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Hamilton Mesa Trail #249
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mini location map2019-05-26
9 by photographer avatarfriendofThundergod
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Hamilton Mesa Trail #249Northeast, NM
Northeast, NM
Backpack avatar May 26 2019
Backpack26.53 Miles 4,390 AEG
Backpack26.53 Miles2 Days         
4,390 ft AEG
1st trip
Partners none no partners
The goal for this little overnighter was Pecos Falls. We did get to the falls, however, not until day two and there were times during day one that I was not sure if we were going to make the falls on this trip, as snow and deadfall blocked our travel on two separate trails.

Day 1:

After spending the night at Iron Gate Campground, Blanco and I started off on the Hamilton Mesa Trail around 8:30 a.m. The Hamilton Mesa Trail is really top notch, it is in great shape and offers some spectacular views of the Pecos Wilderness and the premier mountains that define its high points. I did not have a lot of beta about reaching the tracks, but did have several routes downloaded for the area. The most logical way seemed to be taking Hamilton Mesa nearly all the way to the falls and then dropping down on the Gascon Trail to the falls. However, with about two miles to go to get to the falls, I ran into a couple who warned me of some very deep snow and basically impossible deadfall ahead on the trail. I had already encountered some pretty deep drifts and a little bit of deadfall, so I had every reason to believe their warning was with merit. Especially, since the only other guy on that section of trail that day was someone who also got turned around by snow. Realizing discretion was probably the better option and not wanting to beat up Blanco, I turned around and headed back to the Bob Grounds Trail.

This trail turned out to be pretty miserable and I only had the patience to curse my way through about two-tenths of a mile of severe deadfall before deciding retreat was more prudent than continuing on and soon I was back on Hamilton Mesa and backtracking yet again. Luckily, the third time was a charm and Larkspur Trail #260 proved to be the winner. This perfectly manicured and pleasant trail dropped me right down to the Pecos River, where Blanco and I could finally start heading up stream towards the falls. However, by this point we were at about 12 miles on the day and I did not want to push Blanco with distances on this trip, so I decided we would find us a nice spot along the river as soon as we got out of the no camping zone, make camp and then decide on the feasibility of the falls the next day. Not long after getting camp set up, a pretty decent little squall blew in and we had to spend a couple hours in the tent sitting out rain, hail and a "light" thunderstorm. After the rain cleared, it was the standard camp chores, eating and then bed. Both Blanco and I froze a little during the night. We awoke to frozen water and damp cold conditions.

After a quick breakfast, Blanco and I were off for the falls. The falls were definitely worth the visit, but a little tough to take pictures of due to the tiered nature of the falls. No worries though, it was more about the journey on this one anyways. I had been wanting to get to these falls for over a year now, so needless to say I left satisfied. Then it was a quick hike downhill back to camp, packing and the pleasant hike back to the TH.

Final Notes

The Pecos Wilderness is pretty spectacular and offers some of the finest hiking in the American west in my opinion. I would have no problem putting the Pecos Wilderness as a 1a to anywhere else I have hiked and backpacked in the West. I am already pining for a return.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Pecos Falls Heavy flow Heavy flow
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