest Trail and then looping down the Aspen Trail (#35) and Big Bonito Trail (#36). Anybody have recent information about the availability of water on these trails? I've heard reports that many of the springs that are usually running are currently dry…Jun 3, 2012 at 8:27 am #1883514
I hiked the Crest Trail last weekend. Argentina Spring is dry (up near Crest Trail junction). Spring Cabin pail I am not sure of but may be dry. Bonito Seep had small pools of running water and is where we and other groups got water. It is a low snow year.
Not on your loop, but the poly tube south of Elk Point is running slowly and Ice Spring has small pools.Jun 3, 2012 at 11:45 am #1883560
ok, this is freaky. either something is broken or this is a coincidence beyond belief. my name is smith, i'm from texas, i'm going on the same trails, the same dates, with a friend, and i came here to ask the same question.
i spoke to a ranger and heard we cannot count on argentina spring, spring cabin, or in general the higher altitude water sources.Jun 3, 2012 at 11:59 am #1883569
Thanks for the information, John. I've been trying to figure out ways to extend our hike a bit, so a trip off the main loop to the tube south of Elk Point might also work. Looks like about 1.5 miles from Bonito Seep to there. Does that sound about right to you?Jun 3, 2012 at 12:01 pm #1883571
You're right, Q: it is a little freaky. Or maybe not. After all, we can't very well hike in Texas this time of year, can we? Just stands to reason that we'd head to the nearest high altitude trails. As far as the name is concerned, we've probably both been dealing with too many Smiths our whole lives. :)
I'll be watching for you on the trail. I'll be the thirsty-looking one.Jun 3, 2012 at 12:31 pm #1883583
That is about right. It is mostly uphill.Jun 3, 2012 at 12:58 pm #1883589
@jpilhoeferLocale: West Texas
I was also looking at doing something in this area in the next week or two! I found the following trip report:
looks like it is pretty dry up there.
I recently hiked Mills Canyon to Monjeau Lookout and there was a very little stream activity.Jun 5, 2012 at 1:43 pm #1884282
William, you are so right about gettin out of the heat.
We will be going slow and easy:
Saturday our party will probably camp just a mile or so in the forest.
Sunday make our way past white horse hill to the crest for the evening.
Monday slip past argentina peak to nogal and camp.
Tuesday head out and then head home.
enjoy your venture!!
QJun 5, 2012 at 1:46 pm #1884284
that link goes to a nice trip report
qJun 5, 2012 at 3:43 pm #1884331
I did that trail almost a month ago and there was very little water near the crest. What was left was pretty murky. Might have some rain this week but I'd plan on getting water low.Jun 6, 2012 at 12:34 pm #1884616
I'm watching the rain, but my plan is hike as far as i can before watering up. i'm hoping to get pretty far up bonito creek. time will tell.Jun 6, 2012 at 1:30 pm #1884632
I'll second HK on getting water low and tanking up to the Crest. I ran the very same loop you're planning on taking and even during the monsoon months, water along the Crest is always hit or miss. You can usually get water further up the Aspen Trail before you pop out of the trees and up the grassy switchbacks to White Horse Hill, but with the dry conditions we're having, I wouldn't rely on that source.
More than water concern, check regularly for fire updates. Last year the forest service closed down White Mountain Wilderness entirely until substantial rains came. Considering we're undergoing our state's largest wildfire, unseasonably dry windy conditions, and warm temps, there is a good possibility Stage 1 fire restrictions or closure is imminent.Jun 8, 2012 at 6:31 pm #1885390
Those concerned with this thread or the Ruidoso Bears thread:
If going to the White Mountain Wilderness near Ruidoso NM, there's a new 100-acre fire closing the southern parts of Bonito, the Southfork, and the adjacent parts of the crest trail.
Some traditional backpacking buddies of mine called me from the White Sands border checkpoint and reported the Three-Rivers side of the mountain is pretty much engulfed in flame and smoke (i.e. "toast"). Looks like our backpacking is smoked, as we were heading to the trails closed at the end of this post.
Also those above may need to try Cloudcroft or go further to Socorro NM
Little Bear Fire Information Update
JUNE 8, 2012 BY
For Immediate Release: Wednesday, June 08, 2012, 17:00 p.m.
