May 12, 2018
This is a lollipop loop hike that starts at the Canyon Estates Trailhead in Tijeras. It is a popular place on weekends and parking is limited with room for about 30 or so vehicles. There a couple of trails that start here. Look for the one with a Forest Service sign, that’s the one you want. We took the other one and had ourselves a short “preamble” hike for about an hour. Pretty much an hour lost. Once we found the correct trailhead we were on our way.
Like other areas with lots of trails, route finding can be a chore and this was. At the main intersection of South Crest, CCC, and Faulty Trails, we took the wrong turn and added .76 miles to our hike. The CCC trail can be tricky to find. We eventually did. It’s steep, going right up the side of the mountain with few switch backs and a bit hard to follow in places. It is a named trail on Forest Service maps but not USGS topos. Little used and quite enjoyable.
At the top we intersect with South Crest Trail and start back down. Adopted by the New Mexico Mountain Club, it’s well maintained and as good a quality as one could expect in this somewhat rocky terrain. The only real negative when on this trail is the traffic noise from nearby Interstate 40. We heard a group of motorcycles that came in loud and clear. An earlier start might help with that.
We liked this hike and will do it again, next time with a side trip to South Summit and no mistakes. CK, Nancy, King, SK Lund. Stats follow:
The hike done correctly is: 9.13 miles, 3120 feet of ascent, and took us 6 hours 28 minutes with good snack breaks.
Our actual for this hike was 9.81 miles.
Our preamble hike was .81 miles and 313 feet of ascent making the day 10.70 miles and 3433 feet of ascent.
May 5, 2018
Second time in for this hike. Things changed a lot in a year. We did a side trip to the river for lunch. Climb out was tough in 85 degrees and high humidity. Z, Judy Graham, SK Lund. 4.72 miles, 1654 feet ascent, 4 hours. Tougher than it looks.
May 5, 2018
Someone once said that adventure does not start until something goes wrong. Based on that I think we had one. Our experience included a little bit everything that could cook up an adventure. Box canyons, quick sand, getting lost, long distance, not enough food and water, and that canyon (the wrong one) clogged up with logs and potential cliff outs that, thankfully, were not there. When I got home 14 hours later, I was pretty damn sure I would never go back…then you get cleaned up, have a look at Shuhrong and Ken’s photos, and your mind starts to change. Hey maybe if we go this way instead of that, start earlier, bring more food and water, etc., etc. Pretty soon you’re making plans to go back someday.
We call this type II fun. Sucks while you’re doing it, then you forget the pain and you want to do it again.
About Mesa Montosa. It’s deceptively difficult. Broad and flat on top, it’s riven by deep canyons and buttresses of cap rock on 3 sides. It’s big too so it takes time to travel it. Some roads that are on the map do not exist in reality. After 2 tries, we finally made the top this time.
I was joined by 4 very hard core hikers on this: Jon Blakey, Ken Krasity, Nancy King, and Shuhrong. Take a look at Ken’s and Shuhrong’s photos in the Meetup gallery, there are a lot more than I have here. Our stats were 13.26 miles, 2555 feet of ascent, 8 hours, 45 minutes hike time.