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A Trail #119, NM

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Guide 70 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List NM > Southeast
4 of 5 by 2
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Difficulty 3.5 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance One Way 4.8 miles
Trailhead Elevation 7,256 feet
Elevation Gain -2,647 feet
Accumulated Gain 251 feet
Avg Time One Way 2 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 5.64
Interest Peak
Backpack Yes & Connecting
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
1  2014-01-01 tarryon
19  2013-12-22
Quarry Canyon
3  2013-10-23 tarryon
48  2013-09-30
Alamo Peak Trail #109
Author imike
author avatar Guides 253
Routes 0
Photos 6,930
Trips 2,467 map ( 21,513 miles )
Age 69 Male Gender
Location Cloudcroft, NM
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Apr, Mar, Oct, Nov → Any
Seasons   ALL
Sun  5:51am - 6:02pm
Official Route
0 Alternative
Named place Nearby
Changing... to stay the Same!
by imike

The Forest Service recently re-designated the orientation of their Trail #119. This is the "A" trail that winds down from West Side Road, dropping 2600' to the edge of the city below. At least it used to drop down from West Side Road. Now, the maps are all wrong. The official start for this trail begins inland from the main road, giving over it's upper section to Dry Canyon Trail (#5573). Now, to access T119, you need to head down T5573 for less than 1/2 mile to intersect the new trailhead.

Note: T119 is now marked on the maps incorrectly.

It appears this alteration was to facilitate the ATV access along that route. The Forest Service must have finally decided it would be easier to give in to the illegal use... fighting it was not a winning approach. The huge boulders that were periodically rolled across the trail to block the access was just as readily rolled away by the ATV advocates. So, now, it is legal to ride the ATV's down that route, connecting the full length from lower Dry Canyon.

The new trailhead sign for #119 does designate that the route on down to the city is not open to ATV use, but the abuse on the upper portions will likely continue. The sign also says that the trail is open to motorcycle use; interesting in that the lower trailhead sign now designates that "A" trail is no longer open for motor bikes. I guess you can ride down the hill but not up?

Trail 119 remains the best hiking route for accessing West Side road from Alamogordo, or visa versa... it passes adjacent to the two highest points: Ortega Peak and Hershberger Peak. It is the only non-canyon route up and down the mountain. It also provides an easy connection to the extended reaches of Mineral Springs Trail and the Ortega/Dry Canyon Traverse, creating looping options for all of the Alamogordo area canyon hikes.

Below Ortega Peak, the trail averages over 900' per mile in up/down gradient... this is the trail to enjoy some high quality training, yet it rarely sees much hiking traffic.

So... everything changes... and, pretty much stays the same.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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2012-10-09 imike

    One-Way Notice
    This hike is listed as One-Way.

    When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

    Most recent of 145 deeper Triplog Reviews
    A Trail #119
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    Fifth trip up the hill to work on retrieving the Monster Crystal... Alas, once the Travois was constructed and the rock mounted... I needed a bigger Mule! So... Crystal Rock: Four... Hounders: One! I have a few more ideas... and in the end... might break it in two!? At 70-90 pounds each, that will still be a load, but within range of what is possible with a frame pack... down hill!

    At least scoring good Rock Hounding on the 2500' climb!
    A Trail #119
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    Energy off at beginning of day, so ran some errands and did bike ride in hopes of improvement. alas... still felt off at beginning of hike. Given this was to be a "training" hike, I opted to load up the pack and go slow with heavy effort. I was to have gone long. So, 50+ up the hill, and a steep hill it is. 65+ down the hill (oft loaded the tools and filled the pack with rocks!) Started the day with over 20# of drinks... left a number up the hill for future hikes.

    May have had a low grade fever? Was sweating even hiking down the hill. Now, home... feel as if I did at least score enough of a workout to maintain in not improve conditioning.

    Motivation was low!
    A Trail #119
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    Sort of back on track with the Progressive Training Series. I failed to adjust start time for time change, so ended up cutting day a bit short. Energy was off. Legs were on and off... tired? Interesting tumble! Hauled a small amount of rock, but brought the heavy shovel down. Enjoyed Hot Turkey Posole!