Smokey Bear RD Fire Information – (575) 257-4095
Detected: Monday, June 4, 2012 15:00 p.m. Cause: Lightning Strike Containment: unknown Location: White Mountain Wilderness, 15 miles North of Ruidoso, NM
Fuel Type: Mixed Conifer Terrain: Steep and Rugged
Summary: The fire is burning at high elevation in the White Mountain Wilderness. The steep, rugged terrain along with heavWildfirey accumulations of dead and down fuels, is making suppression difficult on the ground. It is burning in dense mixed conifer. Initial attack began the evening of 6/4/12. Smoke is very visible today from Ruidoso/Capitan/Carrizozo areas. It is anticipated that the smell of heavy smoke will drift down the mountain to the Village of Ruidoso overnight … etc, etc….
Structures Threatened: None at this time. Nearest structure is Spring Cabin 4 miles NE.
Closures: White Mountain Wilderness Trails # 19 and 44 will be closed. Trail #25 going North to Ski Apache will be closed as well along with the southern access to Trails 36 and 37.
###Jun 8, 2012 at 6:38 pm #1885394
Glad I went over Memorial Day weekend.Jun 9, 2012 at 11:19 am #1885512
Fire now estimated at 10,000 acres…from 100 to 10,000 in a few days?
Little Bear Fire – June 9 AM Update
June 9, 2012
The Pecos Zone Type III Incident Management Team (Northcott IC) took over management of the Little Bear Fire on Saturday June 9, 2012 at 6:00 a.m. The Little Bear Incident Command Post is currently set up at the Smokey Bear Ranger District Office.
Current Size: Estimated at 10,000 acres – The fire will be mapped today by GPS and a more accurate estimate of size will be provided in this evenings update.
Summary: The fire is actively burning in steep, rocky, inaccessible terrain in the White Mountain Wilderness of the Lincoln National Forest. The fire has been actively suppressed since it was detected on Monday June 4th. Due to the difficult steep and rugged terrain it has been difficult to access the fire.
Fire personnel are using both direct and indirect suppression tactics to contain the fire and keep it from moving further north northeast and southwest. Extreme fire activity was observed on the entire fire perimeter late last night.
Fire Behavior: Active fire behavior with flame lengths of 150 feet were observant over night. Red flag conditions in effect today.
Resources: Resources from the Forest Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), New Mexico State Forestry, Lincoln County Volunteer Fire Departments and Ruidoso Downs Fire and area volunteer departments have responded. Currently ordered 9-T1 hand crews, 36-Engines, 3 Helicopters, 7-water tenders, 2 air tankers with an additional 3 on order and will be available through out the day. Approximately 350 personnel are expected to be on the fire tomorrow.
Structures Threatened: There have been some structures lost but crews hope to complete damage assessment later today.
Closures: The following roads have been closed due to extreme fire activity: State Highway 532, Ski Run Road at Mile Marker 3, State Highway 48 to Capitan, Highway 37 to Highway 380
Evacuations: All campgrounds West of Bonito Lake, Villa Madonna Subdivision, Enchanted Forest, Nogal Canyon (Forest Road 400), Eagle Lakes Campground, Eagle Creek Summer Homes, Ski Run Road at Mile Marker 3, State Highway 532, Highway 48 to Capitan, Highway 37 to Highway 380 and Ski Apache. Shelters for evacuees have been set up at First Baptist Church on Country Club, Community Methodist Church, Senior Center at Ruidoso Downs, Church of Christ on Sudderth and Trinity Baptist Church in Capitan.
Smoke from the fire is impacting the community of Ruidoso and surrounding areas so please take precautions if you have any health or breathing issues.
Fire Information – 575-361-3404 and 575-937-0883
Saturday June 9, 2012
PIOs Joel Arnwine and Dusty Romero
Started: June 4, 2012
Containment: 0 percent above Bonito Lake
Location: White Mountain Wilderness
Fuel Type: Mix Conifer
Terrain: Steep and RuggedJun 9, 2012 at 12:40 pm #1885523
Yeah, they are even evacuating subdivisions; met some car campers told to leave the area. Forget trails -highways are closing. At night i could see the flames reach into the sky. Nogales canyon is pretty far north – this sucker is spreading.Jun 9, 2012 at 1:01 pm #1885527
This news is unfortunate.
