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San Pedro Wilderness, NM
mini location map2013-06-14
20 by photographer avatarrwstorm
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San Pedro Wilderness, NM 
San Pedro Wilderness, NM
Car Camping avatar Jun 14 2013
Car Camping
Car Camping2 Days         
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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After getting information from the forest service office in Cuba, we headed out of town along NM126 to look for camping opportunities for the next two nights. We knew there were two campgrounds along the road not too far from town. I drove by them last year on another trip. It was our intention to camp at one of them, since it would be near to the trail we wanted to hike on Saturday. While at the ranger station, we found out they were fully developed and charged a fee of $10/night/per vehicle! Yikes, one of THOSE types of campgrounds. :o I wanted to purchase an updated map of the area, but they took cash only :x . I was low on cash, and didn't buy it, since I might need it for the campground. Paul hadn't been up this way in about 20 years and it has changed a lot, with the road being paved and everything modern. Another case of the good old days being gone. :lol: or :gun: (your choice) When we got to the campgrounds we were sort of surprised to see both of them nearly full. I told Paul there was no way I was going to camp at any of the few spots left and he agreed. Karen and Jerry wanted to be at a place with a table and restroom, but I sure didn't care about that. And neither did Paul. We had a discussion about it and decided to do a short backtrack to FR70, which goes along the southern portion of the wilderness area and where we wanted to hike. We figured we could find a decent spot for camping (and right we were). As soon as we turned off onto FR70, there were a bunch of spots (with port-a-pots) that we stopped and checked out. There were others camped there, and the area was sort of trashed out, so trusting my instincts, I suggested I would drive ahead and check things out, and come back to let the others know what I found. The weak link for us was Karen who drove her new Prius on this trip. She already had a bit of apprehension getting to the trailhead for Taylor the day before. Fortunately, FR70 is gravel and car friendly, so this wasn't a problem. Karen rode with me to check things out, and we found several worthy camping candidates. Also, we passed a young woman with a child walking her bike and carrier along the road. I actually thought they were sisters who were heading back to some camp along the road! :lol: Karen and I found a great camp spot just past the trailhead we intended to hike from. What made this cool, is it was an easy walk back to the restroom at the trailhead. We drove back to let the others know (passing the "sisters" again). Then it was back up the road again to set up camp (passing the bike rider a 3rd time).

After we got situated and had our tents up it was chill time. While sitting around camp relaxing, the bike rider appeared on the road and turned into our camp area. She was looking around , so I went up and said she could camp with us if she liked, as long as she wasn't part of a bigger group of rowdies that would show up later. Turns out that was the furthest thing from the truth! She was traveling solo with her daughter on a big bike trip that started at Camp Wood, Texas and would take her eventually into Colorado and then out into the plains of Kansas! :o :sweat: Wow! She joined us and needless to say, we were all fascinated by her tales from the the road/trail. This sort of adventure is so alien to me that it still blows my mind thinking about it a week later! :o Pretty dang awesome.

She is following Adventure Cycling Association routes on this trip and is armed with maps, contacts, and other important information for the undertaking, so it isn't as scary as it initially seems. But still, this is pretty gutsy in my book! : app : I asked her if she went across Emory Pass in the southern part of the state, knowing there is a raging forest fire there now, and she said she was there around June 1st. (The fire started on the 7th, and I hiked to Hillsboro Peak on May 22nd).

Saturday morning Paul, Jerry, and Karen headed out to hike early, while I hung back in camp, enjoying coffee and conversation with Megan as she broke down her camp and prepared to ride out on the next part of her journey. A rancher with some mules drove into camp and parked, before heading out for a trail ride. This was most opportune, as it provided a diversion for the youngster as mom packed up. Her destination was Abiquiu in two days. I wished her well as she rode off, then headed for the nearby lake for my little hike. Later in the day we all enjoyed another relaxing time at camp (at 9300 feet happily out of the heat). Even got to watch some cowboys moving cattle along the road by our camp. :D

Sunday morning Jerry and Paul were up early and packed up. They decided to head back to Cuba, take US550 down to Bernalillo and book it home in I-25/I-10. Karen and I took our time breaking camp, and I talked her into following me along NM126 to La Cueva and Jemez Springs, before hitting US550 again. I knew this might be a problem with her in the Prius, but I remembered the road as being okay from traveling it the year before. We would have about 20 miles of dirt to navigate though. :sweat: It had been recently graded and the rains haven't started yet, so it was okay except for one spot just before we hit the pavement by the fish hatchery. A very soft silty section, but being as it was downhill, we coasted through alright. Fenton Lake State Park was still closed, due to the need to use the lake for firefighting activities. The good news is the nearby Thompson Ridge Fire in the Valles Caldera is pretty well contained and winding down. Very little smoke was noted as we headed into Jemez Springs. We walked around town for a bit, then headed down to Bernalillo to get gas and ice. I was going to follow Karen over to her other house at Sandia Park on the east side of the Sandia Mountains, by way of the shortcut along NM165 through Placitas, but it was a no go since the Cibola NF had closed the Sandia Mountain unit. So I said goodbye to Karen at Bernalillo and started my trip back home.

Blew through Albuquerque and on to Socorro. I knew the nearby Owl Bar was closed on a Sunday, so figured I would hit the Taco Bell in Socorro, only to find it had closed down! :o Now that is sort of a shocker for fast food nation. Behind it is a place by the name of Sofia's Kitchen & Burrito Tyme, so I tried it. Kind of a country place, but I ordered a carne adovado burrito and it was huge, plus pretty good (ate half there & the rest when I got home). And the place had a little band playing country songs (they were good too). So much for Taco Hell, this worked fine! :y: (You knew I had to get an obligatory food shot in here for Kelly ;)). From there it was down I-25, but knowing there was another big fire raging over in the Black Range, I diverted over to Hillsboro for a look, before heading back through Lake Valley to the Hatch Cutoff and on to Deming and Tucson. The fire didn't look too bad last Sunday because of a couple days of higher humidity and showers, but since then it had gotten hotter, drier, and windier, and the fire has exploded northward along the Black Range. Last report had it at about 70,000 acres and all the way to McKnight Mountain. (Earth to monsoon: we are waiting!)

Overall, this was a wonderful trip; sure glad I joined my friends for this one! :)
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