    Now... need to decide just where to take this. I'll score the 9,000' day by end of year; should not be a problem. Beyond that, structure to just maintain or add some strength and speed? Or... do stupid and make a run for some new record? too old, but interesting to think about.
    A Trail #119
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    So... Rock 2... Hikers 0!!
    Dropped in from West Side Road with trailer... two miles and 1,000' odd feet down. I realized on the way in we'd need to not try to come back up, but once at the rock, they wanted to go uphill with the rock.!!? So, we tried. They made it 300 yds? Now... go back with a Travois for downhill attempt?

    They were fried... interesting to see if they come back for third set!
    A Trail #119
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    Harvesting 200# brown Calcite... Alas... 180# in one boulder! Removed it from hillside, but now need to haul it 2500' down the mountain... 3 miles one way! Oh, well. I'll give some thought to how best to make that happen... good exercise day? I hauled lots of tools up the mountain this morning... makes for slow going. Darrel and Luster impressed with the giant crystal!
    A Trail #119
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    Day began with a shot of Pickle Juice! Up at 4am... but...Not recovered from yesterday's hike with the heavy pack... so, delayed start of today's Progressive hike... from 6:45am... till around 8am. Rode bike to trailhead and headed on up. Motivation High, just the opposite of my norm. Alas, I could barely accommodate a rock hounding pace. No energy or strength. I hiked slow! And, that pace yielded lots of rocks, which I piled all along the trail. I also dropped off fluid stashes, scoring a lighter uphill pack. A trail averages around 900' per mile; great for training!

    This was to be a 4100' day in the Progression, but I decided to combine yesterday's effort with today. Easier and yet enough, especially if I load the pack for the downhill... and that is what I did. Energy finally started to come back up about six hours into my 9 hour day. I also scored some exceptional rock, most of which is still up along the trail. One is buried along the trail: huge brown calcite vein. Over 2' long, six inches thick... and 12" exposed above ground. I'm not sure how deep it goes... need to go back up with tools! That will be an interesting hauling day.

    So... Progressive continues at ten day intervals... 500' added each time until I'm trained back up for a 9,000' day? Time will tell.
    A Trail #119
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    Sixth week of the Progressive Training hike! Today: to the Peak then down... and back up 500'... 3600' day. Not with last week's 100 Pound pack! I hope I learned my lesson. Today: 38#. I'm home an hour sooner, even with the extra mileage and elevation. Solo today... had a couple folk signed up, but they canceled on the day. Makes sense... repeats make for a hard day, physically and motivationally! Only gets longer and tougher from here forward. I need to plan in greater detail. Time to start the weight vest for the uphill... and plan an appropriate weight of rocks for the descent. 5-6 more months?

    I could now hit Ortega Peak in under 3 hours... not sure how much under. another six weeks and maybe I'll trim that to under 2 hours?
    A Trail #119
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    Interesting day. Luster had never checked out the Womack Mines, so we parked up on West Side Road with the intent of hiking over to and down Dry Canyon trail, to the unmarked Hell's Hole trail... then down and around to the mines. I'd planned on going off trail over to yet another system of mines to create a nice loop up and around to West Side.

    Arriving at the upper section of tailings, we discovered the heavy rains this season had placered out the side hill! Color everywhere. We gathered. I explored the upper mine entries. Dendretic rocks... Azurites... Copper... lots of fun rock! I filled my pack (brought the full frame... mistake?) and called the off trail section out of bounds. I knew I'd need the better footing and easier grades of the old mine roads.

    Before we headed up the hill had to do a bit of first aid... Luster drove the spike end of his pick through his hand...! :( ... and heavy storm started to roll in. We made it into the truck just as the rains hit. 50 Degrees!

    Home... weighed the pack: 91#!! So, got my leg workout.

    We need to go back... find Lusters rock hammer and finish checking out the other mine system!

