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Alex Eriksson
(aeriksson) - M

Locale: Austin, TX
Good Southern New Mexico Backcountry? on 02/26/2013 00:33:45 MST Print View

I'm trying to get a rather last minute trip together for this weekend. We had considered Guadalupe Mountains National Park but will be holding off on that until my lovely girlfriend can join us. Additionally, I'm trying to find somewhere that A) allows me to bring my trusty canine hiking buddy, and B) might allow fires (which rules out Texas). Does anyone have any suggestions for something in the southern 1/3 of New Mexico? I see Lincoln National Forest on a map, but haven't found much info about where to actually hike IN said forest. We're coming from Austin and I'm trying to keep the drive in the single digits, but hopefully there will be enough of us to drive in shifts if we're going further.

Any help would be greatly appreciated! Our fallback plan is to do Big Bend, but I'll have to find someone to watch my pup, which is a drag, but hey sometimes it's the only way (hence why it's the fallback plan).

Kevin Buggie
(kbuggie) - M

Locale: NW New Mexico
White Sands N.M. in NM on 02/26/2013 11:12:15 MST Print View

The Lincoln NF is vast, and outside of hunting season as deserted as any wilderness around. Much of it will also be under snow right now. Throw a dart at the map and have fun, but the area around Ruidoso/Ski Apache suffered widespread fires recently.

If the snow camping fits your fancy I'd recommend heading to the area around the village of Cloudcroft (8000' ish). The 'Rim Trail' starts just south of town at the turnoff to Weed, and follows the western rim of the Sacremento Mountains for atleast 16 miles, including numerous overlooks of the White Sand N.M., four thousand feet below.

If you prefer more warmth, consider an overnight in the backcountry of White Sands National Monument itself; spectacular with a near full moon! Dogs allowed, but no wood fires.
http://www.nps.gov/whsa/planyourvisit/upload/Backcountry_Camping_final_1_3_12.pdf

The drive would probably preclude you from going as far as the Gila N.F./Wilderness on the western side of the state, but if you dare, Turkey Creek hotspring area is classic southern NM backcountry.

HK Newman
(hknewman) - MLife

Locale: Earth (mostly)
Re: Good Southern New Mexico Backcountry? on 02/26/2013 11:56:58 MST Print View

The Lincoln NF around Carlsbad (check out Last chance canyon and if you are up to it cross-country in desert, think there's a loop with some neighboring trails, etc...) is actually desert but with the recent rains, there may be slightly more than a trickle of water. Not as developed TH as the Gila or northern NM but still used. Kind of an oasis but a group hike got only a little water in Dec.,with the recent snows, could be more. The middle fork of the Gila will be good and Argentina:Bonito creek trails are open north of Ruidoso (not the Blue Front). Watch the weather though.

Here ya go. For some reason it's showing the trail closed but fire season ended last July. You may want to call..


http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/lincoln/recreation/recarea/?recid=34278

Edited by hknewman on 02/26/2013 16:44:06 MST.

Q Smith
(neotech@ktc.com) - MLife

Locale: Texas Hill Country
Go west some on 03/02/2013 18:44:29 MST Print View

I found the aldo Leopold wilderness to be excellent.
Aspen trail awesome. Black canyon trail had a nice stream.

Water available. Fires welcome.

Q

Q Smith
(neotech@ktc.com) - MLife

Locale: Texas Hill Country
Re: Re: Good Southern New Mexico Backcountry? on 03/08/2013 16:38:32 MST Print View

I thought Bonito was the center of the fire last June...

Q

HK Newman
(hknewman) - MLife

Locale: Earth (mostly)
Re: Re: Re: Good Southern New Mexico Backcountry? on 03/08/2013 17:30:49 MST Print View

Bonito is mostly open but the trails and campsites south of there are closed (just looking at the latest maps). The Gila is getting some snow but the Rangers on the phone say there's not much accumulation earlier this week. Kind of jives with my observations snowshoeing in central NM - get a loose blanket of snow that looks impressive but it quickly melts off.

Hope there's enough moisture to keep everything open and relatively fire-free this summer. For March I'd plan to be sticking to the Middle Fork for water (and am).

Q Smith
(neotech@ktc.com) - MLife

Locale: Texas Hill Country
HK - your map sources please on 03/16/2013 09:28:48 MDT Print View

HK,

What maps did you use? I left from central texas the morning the fire started. When i left all was good. by the time i got to ruidoso my trip was shut down. i'm still eager to hike the area if it is open!

Q

HK Newman
(hknewman) - MLife

Locale: Earth (mostly)
Re: map sources please on 03/16/2013 12:37:01 MDT Print View

Here's the map I downloaded a little over a month ago, though check the rangers to see if the closure areas are in effect. There's also a logging order. I'll be there in a few weeks myself, so I may call before I leave.

Map accessed 3 Feb 2013 (source: USFS website for Lincoln NF)White Wilderness fire closure map

Red shaded area was closed due to fire damage, though I'm not sure about now. I know Ruidoso wants to get everything back to normal for tourist season but call first.

We were on the way to Bonito Creek too when the fire hit. My buddies were an hour ahead when they saw the smoke driving into Alamogordo; I got online and found out about the closure, so we hiked Lincoln National Forest's Rim Trail, south of Cloudcroft NM. Not as alpine but the vegetation is usually greener.

Edited by hknewman on 03/16/2013 12:40:20 MDT.

Q Smith
(neotech@ktc.com) - MLife

Locale: Texas Hill Country
Thanks H K on 03/24/2013 18:28:19 MDT Print View

good data. Thanks