Thursday, September 23, 2010

Cibola National Forest, NM.

Last weekend, Kirk and myself decided to explore the Cibola NF in West Central New Mexico. The original plan was to take a group of folks to Monticello Canyon who had never been there before, however they all bailed out the morning of the trip. This actually worked in our favor (as we've both been to Monticello several times) we were able to change our plans on the fly and explore some new areas in the forest. A plan was made and we were off. We entered the forest on FS226 off of I-25 North of T or C and travelled several miles before actually entering the forest.
Once entering the forest we headed west toward the mountains

The foothills had several dry creek crossings.

We travelled several miles through beautiful scenery and slowly gained elevation into the higher mountains.

After traveling up into the mountains we dropped down into Monticello Canyon at the half way point.

The big draw for off roaders in the canyon are the numberous stream crossings, not to mention the amazing scenery. In several places the stream actually becomes the road.

After exiting the canyon, we headed north on NM 52 for a few miles and then east into the forest again to find a camping spot for the night. We had planned on staying at one of the NF campgrounds, however they were all full, so we found a nice spot in the woods away from everyone. We got in pretty late, so dinner was made (Faitias, yummmm) and we spent the evening chatting away around the campfire.

The next morning we headed out, again we changed plans on the fly and took a side trip to a fire lookout on top of Mt Wilkerson. The side road was a narrow rough shelf road 4 miles up the mountain.

We arrived at the top and the veiws we amazing and well worth the side trip.

The lookout was locked up but you could walk around the cat walk of the building.

We came down from the lookout and headed west down the mountain into the valley.

On the way down we took another side trip and ran across this abandoned homested. It is still in very good shape, along with several out buildings.

You could also see the VLA (Very Large Array) you may remember it from the movie Contact.

Once we hit NM 60 and headed east toward the town of Magdalena. After gasing up, it was east toward the next Forest Rd. We again turned into the forest on Torreon Springs Rd. This would be our final rd before heading home. The road was 19 miles through the foothills back to I-25. This turned out to be a great drive, and the wildflowers were out in force.

Toward the end of the road, we came to a narrow canyon full of "S" curves, deep sand and high walls for approx 1 mile.

After the high canyons and a brief area of foothills it was a long stretch of flat desert road out to I-25, were we headed south toward home.
It was a great trip and and weekend out. We love our Jeep for it's ability to get us off the main roads and into the back country.

No comments: