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Saddle Mountain & Brushy Mountain, NM
mini location map2017-05-08
49 by photographer avatarAZHiker456
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Saddle Mountain & Brushy Mountain, NM 
Saddle Mountain & Brushy Mountain, NM
Hiking avatar May 08 2017
Hiking6.50 Miles 1,894 AEG
Hiking6.50 Miles   4 Hrs   47 Mns   1.59 mph
1,894 ft AEG      41 Mns Break
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Day 4 (Hike 1) – Gila Trip Gone Wrong
Nearly out of GPS routes [in terms of what I’d pre-drawn prior to my trip], and with storms in the forecast, I awoke on edge and was strung out for most of the day. Fortunately, despite really having to ‘wing it’, I managed to have some fun hikes, get in a great workout, and experience some beautiful country.

I continued along Pueblo Park Road [FR 232], which is an exceptionally beautiful drive but gets a bit rough. While still very easy for my Forester, this road would not be doable in a low clearance vehicle due to several spots with taller boulders that begin shortly after the Pueblo Park Campground. Initially I was going to take FR 232 into Arizona and knock out the Bear Mountain loop; however, the combination of a late start and storms in the forecast made the idea of this 18.5+ mile hike less than appealing. Thus, I settled on a short hike to the summits of Saddle Mountain and Brushy Mountain, which I accessed by turning off on FR 209 and then on FR 209B, which goes all the way to the summit of Saddle Mountain.

After turning onto FR 209B, the signage is not particularly good in terms of indicating where to park… or informing drivers that there is rough road ahead. The road rather suddenly goes from being easily doable in a high clearance vehicle to a ‘strictly 4x4’ type of deal; and as a result, I had the joys of executing a three point turn on a narrow up-stretch with a steep drop on one side. Fortunately, I eventually managed to complete the turnaround without ending up down the embankment. I then found a nearby spot on the side of the road a little further down to park, and then took off on foot up the road to the summit.

Saddle Mountain was a real treat and definitely exceeded my expectations. In addition to sensational views, there is also a Lookout and, [unlike some of the other Lookouts I hiked to during my trip…], the one atop Saddle was in excellent condition [and I’m guessing still in use during fire season]. There are also three nice survey markers; and, [while I never envisioned myself using adjectives such as “interesting”, “neat”, or “awesome” to describe an outhouse], those are exactly the adjectives I used to describe the Saddle Mountain shitter to friends/others. :o :lol: I won’t bother to explain… as they say, a picture’s worth a thousand words. [ photo ]

Next up was Brushy Mountain, and reaching the summit proved to be a short and easy bushwhack of about 1/2 mile from the summit of Saddle Mountain. Although there was definitely lots of brush, the many routes blazed by the resident animals, [along with perhaps some manual thinning efforts], made it very smooth sailing. And, while the views were blocked in many directions from the summit, the views to be had were truly awesome.

Not in the mood for an out-and-back, [and still needing to log lots more miles for the day], I continued Southward off Brushy Mountain with tentative plans to try to make my way down toward Pueblo Creek and then pick up the trail in Camp Canyon for my return. However, despite the gradual topo contours, I’d gotten a good view of this side of the mountain on the drive in and knew that the massive crags in this area might pose a bit of a challenge, especially given that I hadn’t had a route drawn to assist in working my way through / around the crags. After cliffing out twice, [and with storm clouds fast building up in the distance AND still having a lot more mileage to log], I opted for a more conservative return via a shallow, well-routed drainage that parallels the road leading to Saddle Mountain to the West. Toward the end / where the drainage branches off toward the bottom, I headed up and over UN 7562 followed by UN 7933. My vehicle was about 1/3 of a mile off the other side [N/NW] of UN 7933.
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