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Mineral Springs Trail #5579, NM

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Rated  Favorite Wish List NM > Southeast
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Difficulty 3 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance One Way 2.3 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,592 feet
Elevation Gain 1,500 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,550 feet
Avg Time One Way 1.5 Hours
Kokopelli Seeds 7.47
Interest Historic & Seasonal Creek
Post the 1st photoset!
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
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Preferred   Mar, Nov, Feb, Oct → Any
Seasons   ALL
Sun  5:48am - 6:07pm
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by imike

Trail 5579 is on a number of Topo Maps... and, there were once some Forest Service trails markers... now long gone.


The old jeep route that wound around up to Mineral Springs is the basic trail. It originally began over by the Space Museum. More commonly now it starts at the intersection of Indian Wells and Scenic Drive.

The maps include an upper trail section that terminates around 6,000'. There is a trail beyond the Spring; it does not stop until much higher where it runs into the Jeep track: Ortega/Dry Canyon Traverse. This upper section winding above the various Lost Trail Canyons is a very nice hike... but, whether it belongs to the T5579 designation is difficult to say.

Forest Service Trail 5579 most likely ends at the Spring.

Interesting connections and side hikes:
Mineral Springs Canyon North. Instead of hiking up the old Jeep road, drop to your left down into the lower canyon area. It walks nicer than the Jeep track... it offers nicer settings.

Mineral Springs Spur Trail: provides a very nice loop over to Little Mineral Springs Trail.

Dark Mesa and Dark Mesa Peak: adjacent ridges around the Spring... great walking.

So... a trail designation that is rarely used... a trail marked on a map that lacks the full route. It is all there, and more. It is part of a great looping route around the Basin.

Note: Mileage will depend on how far you hike up the hill!

Maybe it's time to put up some new markers?

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

2013-12-07 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 Triplog Reviews
    Mineral Springs Trail #5579
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    Big midweek turnout for the meetup hike, with a new hiker, so we altered the route... did a selection of ins and out and ups and downs... then, split the group and did a nice exploratory up Lost Trail Canyon N1. It was nice... and, we finally scored a Crinoid that included more than just the trunk section. Been looking for that.

    On top of the project work blended into the last months of the year... just got Jury Duty!! here it is for 90 days!!! I'm on till the end of the year. I'm not certain when I can increase the hiking to get back to a training level... may be after the first of the year??
    Mineral Springs Trail #5579
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    socked in and drizzly... so, stayed on easier grades. Finished out with a few hours of trail work on the Garden Wall east access.

    Some hikers out... some dog walkers...

    Sore lip where the ceiling of the cave collapsed yesterday... helmet would not have helped; lucky it was only a softball size chunk. Guess it could have been an interesting burial. Not bad.

    Tomorrow morning: up to cave below the Steamboat?
    Mineral Springs Trail #5579
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    Energy pattern okay for second day in a row! I still took it easy... routed a new descent off far east end of the Garden Wall, thinking about the potentials for making it mountain bike doable... might work.

    Checked out the abandoned road bed behind MNSU, but decided to leave it for another day... finished with laps on the "A"... started the day in light rain, dead air... finished in partly cloudy with light breeze.

    11,000' behind schedule for the month... 1,000' per day. That pattern may hold; I may not catch up with the plan but I am logging some great routes. Nearly each hike includes some exploratory sections; still finding great new areas and routes. Cannot complain!
    Mineral Springs Trail #5579
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    I need to finish writing the trail descriptions for sections of this hike... then the linking could be completed! Bit muggy out... but a breeze did come up. I thought I would stay out longer but I did not pack enough fluids.

    Nice severe hop step down a ledge to land on the side of my foot... immediate and acute sharp pain, but a few limp around steps and I was right back to striding. So odd that a kayaking injury over 25 years ago leaves me with un-sprainable ankles!

    Just before the attack on my ankle, Spanish Dagger to my arm... and soon after: prickly pear jammed into my foot! Yet, mood was high... great day out. On a scale of 1 to 7,,, I'd give it a ten.

    I intend shorter, easier days.. but I also intend to not miss days and yesterday was distracted... delayed,,, then denied.

