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Catwalk National Recreation Trail - 10 members in 26 triplogs have rated this an average 4.1 ( 1 to 5 best )
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May 29 2021
ShatteredArm
avatar

 Guides 5
 Routes 132
 Photos 585
 Triplogs 151

38 male
 Joined Nov 30 2015
 Phoenix, AZ
Mogollon Mountains exploring, NM 
Mogollon Mountains exploring, NM
 
Backpack avatar May 29 2021
ShatteredArm
Backpack26.00 Miles 3,500 AEG
Backpack26.00 Miles1 Day   8 Hrs      
3,500 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Had been planning on spending Memorial Day weekend backpacking in the Gila Wilderness again, but the Johnson Fire kinda put a damper on my first choice route options. I figured smoke would be less likely to impact the Whitewater drainage, on account of it being surrounded on the south and east by high ridges, so I drew up a route there - Whitewater Trail, Crest, Holt Apache, East Fork, South Fork... looks like it was at one point a pretty common 35 miler.

My first mistake was misreading the list of "not recommended" trails on the Gila Wilderness website. It said there are numerous washouts, some impassable, west of Lipsey Canyon. Somehow my brain determined that meant we could at least make it to Lipsey Canyon. From the west. I realized my mistake the morning of the hike, and thought...well, if Whitewater Trail doesn't work out, we could probably do South Fork if we can get that far. I think also having done a couple other "not recommended" and unmaintained stretches of trail in the wilderness lulled me into a false sense of security...

So, spoiler alert in case you don't want to keep reading, and you, like me, are too lazy to call up the ranger station: Whitewater Trail has numerous impassable washouts, and beyond the power station trail, is not a viable route.

Saturday - hike in
The less-condensed version...We started down Gold Dust in the morning, which was well-maintained and gave us false hope. Whitewater Trail was fine for a period, with a few "small" washouts with easy bypasses. The first major washout was at about the 3.2 mile mark (all mileages from Gold Dust TH), but this one is easy to get through. A couple more minor washouts occur before the South Fork junction, but really just require sure footing.

After the South Fork junction, the trail follows the old road to the power station for about a quarter of a mile, then continues contouring up. Couple more sure-footing sort of spots, but then at 4.8 and 5.0, major washouts that we were able to get past by going 50-100 feet up or down slope.

At around 5.1, we hit the first of what could be considered an impassable washout. Here the slope was treacherously steep and there was a 15 foot or so deep gouge carved into the draw. We backtracked to a more gentle grade and bushwhacked down to the creek. Proceeded upsteam for awhile and had lunch. Then made a fateful decision to try the trail again. After a ridiculously steep climb up, we hit trail, and proceeded on...to another impassable washout. At this point, spirits were low, and we decided this route just wouldn't be doable this weekend. Some in the party wanted to try to find a better way back down ("the devil you know" in my opinion), and we managed to find a third impassable washout.

Anyways, the long of it is, whitewater trail past the power station road should, for all intents and purposes, be considered abandoned, and stricken from official maps. It will be impossible to rebuild the trail on the current alignment.

We followed the creek almost all the way back down to the South Fork junction, which was actually easy and pleasant as far as creek walks are concerned. Any who dare venture into this canyon in the future should follow the creek.

We camped at a nice campsite at the junction, and I had the thought that maybe we could explore up South Fork. In the waning hours of daylight, I poked around a little, and in the middle of what I figured had to be the trail, there were 4-5 foot tall plants growing which I had to weave through. I didn't have very high hopes about the viability of this trail, so we just hiked out first thing in the morning.

Sunday - Mogollon Crest to Hummingbird Saddle
We got back to the cars relatively early in the day, and it started getting smoky. I think a shift in the wind started moving all the smoke that had initially gone west, back east over the crest. Since we had all day, we decided to try summiting Whitewater Baldy. Started out slightly smokey, then got really smoky around Willow Mountain, then at Hummingbird Saddle it was clear, and all the smoke was to the east.

There aren't a lot of recent reports on the crest trail here, but all the guides here describe a completely different trail. The crest trail to Hummingbird Saddle is situated almost entirely in high-severity burn area, with maybe one 100 yard-or-so long exception. Reports seem to vary about the deadfall situation, but currently it is no deadfall for the first mile or so, occasional deadfall until about a half mile from Hummingbird, then a half mile long obstacle course. Point being that we got so sick of climbing over logs that we decided to just have lunch at the saddle, fill up at the spring, and turn around.

