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Desert Wasteland? - White Mountain Wilderness, NM, Three Rivers Canyon Trail, 12/30-12/31/10
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Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
"Desert Wasteland? - White Mountain Wilderness, NM, Three Rivers Canyon Trail, 12/30-12/31/10" on 01/05/2011 18:40:00 MST Print View

Frito Kid,

Whereabouts are you? We should try and meet up sometime for a hike if you're in the Las Cruces area. Footing would've been perfectly fine sans Microspikes, I only had them packed expecting icy creek crossing in the morning, which was the case leaving camp the 2nd day. Wore them all the way down but not wanting to fiddle with them taking them off, wasn't needed for more than 3 miles though. I appreciated the added traction on a few icy crossings leaving camp where the two guys who hiked out behind me lost their footing. I had teased with the idea of doing a loop up to the Crest Trail and coming down Dry Canyon but some of the guys weren't prepared for a full day of fresh powder hiking. The "Bowl" section of trail #44 around mile 7-8 leading up to the Crest is steep and Microspikes in the deep pow would've been worthless.


The VBL subway bag liners worked fine at keeping my socks dry, hence warm(ish). It was a poor mans solution that the fit the bill. Changes? A pair of Rocky Goretex socks are in the mail for some early spring trips. I'm done hiking through crusty spring snowpack in April with cold wet socks. The Adidas XT3's shoes worked surprisingly well but definitely provided no insulation as expected. I don't have enough experience on snow to really know what will work for me in the long run but I was happy with this short stint, still learning. If anything I learned that my feet get realllly cold easily. I'm more adept at handling hot sand and rocks than snow, I look for feedback from guys like you Mike! OR Flex Tex gaiters are great, fit is trim and snug, and the durability is a bonus for the slight weight over some of the lighter options like: Dirty Girl and Simblissity. They strike a good balance of fit, weight, coverage, and durability for me. Nylon instep strap are a bonus. I'd recommend them to a friend.

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Re: "Desert Wasteland? - White Mountain Wilderness, NM, Three Rivers Canyon Trail, 12/30-12/31/10" on 01/06/2011 07:20:28 MST Print View

Eugene said "I'm more adept at handling hot sand and rocks than snow, I look for feedback from guys like you Mike! "

fair enough :) I'm going to try and come up with a lightweight foot setup that will work for multi day trips, my current setup (a waterproof, insulated mid) works fine for day snowshoe trips, but I think moisture would spoil things on longer trips.

thanks for the feedback on the Flex Tex- I'm going to get set ordered

Hk Newman
(hknewman) - MLife

Locale: Western US
Re: "Desert Wasteland? ...." on 01/06/2011 17:23:34 MST Print View

@ Eugeneius - Just returned to between New Mexico and El Paso TX, so I will try the PM route. Backpacked around here for years before work sent me out of the area for 2 yr, plus just finished a 2 mo. California family vacation.

After traveling, New Mexico offers one the best contrast of deserts, forests, and mountains, except for drought years.

Edited by hknewman on 01/06/2011 17:26:30 MST.

Tony Wong
(Valshar) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: "Desert Wasteland? - White Mountain Wilderness, NM, Three Rivers Canyon Trail, 12/30-12/31/10" on 01/07/2011 00:23:28 MST Print View


+1 on what Richard said.

Holy crap! How did I not see your report til now?

Great report and you truly have a gift for words and painting us a picture with them of what it was like to be there.

You have definitely raised the bar when it comes to trip reports.

You should consider adding links to your other trip reports at the end of your most recent trip reports.

It would be a shame to cheat people of the opportunity to see and read about your other experiences.

Besides, with all the care and effort that you put into creating them, it would be a shame to let them get pushed into the back pages of the history of trip reports to be forgotten.

Few questions for you....did you shot the photos in black and white or did you convert them to black and white after your trip with software?

If so, what software program do you use?

As for maybe moving to a "real" camera, I think that with the smaller one you are going to take a lot more photos than with a DSLR.

I have a Canon Powershot SD880IS pocket camera on my last trip to Lassen National Park, I took some 900 photos and video clips over a 4 day trip.

On the same trip, my childhood friend, Jeff, took a fraction of shots that I did on his DSLR.

Still, it might be neat to see what your shots would look like if you had a different camera.

Anyway, really enjoy your trip report and you have opened up my eyes to the beauty in places so unlike the Sierras that I am fortunately to live close to.


Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
"Desert Wasteland? - White Mountain Wilderness, NM, Three Rivers Canyon Trail, 12/30-12/31/10" on 01/07/2011 10:57:22 MST Print View


You're always an encouragement, cheers!

All photos were taken on my Canon SD1400IS, all are full frame in color for widest range of information in the images (helps for when they are converted to grayscale in Aperture), I'm not happy with the 'B&W' setting in my cameras Priority mode. I've been using Aperture on my Mac for photo organizing and non-pixel based editing, these were done using this. The extent of my photo software use is for establishing desired Levels in my highlights, middle gray, and blacks, other than that I'm inept at photosoftware. I'm really an oldschool wet-lab kind of guy and know more about shooting with a Holga and developing or pushing 120 roll film.

