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Bonito Creek
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mini location map2013-07-24
18 by photographer avatarrwstorm
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Bonito CreekSoutheast, NM
Southeast, NM
Car Camping avatar Jul 24 2013
Car Camping
Car Camping
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1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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After a couple years of not being able to camp/hike in this area, a group of 6 of my Tucson SAHC friends finally were able to set this trip up, in part because of information I had gathered when I was over earlier in the month with Cindy and Bobby. Most of the trails in the wilderness area were open, with the exception of South Fork and areas near Ski Apache. I decided to go back over again and hang out with them for 3 or 4 days. I hadn't seen some in 4-5 years, so it would have been fun. Unfortunately, just like when I was there at the beginning of July, the monsoon was kicking up its heels this time too. :o Normally this wouldn't be that big of a deal, but we were in the burn zone from the 2012 Little Bear Fire, which means rains would create greater hazards. Paul drove over Wednesday, as did I, with the rest due to arrive Thursday. Ran into thunderstorm activity from Alamogordo on up to Ruidoso. It had let up a little as I headed into Bonito Canyon to find Paul and set up camp. Storms were building up for another round of action and they cut loose as we sat in our vehicles at the camp spot. I made a decision at this point that I didn't want to set up in the mud and water, not to mention the possibility that it might be socked in and not fun for camping and hiking for the next couple days. I told him I was going to head out to Carrizozo and try to camp at Valley of Fire that I had checked out earlier in the month and thought would be out of the weather. (Turns out that wasn't the case either). As I drove back out on FR 107, the road was pretty much impassible where George Washington Canyon crossed. It was fine about two hours earlier, but the downpour sent a flash flood down the canyon and across the road down to Bonito Creek. I knew of a work around on the other side of Bonito Creek that would get me around this situation. As I approached the place where I had to cross Bonito Creek to get back onto FR 107, there was a pickup truck hung up on the stream bank. Turns out he was one of the campers I had seen already set up, and he had attempted to park in the stream so a friend coming up to join him in a car might have an easier time crossing the stream. Didn't work and I'm glad the car didn't try it. :lol: I had a tow rope and was able to get him out, just as the Lincoln County Emergency Services folks drove up to help (they had been called). They had a winch in case I couldn't do it. Their friends in the car couldn't get across, so the Lincoln County dude drove them and their gear across to be with their friends. Pretty cool! Those guys were really on the ball and even had the grader working the road blowout as we spoke. They said it was their third time in there that day. That let me know that you probably wouldn't get stranded in there. It is another world in these burn areas though! :sweat:

I continued out to Highway 37 and then on to Carrizozo on US 380. Low clouds, scattered showers and strong wind persisted, so I ditched the idea of camping and got a room at the Four Winds Motel (a bargain @ $35/night). Just think, I got to try two different motels in Carrizozo in one month (seems like deja vu all over again)! Both good, but I decided against going back to the other one in fear of running into a doppelganger! :lol:

I had told Paul I might come back out in the morning if it looked decent, but Thursday dawned overcast with the mountains socked in and a strong wind persisting, so I decided to head back to Arizona. I had planned on driving to Socorro on US 380, but the highway was closed Thursday due to construction work on a railroad crossing, so I had to go back the way I came, down through Tularosa, Alamogordo, and Las Cruces. Not a problem. Ran into rain again around Alamogordo.

Talking to Paul after the trip, he said the weather got better and they were able to get some good hikes in Friday and Saturday. But there were more thunderstorms too. I probably should have gone back and hung out with them, but it worked out fine anyway, as I got a nice night in at City of Rocks.

Here is a video of the water coming down across the road in George Washington Canyon (this was after it had calmed down a bit): ... omx4diET0w

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 George Washington Canyon Heavy flow Heavy flow
When I drove by this drainage before the storms it was just a trickle. When I decided to bail out on camping due to the weather a couple hours later the spot was made impassible by flash flooding that piled mud, big rocks, and fire debris over FR 107. I knew of another way out and used it to get around this situation.
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