    Good day...
    A Trail #119
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    Once again? I may have corrected the metabolic issues limiting my energy levels (?)... So, time to try to regain some of the performance levels? Need both new muscle mass, better cardio, and overall endurance (miles and elevation). Today is about that last one. First day in a six to nine month series to progressively add until I am capable of a 9,000' day. That would likely be 20-25 miles. While that is just half of my personal best day, and well below what I used to consider a baseline of conditioning (12,000'/30 mile) it is likely the best I can hope for... and, I'm liable not to reach even this lower level. Worth the effort.

    I plan to go slow... adding about 500' each week until I'm training in the 7-8,000' range... then I'll add in some weight augmented aspects. Sometime next year, guess I'll go for an event day to hit that 9,000' mark... then decide if it is viable to go for more. Doubt I'll have the motivation even if I get lucky enough to hit the mark.

    Oh, well!
    A Trail #119
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    Marble North S4
    This one has been on the calendar a number of times... and viewed from surrounding ridges for years. Finally, it happened.

    Ross and Mary were looking for a shorter day; they hiked in with me up Marble North. As always, that canyon is just so nice! Instead of entering the bottom of the S4 Cut, I opted for an earlier, lower approach. We had determined the lower dryfall blocked the canyon access, so I headed up the sidehill to the west. Hyper steep, it carried me up to the cliff bases where I encountered an over grown blockage... but working through all that, I made it to the cliffs... and a break that suggested a possible route.

    The cut turned delightfully vertical. It did let me up. Once on the ridge I traversed around and down into the S4 drainage, to find yet another overgrown section stretching up to yet another dryfall blockage. To save time, I moved back out and up, re-entering the cut above the dryfall.

    Bedrock... lots of nice Bedrock. ...and... overgrowth! I had to work my way through thick blockage. For those familiar with hikes in this area, this was sort of a combination of our Rap Steppes and Dead Elk Cut. I worked at clearing a route to make it easier if/when we returned.

    Climbing higher it proved to be more like Rap Steppes on Steroids! That and Deadfalls... lots of trees down.

    It climbed... and climbed. The cut ascended way up the north side of Hershberger Peak. Might be appropriate to name it Hershberger North Cut..?

    Once up, exit options were numerous. I'd originally planned to cross over into Surprise and enjoy the easier down into Marble South. I could simply head down Hershberger Ridge. Instead, I hiked around and up to overview Marble South, North Fork. To my surprise, I was above the Amphitheatre... by a couple hundred feet. The peak was not that far above me?

    Longterm plans include a new trail up to the peak along the north ridge... this was an opportunity to check our more of the options for that route. I angled up and around enjoying a fairly open and easier path. I scored great vantage point overviews of canyons to the north... and an ever changing view of Ortega Peak.

    As I looped from the west side of the mountain to the east side, a had a couple of concerns. Daylight... getting off the trail before dark. Energy... and final route. From Hershberger I could descend the Mesa ridge and traverse to drop down Rockachucky right at my house... or... I could continue to move further east and connect with the "A" Trail for a trail descent. I decided on that. I got lucky on route... looping high above the blocking side cuts on the north... dropping just below the saddle between the peak and false peak. I only had 100' of climbing to score the trail around the north side of the false peak. It was further on down than I remembered to hit the trail... but I was there by 2:30pm.

    At that point I was 7 miles from home. Six years ago that would have been a two hour trek. Now... I'd be lucky if I could complete the 4.5 miles of the trail in those two hours. That is how it worked out. And, I got lucky at the trailhead. Ross and Luster and been monitoring my progress. They both knew this would be an overly long day for me. I scored a ride home!

    It would have been a much easier day if I had not had an expandable pack along... I scored 20# of great rocks as I worked my way up S4... adding a bit too much to the day. I was beaten up by end of day. Also, glitched left knee early on but managed to have a nearly complete correction by the time I was down the hill.

    End of day: big salad! Bed!

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    FR / Dirt Road / Gravel - Car Okay

    To hike
    From Alamogordo, take hiway 82 to High Rolls. Turn south (right) on to West Side Road (Forest Road 90) and follow it to the New Trailhead sign, approximately seven miles in...
    page created by imike on Oct 09 2012 5:50 am
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