Point and shoots are valid tools as a means to an end, the image quality just suffers along the way and has its limitations, the content of a photograph is always up to the user whether it's shot on a 3mp camera phone or a $20,000 Hasselblad. I enjoy my point and shoot very much and the pluses outweigh the minuses, but as I've been shooting more images lately my desire to have creative control from conception down to shadow detail has increased, I'm realizing my SD1400IS definitely has its strong points and increasingly noticeable weak points. The photographs I take are still just footnotes to my time outdoors though, the conversations, sights, smells, memories take precedence.

There are a lot of 4/3rds, full sensor, mirrorless digital cameras coming out now that open up a lot of opportunities, they give you slightly larger than point and shoot camera size but many of the benefits of using a fullsize DSLR (fullsensor, interchangeable fast lenses, manual controls, durability, image quality, high ISO, FullHD vid).

Thanks Tony!

Tony Wong
(Valshar) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: "Desert Wasteland? - White Mountain Wilderness, NM, Three Rivers Canyon Trail, 12/30-12/31/10" on 01/07/2011 17:55:49 MST Print View


I am using Photoshop Essentials 7.0, which is the watered down version of the program, which is fine by me as I am using the idiot features on it to do automatic clean ups.

The only things that I do with the photos beyond that are to zoom & crop some of the images.....close up photos of flowers is a common on.

Otherwise, I will adjust brighten and contrast manually to try to capture how bright it was when I took the shot, based on my memory.

I have yet to try to convert anything into black and white, but it looks cool with yours.

I might actually have to read the software manual to see how to convert to black and white.

Geez, you know what this means?

Now I have to try to write something like yours on my next photo essay. *sigh*

You are killing me man....I just like take way too many photo and then bore everyone to death with a rediculous amount of photos to hide the fact that I have no ability to write. :)

Lastly, have you seen the newest digital elph camera from Canon?

Set up from yours, but has 10x optical and shoots 720p HD video.

On Amazon, the feedback is that the battery only takes about 100 shot!?

Based on that, I would need like 3 lbs in batteries on my trips.

Think I get about 600-700 per battery on mine, but I don't use the flash much.

Take care and looking forward to your next trip report.


John Topping
(JohnT) - MLife

Locale: Peak District
Real quality on 01/11/2011 13:40:31 MST Print View

I've just got started with trip reports, and got some great feedback, but you've just raised the game again! Love the writing and the photos are superb, particularly the people shots. Thanks for the work you put into this.

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
Wasteland? on 01/12/2011 16:10:39 MST Print View

Thanks U,
Love your report as usual.

One of the great things about NM is that if you don't like your current climate, you can go up or down in elevation.

I remember leaving a hot muggy NY in August and arriving to very comfortable temperatures on the high plains and mountains of NM.
It even got cold at times.

Kerry Rodgers
(klrodgers) - MLife

Locale: North Texas
Awesome! on 01/18/2011 15:32:03 MST Print View

..both the trip and the report. Thanks to DaveC for tweeting this.

ben wood

Locale: flatlands of MO
nice on 01/22/2011 08:51:40 MST Print View

i just took another look at this report and like it alot. that pic of keith with the scraggly goat and guiness in a dirty sock at the trailhead is perfect. one of my favorite photos.
thanks man.

I would like to give a shout to some of the gear that made this trip comfortable when it could've been rough. One was the JRB hudson river quilt. i think it is rated to 20 or maybe 25, but with clothing it handled the single digits remarkably well. by 4am or so i did have on all my clothing. the other was a neoair (not mine) paired with a suluk46 padded frame, I did not feel any cold through the ground and the 14 hrs or so i spent on it was quite comfy. this also was my first trip with my new prophet and it didn't dissapoint.
All that said, when going on winter trips, DO NOT forget your gloves. it truly sucks. i had some extremely light liners and some pleather dress gloves, of course they both wetted out in like 5 minutes. luckily i had some extra wool socks (smartwool) that became my gloves for the rest of the trip, and i didn't allow them to ever come into contact with snow. it worked, but wasn't pleasant.

Steve Scarborough
(zehnmm) - F

Locale: southern New Mexico
Great Report on 01/26/2011 12:22:22 MST Print View

Eugene: Since I have been down with the flu until recently, I have only now seen your report. Well done!

I live in Alto, the other side of the Tularosa Basin, next to Ruidoso. Have yet to hike up from the Three Rivers trailhead. Have stomped around the Crest Trail quite a bit.

This area is really a great place for hiking. There are quite a few hiking opportunities here, with a number of trailheads just 15 min. from my house.

Again, thanks for sharing a magnificent post about your trip!



Philip Delvoie
(PhilipD) - MLife

Locale: Ontario, Canada
Desert Wasteland? - White Mountain Wilderness, NM, Three Rivers Canyon Trail, 12/30-12/31/10 on 04/10/2011 18:57:51 MDT Print View


Somehow I missed this one when you posted it. Great trip report and loved the pictures. Really enjoyed your writting.