    Fun stuff,,,
    Mineral Springs Trail #5579
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    Ross showed for the 5:40am start... routed around to catch areas he had not hiked... diverted by wild dog pack with overly yappy little dog... checked out upper end of Mineral Springs Canyon looking for artifacts; none found. Dead air day, yet again. Energy off after yesterday's bigger effort.
    Mineral Springs Trail #5579
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    First thought was to hit Ortega Peak with a weighted pack to get back on track after missing that yesterday. Second thought was my energy felt low. I opted for the much easier single track up Mineral Springs... with thoughts of going slow and eliminating some of the potential egress routes up to the cliffs. I was thinking less than four hours total for the day.

    At the end of four hours I was far and gone...

    Ten hours seemed to round out the day nicely. Energy never did come up but I just continued to move... very slowly.

    I discovered yet another old trail, this one a Spur route off Beeman Ridge. It looks like an old horse trail with some recent ATV and hiking activity. I still cannot figure why folks place cairns along canyon bottoms and ridge tops... how can you possibly get lost along either route!? Also, may be developing an alternative route up and around The Wall to allow for more hiking and less scrambling to connect the lower with the upper section of the Ridge.

    It was interesting; the point I'd reached at the end of four hours was probably just a bit over a mile from my truck... yet the route I hiked from that point to descend to the truck took three hours before it finally turned to start taking me closer to the vehicle. I was three miles away by that time. But, all of that was fairly easy walking and the final two miles was nearly flat sidewalk. I'm sure it was an easier route and probably faster. The alternative descent would have included 40-50 degree slopes with cliff scrambling. Loose scree... those oh, so careful foot placements that include moments of balance and rebalance... then the searching for the next down step. And then there are those moments wherein balance fails. I think the technical term is falling. I did some of that tracking uphill. Downhill would likely have rounded out an interesting number of those moments. So, the longer, easier, safer... faster return route.

    Wish I'd packed an additional couple of quarts of fluid. Day was saved with the heavy rain clouds rolled in dropping the temps 20 degrees!

    So... low energy... still can move.

    Note: No one spotted the weird, evil alien in the photoset... guess hikers see clouds... on other sites it was spotted by 50+ people....
    Mineral Springs Trail #5579
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    Linking up the loop I walked today made me realize I need to add in a couple more descriptions to cover some of the route.

    Well... glitched my right knee.

    Thought I could walk it out, but no... so, I can hike, at less than one mile per hour, unless it involves any uphill; then I slow down.

    Guess the next week will prove interesting. Oddly enough, just yesterday I plugged a couple of mountain biking days each week into the Meetup.com Calendar of events. Migt need to add a few more?

    Seven progressive months without a hitch... then... boom.

    Interesting.

    Not the 7,000' AEG day I had in mind! :(
    Mineral Springs Trail #5579
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    I forget What a great hike this loop is! Every time I introduce new hikers to this route they affirm the quality and variety. The Springs, Indian Wells, meadows, rocks, vistas... and the not too hard, not too easy nature of the loop. This was a great Friday group hike. Of course, Terri's Friday hikers were all off on a different hike, but that was nice too. It would be great if the calendar could fill in with lots of choices for everyone.

    Finished after 11am for that first hit, started to do laps on the "A", but that was not inspiring. I moved over to the more difficult Cave Canyon and that did the trick. I quit a little short of the 5,000' goal but my focus is drifting ahead to April... I may fall a little short of the 150,000' goal this month as I get ready to try for the bigger month about to start.

    The game/cattle trail up the ridge on the west side of Cave Canyon could be improved into a great training route up to Alamo Point (high north side over the mouth of Alamo Canyon). That would also give us a good path up to the Cave... and the connecting short loop around from Pock Rock up through Ross's Cut. That needs to happen!

    Very good day out!
    Mineral Springs Trail #5579
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    Slow, easy start to day… no one signed up for the planned hike… odd, had ten other hikers yesterday! So, I changed plans… headed over to check out an approach hike that might work for Terri’s Friday group.

