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Heart Attack Canyon Trail #235, NM

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Rated  Favorite Wish List NM > Southeast
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Difficulty 3.5 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance One Way 1.4 miles
Trailhead Elevation 9,012 feet
Elevation Gain 1,412 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,412 feet
Avg Time One Way 2 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 6.11
Backpack Yes & Connecting
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
editedit > ops > dogs to adjust
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
Historical Weather
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Preferred   Mar, Apr, Oct, Nov → 8 AM
Seasons   ALL
Sun  5:48am - 6:07pm
Official Route
 
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Water
Bummed on the Berms...
by imike

Of the Seven trails that access the high ridgetop in the Sacramento Mountains, the shortest and nastiest is Trail 235. This abandoned jeep road was some off roader's dream drop down the mountain. It feels, and looks as if some crazed bulldozer driver ploughed headlong down the hill, ignoring any idea of even grading... and adding into the mix a very twisted emphasis on drainage control: every 10 to 50 yds he'd plow up a berm... two to four feet of dirt as viewed from the uphill side, but from the downhill side a virtual wall, doubling the effective steepness for that portion of the climb. This trail averages over 1000' per mile, and that is not divided out evenly. The top half is pretty much twice as steep as the bottom half. So, figure 600' to 700' per mile in the lower sections, then 1200' to 1300' per mile grade in the upper reaches. Now, enjoy the bermed areas doubling that steepness for extra little hits 40 or 50 times over the course of the hike. It is steep enough to glissade down the hill in the steeper areas, assuming you are not already sliding and falling unintentionally. The old road surface is often loose and sharp gravel in the ping-pong ball to baseball size variety... adding to the footing challenge.


The 1600' of Accumulated elevation gain comes from the few extra hundred feet you score from those little berms and a few ravine dips. Erosion is beginning to remove the effects of some of the berming in the higher sections. The trail might wash down to being just nasty in another twenty years, instead of the extra nasty it holds firmly to at this time.

The Sacramento mountain trails do not really offer a broad sense of variety in the upper reaches. You are hiking under pretty much constant pine tree canopy. Other than to experience the oddness of this trail there is no good reason to recommend it... the local hiking guidebook phrases it kindly: "... This is one of the few trails where walking it once is probably adequate!"

Then again... there is another consideration: if you desire the benefits of the training effect available. This trail offers nonstop, high quality challenges to balance, strength, endurance. You will likely never meet another hiker on it, so it does also provide some nice solitude.

I am not an advocate of hiking poles, but I do dig mine out for this trail. They can usually reduce the falling to one or two per trip.

If the weather threatens rain I strongly suggest staying away from this trail. My first experience hiking up it was in a freezing rain downpour. There was a gully of water flowing down the deeply cut middle, and the entire trail surface was turned into a slide. I spent as much time sliding backwards as I dedicated to moving up the hill. That first climb took me two hours to cover the 1.4 miles... normally easily covered in less than an hour.

Access to either end of the trail is remote, but the drives typically allow for lots of deer, elk and wild turkey viewing.

A nice loop hike can be created by combining this trail section with San Andreas Canyon Trail (T125)...

Check out the Official Route.

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

2009-04-30 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
    Heart Attack Canyon Trail #235
    rating optionrating optionrating optionrated 2rated 2
    Would have scored a 26 mile day, but decided to show Heart Attack Canyon to Karen and Yubao... even though we only did one loop, it hit me hard. Aspens not yet turning, but color in some of the hardwoods. Yubao harvested 3 pecks of mushrooms along the trail, along with lots of antelope bones (skull, spine, hips today...)

    Karen was amazed at how steep Heart Attack was... fell once... nice that she had her trekking poles for the descent.

    So.. I guess progress is being made?

    Note: Rim Trail has been rerouted. It now moves around Atkinson Meadows instead of through them... and does not connect to the Forest Roads in that area. It winds around and over, not allowing the motorcycles to have any access around the Meadows area. It is a major improvement.