Sunday - Catwalk
Still had some daylight left after the crest, so we headed down to the catwalk for a stroll with beverages. I pointed out that it's a lot hotter at 5,000 feet than at 10,000. It was a nice stroll, but I wouldn't really consider this worth going out of your way for.

Summary
First foray into the western part of the Mogollon Mountains did not go as planned, and with the current trail conditions in this area, it's probably only really an option for the most hardy backpackers.
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May 22 2021
Walkingbambam
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 Photos 567
 Triplogs 55

65 male
 Joined Apr 09 2019
 Phx Az
Catwalk National Recreation TrailSouthwest, NM
Southwest, NM
Hiking avatar May 22 2021
Walkingbambam
Hiking2.20 Miles 567 AEG
Hiking2.20 Miles   1 Hour   33 Mns   1.42 mph
567 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Left Silver City NM at 0730 and drove 60+ miles northwest to the TH. Long drive through some hum hum country, saw plenty of deer. We got to the TH were the original mill was in late 1880. Walk down the trail 100 ft and we were in the bottom of a canyon. Sheer rock cliffs straight up hundreds of feet with water flowing below us. Walking on a steel Catwalk that the Forest service built in the 60’s to replace wooden planks built in the 30’s by the CCC. The wooden plank trail Was built on the original supports that an 18” water pipeline was built into and up the canyon to supply water for the hydraulic mining in the 1880’s. You can still See some of the original supports and anchors. The short walk was easy and there was a small creek to cross but the scenery was breathtaking. Lots of pics were taken but none of them did justice to the terrain. I had Jeans on and got a little warm until we got well into the canyon and the wind blew like a wind tunnel. A rock slide closed the trail about a mile into the canyon and it would of been interesting to go further up the canyon. More sheer cliffs for sure. Got there early so few cars at the TH but walking out the crowds began to show up. About 30 Cars in the lot. Long drive to get there but well worth it!! Great day for a hike!!! - Uh, walk- HAPPY HIKING!!!
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Walkingbambam :)
Sep 05 2020
LindaAnn
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 Guides 65
 Routes 407
 Photos 4,556
 Triplogs 1,379

41 female
 Joined Dec 24 2007
 Ahwatukee, AZ
Catwalk National Recreation TrailSouthwest, NM
Southwest, NM
Hiking avatar Sep 05 2020
LindaAnn
Hiking2.46 Miles 250 AEG
Hiking2.46 Miles   1 Hour   10 Mns   2.31 mph
250 ft AEG      6 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners partners
realm09
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
I was last at the Catwalk in 1994. Definitely different due to flash flooding over the years. Super crowded today, as expected. Hot to start, but some storms cooled it off. Not someplace I’d normally choose, but my daughter liked it.
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1 archive
Jul 20 2020
rwstorm
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 Guides 1
 Routes 125
 Photos 20,571
 Triplogs 938

73 male
 Joined Feb 28 2003
 Tucson, AZ
Catwalk National Recreation TrailSouthwest, NM
Southwest, NM
Hiking avatar Jul 20 2020
rwstorm
Hiking2.00 Miles 400 AEG
Hiking2.00 Miles
400 ft AEG
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
I couldn't resist a stop at this beautiful place on my drive from Silver City to Show Low. There wasn't a crush of people like sometimes, which was nice given our present situation. The morning visit was made even better by the cloudy conditions, which kept the temperature at a pleasant level. This canyon can get pretty warm on summer afternoons, but you are always by trees and water, so that helps.
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Sep 13 2018
cactuscat
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 Routes 58
 Photos 2,604
 Triplogs 391

49 female
 Joined Oct 15 2002
 
Catwalk National Recreation TrailSouthwest, NM
Southwest, NM
Hiking avatar Sep 13 2018
cactuscat
Hiking2.20 Miles 567 AEG
Hiking2.20 Miles
567 ft AEG
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Another stay at Los Olmos, another Catwalk hike/bird, and this time I did several walks around the Glenwood Fish Hatchery, too - a trail around the backside of the trout pond at L.O. takes you right onto the Hatchery's birding trail! :)
Still some blackberries to be found!
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Arguing with idiots is like playing chess with pigeons.
3 archives
May 17 2018
cactuscat
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 Routes 58
 Photos 2,604
 Triplogs 391