    Cloudy, a bit dismal… and cold. Since it was just going to be a short outing I did not bother packing food or drink. Around 8:30am I headed off from the trailhead. The Basin area is confusingly crisscrossed with drainages; hard to figure out which is which down in the lower regions. I headed up the first one I came to… and soon realized it was not the one I intended to explore… (Mineral Springs North) but it was one I needed to hike. This Basin North Wash. It effectively drained the northern portion of the Basin area, up to the Saddle on Beeman Ridge. I’d hiked the upper portion of this wash exiting off the end of the Garden Wall hike years earlier. Nice to see the rest of it...?

    It was okay… bit over an hour to get up to where I had been before. Those couple of miles might make an okay leg of a loop on a warmer, more cheerful day.

    So… up and out and over into the cut I was supposed to be surveying. I’d simply down hike it; it would give me the same pics and no problem finding the bottom exit.

    But… I’d never really been to the upper reaches of this canyon… and it looked to be a major improvement over the cut I’d started the day with… I figured I could at least go around a couple of bends and see what was there…

    … wow… there was a lot!

    Many bends later… and another hour in passing, I’d moved through some really nice canyon sections, finally topping out with a 30’ overhanging falls. It looked like there was another mile above me… and possibly a passage on up to Winter Peak?

    But… this was supposed to be a short day! Then again… if there was a way down off Winter peak to this western perspective, it could make for a great loop… so… instead of heading down canyon I traversed around the cliffs over on to Mineral Ridge. I figured I could at least check out the viability of moving down that ridgeline.

    It worked out well… Once on the ridge and moving down, it was not long before I hit upon an old horse trail… many years unused. It told me there would be no problem making my way down and off. I enjoyed the descent, catching views of upper Mineral Springs Canyon and The Basin in general.

    Back around to the mouth of the upper part of Mineral Springs Canyon North (the cut I’d been in before hitting the ridge) I dropped in and walked out.

    Now I know where to access the bottom… it was not where I thought.

    4.5 hours… two new canyons… one new ridge… not a bad morning!
    Mineral Springs Trail #5579
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    I needed an easier day.

    Awake last night on the half hour… and that was after 2:30am when I first managed to drift off… but, out of bed before 6:30am… over to and on the trail before 7am. I thought I’d re-loop last weeks hike and snap some defining photos.

    Then, that odd impulse to head off to where I have not yet been… or not been in a long time, so I dropped into Dark Mesa Canyon and started enjoying that bit of off trail up to the “real” Mineral Springs Trail (the part that is no longer a Jeep route). From there I did cut across and over to the Spur Trail for the pictures.

    It looked as if the mountain bikers had been coming down Little Mineral Springs… made me wonder about a connecting spur from the top of that trail. So, up then off trail once again… rough route, but sort of nice. Not for bikes, but some potential for an upper looping connection to Mineral Springs above Dark Mesa Peak.

    I got pics of the peak and the mesa, as planned… and oriented the full length of the Mineral Springs Canyon drainage below the cave (…the spring fills and flows out of a cave that has been dug back into the hill). I’d never realized that that drainage splits the Basin, not flowing into the Lost Trail nor the drainages north of Dark Mesa. Interesting.

    I re-positioned an old forest service trail marker ½ mile over to the correct trail… it was the carbonite marker that once was bedded down near Indian Wells, where everyone parks. It had disappeared years ago… then earlier this year found it’s way half way up Little Mineral Springs trail. T5579... Mineral Springs Trail. I moved it higher up the route; ideally less prone to vandalism?

    Lots of pics to edit… then I need to hit a Hotspot for the upload to HAZ.

    Slow pace… cooler temps, and once it turned hot (sweat dripping off my arms and hands!) the soaked cotton T-shirt combined with a pleasant breeze to make it all just right.

    Thunderstorms predicted for later today… Fire Danger high… but, they have yet to close the Forest. Gotta like that!

    Permit $$
    None


    Directions
    Map Drive
    or
    Road
    Paved - Car Okay

    To hike
    Park at the intersection of Scenic Drive and Indian Wells Road in Alamogordo. Access the trail on the northeast of the empty lot... walk up onto the levee...and across to the old pipeline road running north and south. follow the road south to the first road heading east. Turn left and begin the hike up this old jeep track.
    page created by imike on Dec 07 2013 8:02 pm
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