DESCRIPTION: Second time will be a charm. We will do it this time, hopefully with one car left at the main trailhead and another at the spot we used on 02/17. We will cross the Central Mesa to the entrance to Unnamed Canyon and complete the loop by thrashing through it down to Largo and back to the vehicle at the main trailhead.
MEET WHERE: Overflow parking lot at Agora Shopping Center in Eldorado. It’s right next to the grocery store. See map. Look for the Silver Xterra with the traffic cone next to it.
MEET WHEN: Saturday, March 10th at 8:00 AM
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EVENT LOCATION: Sabinoso Wilderness approximately 37 miles East of Las Vegas
TYPE: Loop, partial exploratory
TERRAIN: Easy canyon walking, rough to extremely rough cross country with bushwhacking.
DISTANCE/ASCENT: 11 miles and 1800 feet.
CONDITIONS REQUIRED and EXPECTED: Dry weather 48 hours before event and dry forecast on event day. Incoming storms will postpone. High wind forecast will postpone.
HIKE TIME: 6 to 7 hours
EVENT TIME: 10 to 11 hours
February 17th, 2018
Okay so the original plan was to park at the main trailhead, hike down Canon Largo and up the unnamed canyon, looping across the central mesa. After looking at the map some more, I figured the best way would be to park at a strategic location 3 miles from the main trailhead, hike across central mesa, and down the unnamed canyon. That way, if we had to back out, it would be a fairly short hike back to the cars.
After driving 2 hours, Jon wanted to make a day of it so we did the opposite. Hike to the main trailhead (should have drove), down Largo and up Unnamed. Canon Largo is beautiful, has abundant water, even in a drought year, and is an outstanding destination even if you drive from Santa Fe. Things were swell until we got to Unnamed. I knew it was going to be a serious bushwhack. I also knew that the 10 to 20 foot rock band that rings every canyon around here, would be a serious obstacle. It was 1:30 PM by the time we started up the canyon. A lot of time had been burnt and if we were wrong, we would be hiking back or bushwhacking in the dark.
The terrain up that canyon was fierce. I kept looking for a way up and past the rock face that separates lower from upper. I found what looked to be one and headed up. My spot looked great until I got up close and saw an 8 foot, class 5 crack climb. If the angle had been slightly less or just a bit shorter, we could have done it. So close but so far…
By this time it was 2:30 PM and it had taken us 60 minutes to go less than half a mile. Reluctantly we turned around and started the 7+ mile hike back to the truck arriving at 5:00 PM. Thus ends the first try on the Largo Unnamed Loop.
Some 411 on Sabinoso. We saw no one in the canyon. There was a couple parked at the trailhead and no one else. The access road is good to excellent and any passenger vehicle should be able to handle it in dry conditions. A couple was driving down it as we hiked back to the truck. Driving. It’s about 2 hours from Santa Fe or less depending upon how vehicles are in a group, bathroom breaks, etc. It took us 1:45 going up and 2:00 coming back. There is no cell service once you are a few miles away from Las Vegas.
Stats: 14.46 miles (because we did not do the loop) 1631 feet ascent, 6:42 hike time.
The Rimrock Rose Ranch, which was purchased by the Wyss Foundation and turned over to the Wilderness Land Trust, is still private property, and travel is limited to the wilderness access road. In other words, the ranch is not wilderness and is not currently not open to the public. That’s what I can figure out. If you know more, please let me know.
We have unfinished business. I want to go back and finish that loop. Next time a car shuttle would be good and we are going down canyon not up. Want to go with us?
It takes an hour and 15 minutes to get to the parking spot on rocky 4×4 roads and it’s only 14 miles from downtown. We were hiking on a grey, cloudy day with rain in the forecast for later that evening. You can bet we were paying attention to the weather because it’s a very long and muddy walk to a paved road.
The last time I was on this route was almost exactly 5 years ago and I had always wanted to go back. I even scheduled it several times in the various Meetups I had run but it always got cancelled due to weather. I did a different route this time in order to avoid a steep arroyo crossing but missed the cowboy camp because of it. Next time we’ll cross that arroyo. Meghan Hurley, SK Lund, Jon Blakey. 8.22 miles, 1116 feet ascent, 5 hours and 26 minutes hike time.
It’s Blue Trail not Blue John. I was daydreaming about Utah when I wrote up the trip…Hikers were SK Lund, Jon Blakey, and Judy Graham. We went up to Cerro Grande first in melt out snow which go a bit heavier in the summit. No spikes were required. We followed that section with Blue trail. Most excellent views from the summit. Expect other trips in this area since I now have the lay of the land. 6.5 miles, 1520 feet, 3:42.