49 female
 Joined Oct 15 2002
 
Catwalk National Recreation TrailSouthwest, NM
Southwest, NM
Hiking avatar May 17 2018
cactuscat
Hiking1.20 Miles 187 AEG
Hiking1.20 Miles
187 ft AEG
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Warning - this may read more like a TripAdvisor review than a triplog ... if you don't like it, don't read it.
First few days of vacation.
Didn't leave Roper til after 12pm.
Stopped at Coal Creek Campground to check it out - despite being next to Highway 78, it's a nice spot ... it would definitely do for a night - especially if the little creek was running. I spent three hours eating lunch, reading, relaxing and chasing birds around. Added 2 new birds - Black-Headed Grosbeak and Townsend's Warbler! :y:
Decided to move on towards Glenwood with no real plan - figured I'd camp at the San Francisco Hot Springs trailhead or the Bighorn Campground, neither of which is a "destination" camp, but just a place to sleep near the hot springs and the Catwalk. Turned out the Bighorn - humble as it is - was pretty much full, so that was a "no" for me ... I headed back down the highway a half mile to impulsively check out the cute looking little Lodge cabins right at the Catwalk Rd turn.
Best decision I've made in a long time ... the Los Olmos Lodge is a-freaking-mazing! Within a half hour, I decided to extend my stay another day and night so I could take advantage of the beautiful, lush, peaceful grounds and the amenities. Aside from my Catwalk hike and going to patronize the local businesses for food, I never left the place. It instantly became a favorite and I plan on returning regularly to this relaxing retreat. Highly recommend. So what about camping? Well, I slept with the windows open (in a super comfy bed) and was awakened each morning by many, many chirping birds so that counts right? :lol:
In the morning, after breakfast at the Golden Girls Cafe, I headed 5 miles up the road to the Catwalk - the only other folks at the Lodge, a group of 5 from Florida, were coincidentally right behind me and we were the first/only ones there. Saw a couple more people on the way out, and a couple more back at the trailhead - not bad at all.
The Catwalk itself is super cool and fun - it's all good up to about the .5 point, where the old swinging bridge is gone. I went down to the canyon bottom there, and could see where to scramble back up to the continuation of the trail, but I don't know what happens to the trail after that because I headed back from that point.
The canyon is beautiful, the birding is good, and I will definitely return - without my binoculars and good camera weighing me down - and hike farther up canyon.
There are only 3 places to eat in the area, and they were all good. I enjoyed a green chile cheeseburger from Mario's Pizza, and later the best burrito I've ever had - a beef/bean/green chile & cheese burrito from the Alma Grill ... yes that's a lot of green chiles, but when in New Mexico ...
The owners of the Los Olmos are working on opening their own restaurant on the property, as well as opening the gas station/store across the street - hopefully they can help bring cute little Glenwood back to life!
After my little hike, I went fishing in one of two ponds on the property (caught some trout) and then swimming in their cute little pool - refreshing! Mostly I wandered around (sometimes with the host dogs) photographing birds ... later watched the nightly emergence of thousands of bats from the water tower - love those bats, as despite all the water around, there were no bugs/mosquitoes!
Best trip in a long time. Cabins like this rock - I may never camp again! LOL, okay no - I'm camping on Monday and Tuesday.
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Arguing with idiots is like playing chess with pigeons.
May 29 2016
AZHiker456
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 Guides 28
 Routes 197
 Photos 7,418
 Triplogs 184

40 female
 Joined Nov 07 2015
 
Catwalk National Recreation TrailSouthwest, NM
Southwest, NM
Hiking avatar May 29 2016
AZHiker456
Hiking2.20 Miles 789 AEG
Hiking2.20 Miles   1 Hour   34 Mns   2.06 mph
789 ft AEG      30 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
After Maple Peak, I drove into Glenwood, NM to stock up on water and noticed that I was right near the turn for the Catwalk, [which had come up in pretty much every search I did for hikes in the area when I had been planning this trip]. Despite hotter temps and a more challenging route to the summit, I somehow had a lot more energy after Maple Peak than after the previous day’s hike to Holt Mountain; and since I was right nearby and it was a short hike, I decided that checking out the Catwalk would be a perfect way to spend the afternoon.

Despite the crowds, the Catwalk is really beautiful and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. A fit looking guy at the TH informed me that it was possible to continue up the canyon, past the official end of the portion of the Catwalk that had been rebuilt/reopened after severe fire/flood damage; and I did just that; [although starting to tire from the 11+ mile hike to Maple Peak earlier that day, it wasn’t log before I thought about turning back].