Southern NM is being ravaged this year by fire; there isn't going to be much untouched wilderness left by the time monsoon season comes along.Jun 9, 2012 at 3:03 pm #1885543
We were chased off the trail by the fire on Friday night. It was pretty extreme. Trip report coming soon.Jun 12, 2012 at 8:06 pm #1886380
we checked and did not see any fire reports so we headed out, early saturday as we arrived in ruidoso we knew our trip was done. we back tracked to guadalupe mts in tx.
bummer on multiple counts:
1. lot of loss to folks
2. lot of forest gone for my lifetime (i'm 56)
3. lot of wildlife displaced
all i want to do is backpack in a place that has water and is less than a full days drive… alas, not to be unless i move.Jun 13, 2012 at 5:04 am #1886467
Glad to hear you bailed out, Q. We actually looked for your car at the trailhead as we evacuated Friday night. Also glad to hear you were able to salvage a trip–I love the Guadalupe Mts. but not their lack of water.
I feel your frustration about the difficulty of finding good hiking near Texas. Luckily, I can get to the Ouachita Trail (which usually, though not always, has water) in about four hours. Not the same as hiking around 10K ft, though.Jun 13, 2012 at 8:12 am #1886511
You both should consider, if you haven't, making the extra drive to hike in the Pecos Wilderness and the Sandias. The former is about as close to backpacking in the San Juans as you're going to get in NM, plenty of 12,000-13,000' peaks to bag and ridges to walk to fill up a weekend or more. I was up there the previous weekend with some BPL members and two of them made the 7.5 hr drive from Oklahoma City, grabbed a beer and dinner in Santa Fe and were on the trail the same evening. It is possible to hike from downtown postwith green chile burrito with your pack and be atop Santa Fe Baldy 12,xxx' by days end if you get after it and never even set foot in a vehicle.
I know a lot of Texans head for the Sacramentos as it is the closest second to the Guadalupes, but catching I-40 to Abq/Santa Fe isn't much further if you're heading in from the Dallas metro area and worth buckling down a few extra hours driving time.
Other areas not currently smoldering or up in flames:
Magdalenas- a relatively small footprint, but S. Baldy peak 10,500' dominates the range and is the states sixth most prominent peak, but far from the highest. If only out for a weekend, the Magdalenas have plenty to offer.
Black Range – northern most boundary of the Gila, not as lush as the once thriving Mogollons, or as scenic as the canyons of the Gila forks, the Black Range makes up in remoteness. Very few explore the Black Range and it has some unbelievably beautiful and challenging terrain. Hit Pie Town up before entering/exiting the area.
Aldo Leopold Wilderness – similar local geography as the Gila, rugged, remote, and expansive, but considerably less frequented. Not a significant distance from El Paso if heading in from the south.
Sandias- ideal weekend backpacking destination, close proximity to the panhandle via I40, or cheap flights into ABQ through Southwest. The Sandias are typically a day use area, but the nearly 11,000' range has an extensive trail network on both the east and west facing slopes. The western aspect of the Sandias is exposed and rugged, mosty used by climbers, trail runners, hikers, and mountain bikers, coming in from the foothills, but the East side of the Sandias is lush and offers plenty of multi day backpacking opportunities if you get creative. Water is the biggest issue, but it can be procured.
Manzanos- rugged, exposed, but high up and cooler than the desert valley of the Rio Grande. This small range also makes up a section of the Grand Enchantment Trail.
Desert- I realize that the desert mesas and valleys don't have the same "awe" factor as the alpine regions and forests, but they do offer getaway potential and serious adventure. We have plenty of High Desert to wander.Jun 15, 2012 at 12:33 pm #1887272
glad to hear you were safe as well. we do plan to hit ozarks this coming year. i do like the mts… we will even try the davy crockett trail this winter. i like to keep my feet moving!
qJun 15, 2012 at 12:36 pm #1887275
thanks for the information and for being up beat!!
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