    Fun day...
    Heart Attack Canyon Trail #235
    rating optionrating optionrating optionrated 2rated 2
    trail too wet, so just did a single loop. One nice slip and fall... next time, remember to bring along the poles! Unchip and I enjoyed a nice picnic sitting above the 100' waterfall over in upper Caballero Canyon... checked out the potentials for hiking that off trail route. It looks nice.
    Heart Attack Canyon Trail #235
    rating optionrating optionrating optionrated 2rated 2
    I'm camped out on the mountain for the summer... getting out most days. This first week has kicked my butt, being totally out of shape and not used to the elevation. Hardest day was today doing 14 miles with 3400' of up/down, including some nasty steep sections. The totals for the week are more what a good day should log... oh, well. The weather makes it all worth while... 70 degree days and 40 degree nights. I'm off the mountain for supply... heading back up for a two week hit, which ideally will remain the pattern for the summer.
    Heart Attack Canyon Trail #235
    rating optionrating optionrating optionrated 2rated 2
    1. 1 h 20m 2. 1 h 12m 3. 1 h 12m 4. 1 h 10m 5. 1 h 12m 6. 1 h 19m 7. 1 h 15m 8. 1 h 14m 9. 1 h 22m 10. 1 h 31m 12 hours 47 minutes hiking... 4:45am departure/9:06pm finish: 16 hours 21 minutes total time start to finish.

    Time at old record point: 12,800 feet: 46 minutes faster than previous record.

    Bad idea to schedule record attempt days in the summer... not good idea at all.
    Heart Attack Canyon Trail #235
    rating optionrating optionrating optionrated 2rated 2
    first climb: 45... 1 hour 5 min
    second climb 43.19... 59 minutes
    sixth climb 50.... 1 hour 11 min

    average loop time 15 minutes average pace ahead of record time...
    second loop pr

    could have easily set new one day elevation gain record, but saving that for later in the month...
    Heart Attack Canyon Trail #235
    rating optionrating optionrating optionrated 2rated 2
    Loop 1. 1hour 17 min... loop 2. 1 hour 11 min... loop 3. 1 hour 11 min Loop 4. 1 hour 14 min
    Loop 5. 1 hour 15 min Loop 6. 1 hour 17 min Loop 7. 1 hour 18 min Loop 8. 1 hour 25 min

    supposed to just be a maintainance day, around 10,000'... instead it turned out to be a personal best day ever for total elevation. prior best was a finger rock triple at 13 hours and 20 minutes. who knew?
    Heart Attack Canyon Trail #235
    rating optionrating optionrating optionrated 2rated 2
    1. 1 hour 11 min 5. 1 hour 16 min
    2. 1 hour 9 min 6. 1 hour 21 min (took pictures)
    3. 1 hour 13 min (took pictures) 7. 1 hour 23 minutes
    4. 1 hour 14 min

    'cold weather on mountaintop made for easier/nicer day... could have done 8th loop, but since it was only a training hike and I felt the knees a bit on the sixth loop I settled for the shorter day.
    Heart Attack Canyon Trail #235
    rating optionrating optionrating optionrated 2rated 2
    Well, as always, I end up on the ground on this stretch of trail. First loop, down twice, second loop, just one spill. 1 hour 17 min and 1 hour 15 min round at a fairly good trail training day. Some nice hours out in the woods.

    Second hike of the day, and now some easy days before going over and hitting Wheeler Peak: short route on Saturday, long route on Sunday... weather and legs allowing.

    Permit $$
    None


    Directions
    Map Drive
    or
    Road
    FR / Jeep Road - Car possible when dry

    To hike
    To reach the upper trailhead: Begin in Cloudcroft, NM. at the intersection of NM 82 and NM 130, take NM 130 south 1.8 miles and turn right onto NM 6563...Sunspot Hiway. Drive to milepost 8, then .6 miles further and turn right onto FR 640 (Atkinson Canyon Rd). Follow this fairly rough road 4.2 miles to the Trailhead for T235.

    To reach the lower trailhead: Begin in High Rolls, NM (down the hill from Cloudcroft of Hiway 82) and at the junction of FR 90 and NM 82, follow FR90 (West Side Road) 12.4 miles to the Trailhead on the left side of the road.
    page created by imike on Apr 30 2009 2:48 pm
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