Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Sierra Blancas

On Thursday afternoon, we arrived at the Rio Bonito trailhead in the Sierra Blancas, near Ruidoso, NM. This is a little piece of the state where Texans outnumber New Mexicans 20 to 1. And horses are in equal numbers to people. Seriously, there were pairs of hunters with three or four horses. Apparently, that's what it takes to pack out a whole elk without ATVs.

Our goal was to do some backpacking, but there seemed to be numerous short loop hikes. So, we opted for a 13-mile or so loop that brought us back to our vehicle the next day. Then on Saturday, we headed out for another loop which brought us back on Sunday.

Fall is in full swing. We missed the aspen, but the oaks are still changing. On Thursday and Friday the elk were bugling non-stop. On Saturday morning, that stopped suddenly as people with rifles and camouflage arrived.
I found some enticing rock cliffs, but I couldn't find a way to the base (without ropes). In the distance, we were overlooking the Valley of Fires to the west. We could also see as far as White Sands and the Organ mountains. The views from this little mountain are spectacular since they are grassy rather than forested along the ridges.

My hiking partners enjoying the sunset at our first campsite.
On Day 2, our goal was that pointy peak, called Nogal Peak. We couldn't find a way up it through the scrub oak, but had fun trying. The other side of the peak may be more promising. Vixen is watching a bear in the distance, our second bear of the day.Speaking of wildlife, let me give you the list of what we saw in those four days in a small mountain range:
  • Countless elk
  • 2 bears
  • Several flocks of turkeys
  • Countless osprey
  • 1 golden eagle
  • A few deer
Below, Vixen and I are enjoying the view from Elk Point on Saturday.

1 comment:

  1. Oh so beautiful! YOU'VE inspired me! May have to head this weay on my trip down. Mind if I post a link to it on my blog?