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Gomez Pk & Round Mtn & Eighty Mtn & Steward Pk, NM
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Gomez Pk & Round Mtn & Eighty Mtn & Steward Pk, NM 
Gomez Pk & Round Mtn & Eighty Mtn & Steward Pk, NM
Hiking avatar Apr 01 2017
Hiking11.56 Miles 3,356 AEG
Hiking11.56 Miles   8 Hrs   39 Mns   1.46 mph
3,356 ft AEG      44 Mns Break
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Day 3 (NM Peak Bagging Trip)
It’s been a while since I’ve had the chance to really go on a good peak-bagging run, but on the final 3 days of my 5-day trip I did just that, bagging 4 named peaks each on Days 3 & 4 and 5 named peaks on Day 5, [plus whatever other UN peaks happened to be in my path]. Today’s targets were: Gomez Peak, Round Hill, Eighty Mountain, & Stewart Peak, which are located in the Gila National Forest, just North of Silver City. Along the way, I also grabbed UN 7080 followed by UN 6889 both of which were in between Eighty Mountain & Stewart Peak.

After a rather chilly night of car-camping at a pullout just up the road from the Gomez Peak TH, [I awoke to 34 degree temps and an inch of snow], I drove the very short ways back down Little Walnut Road to the TH and kicked things off from one of the trails… I don’t even remember which one, [nor do I care]… let’s just say, I can ‘work magic’ with topo maps & satellite imagery but usually find myself at a complete loss when it comes to interpreting the other kind of ‘hand-drawn looking’ types of maps, such as those that are often found at trailheads like this. To further complicate the situation, the system of trails taking off in this area had its own numbering system, [which I personally found to be complete overkill and exceptionally confusing… for example: at a 4-5-way trail junction located about a mile or less from the very major Gomez Peak TH, there is a small sign with a map of the trail system… but no simple sign with an arrow pointing down which one[s] lead back to the TH]. As per the usual, I arrived completely prepared; and having all of my routes and back-up routes pre-drawn and loaded to Route Scout, I didn’t give the physical maps more than passing glance.

The trail leading to Gomez Peak does a generally decent job, so I stayed on it for most of the way to the peak, [minus a handful of times where the switchbacks got particularly annoying, (resulting in my opting for a more direct route up :D ). The views from Gomez Peak were much better than I expected, given the close proximity to Silver City. For my descent, I was initially planning to head off a ridge to the North, but in my eagerness to hit up the next point of interest, [Round Mountain], I eagerly took off down a route that would put me on a more direct path to the next peak. This definitely backfired; it wasn’t long before the well-defined route contoured in a direction opposite to where I wanted to go. With a steep slope, loose and rocky footing, and thick brush in many spots, [along with more cacti than I would have anticipated for around the 7,000’ mark], the fast pace I was off to quickly diminished to well under 2 mph.

After finally completing my descent off Gomez, it was literally a hop, skip & a jump of about 1/2 mile over very good terrain to reach the summit of Round Mountain. Despite feeling like a molehill by comparison, I was quite surprised at the nice views from the summit

Next up was Eighty Mountain, [which kind of beat the crap out of me and put me in a bad mood]… not that I can’t take a good off-trail beating… rather, above all else, I was on a mission to log as many miles as my body could handle on this trip, [with a minimum goal of averaging at least 11 miles per day], and I designed my adventures to allow me to do just that… let’s just say, any off-trail portions that involve me traveling under 1 mph, [while literally bush-whacking in safety goggles…], isn’t exactly conducive to logging lots of miles. Things started off well: after the short and fast descent off Round Mountain, I crossed a drainage and then literally begin the ascent up Eighty Mountain. The area where I crossed the drainage had a neat dam, [which was a nice, unexpected surprise given that it was not labeled on the topos]. The ascent up Eighty Mountain started off gradual and got steeper toward the end, but the footing was quite good and having both human routes [LARGE cairns present] and animal routes to choose from definitely helped. However, even with the routes, the brush was annoying and prevented me from really going into ‘haul-ass’ mode up the mountain; though luckily it was never excessive and I still held a very decent pace. The views from the summit were very nice, and after a brief summit rest, I headed down a route in the direction I was planning to go to get to my final point of interest for the day: Stewart Peak. Initially, the routes were well-defined and they wove nicely around what would have been some very thick brush; however, before very long, I strayed from the routes [or they contoured around in directions opposite of where I was headed], and from that point on, it was total brush carnage. The footing was loose and rocky in several places but much better than what I negotiated coming off Gomez Peak; yet thanks to the thick brush, my pace was much slower.

After the never-ending descent off Eighty Mountain, [during which I hit up UN 7080’], I crossed over the Continental Divide Trail as I aimed for UN 6889, en route to Stewart Peak. There was some brush to deal with along the ridge leading to Stewart, but it was mild by comparison… [although by that point in my adventure, I was so battered that any amount of brush seemed like too much]. After UN 6889, the brush thinned out slightly but then got thicker again shortly after the saddle area to the SE of Stewart as I began my ascent. Shortly before reaching the summit, I literally resorted to crawling on hands and knees at one point in order to QUICKLY get as far away as possibly from a small rock pile I had set foot on: After what I thought was just white colored rock below started to move, I took a better look and to my horror saw a skunk that had frantically started pacing / making circles, [probably just as alarmed if not more so that I was]. Thanks to the thick brush, leaping upward and ‘on all fours’ was the fastest method for getting away from the rock pile that I had stepped on. Thankfully I did not get sprayed [or bit!].

With a thick tree cover, the highpoint area of Stewart Peak had absolutely no views; however, the views coming off the N/NW side of the peak were really awesome. Additionally, the N/NW side of the mountain had little to no brush AND actually had a very well-defined, cairned route that took me most of the way back down to the Continental Divide Trail. UN 7110 [to the NW of Stewart] looked like a total blast, [very little brush & lots of boulders], and I was extremely tempted to take the West ridge off Stewart, which then loops Northward and up to this peak. However, [despite not even having hit double-digit mileage by this point], my muscles were fatigued to the point where I was half wondering if I’d be okay to even hike the next day. Needless to say, I took the path of least resistance [the well-defined route] off Stewart Peak, and then headed back to the TH. There was one place where I had to do some short bushwhacking from the Continental Divide Trail and over to one of the trails that would lead me back to the TH, but luckily it proved to be soft-covered pine needles with tons of room between the surrounding trees/brush. The 11.56 miles I logged on this adventure beat me up considerably more than the 19.08 miles I logged on the 5th & final day of my trip… enough said!
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