A few people that were heading back out of the canyon mentioned something about a ‘really neat waterfall just a short ways up.’ Of course I had to continue! A few minutes later, I came upon the waterfall. It was a small one but still very beautiful and made for a perfect turnaround point. I took some photos and thoroughly enjoyed spending several minutes soaking in the pool at the base of the falls. The water came a few inches above my knees and provided some much needed relief for my tired muscles.

I headed back to the TH feeling very refreshed, [but also a little concerned that my 10 day mountain getaway might be slashed several days short]… while my body felt golden [for the most part] after soaking in the water pool, the same could not be said for the small area toward the front of my ankle by the bottom part of my shin. I’m not sure whether it’s muscle, tendon, ligament or something else, but whatever it is, I’ve dealt with it since my competitive track days, [over 15 years now], and it typically responds the same way each and every time: the pain peaks within a few hours if I do not rest, ranging in intensity from a full blown 10 to an 8 on the 10 pt pain scale; and whether I rest it immediately [or try to push through it] the pain ultimately becomes unbearable to the point where I am “forced” to rest. The good news is, [despite the accompanying severe to excruciating pain], all pain/soreness always vanishes without a trace within 2 to 5 days, and I do not experience [whatever the heck is going on] for another 1 to 1.5 years, sometimes longer. Go figure that it decided to rear it’s ugly head during my trip!

I left the Catwalk and headed for NM State Road 159, which I’d planned to spend the next few days of my trip. Tons of hikes, summits, and TH’s can be accessed from 159, allowing for many great options. The odds were totally against me in terms of having more than one more day to hike before the pain would force me to rest, but I was prepared to make the most/best of things.

NM State Road 159 is incredibly beautiful; in fact, parts of it are on par with Yosemite. About 9 miles after turning onto 159, the road passes right through the really neat ghost town of Mogollon. The combination of sensational views along with the super neat ghost town made this one of the neatest dirt roads I’ve driven/explored since having moved out West.

Shortly after driving through Mogollon, I was almost out of daylight and squeezed into the small pullout type of TH for the Redstone Trail #206 behind another vehicle to car-camp for the night. I didn’t want to continue driving after dark and miss out on the amazing scenery.
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LET’S GO BRANDON! :y:
Oct 24 2014
rwstorm
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 Guides 1
 Routes 125
 Photos 20,571
 Triplogs 938

73 male
 Joined Feb 28 2003
 Tucson, AZ
Catwalk National Recreation TrailSouthwest, NM
Southwest, NM
Scenic Drive avatar Oct 24 2014
rwstorm
Scenic Drive
Scenic Drive
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
I was passing through the Glenwood area, so decided to make the short side trip to the Catwalk Picnic Area for a look around. It was closed due to massive flood damage, from repeated huge rain events the last two years. The biggest rainfall/flood event was in September 2013, but more big flooding occurred this monsoon season as well.
Named place
Named place
Mogollon Mountains Whitewater Creek
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Isolated
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Jun 10 2014
SkyIslander18
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 Guides 3
 Photos 4,732
 Triplogs 1,957

51 male
 Joined Sep 29 2004
 Small Town USA
Roper Lake Ranger Road Trip, AZ 
Roper Lake Ranger Road Trip, AZ
 
Scenic Drive avatar Jun 10 2014
SkyIslander18
Scenic Drive275.00 Miles
Scenic Drive275.00 Miles
 no routesno photosets
Partners partners
AddSanz
I'm not even gonna try to properly log the scenic drive, tours & hikes that we cussed, laughed, & made it through today. Just going to list the facts & sequence the best I can remember -

Myself, Lauren, Addie & Bianca traveling in a borrowed van.

Wal-Mart
Black Hills
3-Way
Black Jack Overlook
Mule Creek
Leopold Vista Historical Monument
Glenwood, NM
Catwalk NRT (the Catwalk is destroyed)
Clifton/Morenci
Rocky Mountain Bighorn Ram
Chase Creek Historic District
Freeport-McMoran Copper Mine
Rocky Mountain Bighorn Ewes
Coronado Trail
Chase Creek Overlook
H.L. Saddle
Nap
Big Tree Trail
Wal-Mart

:out: :zzz:
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May 09 2012
iborrego
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 Triplogs 348

28 male
 Joined Oct 13 2012
 Tucson, AZ
Catwalk National Recreation TrailSouthwest, NM
Southwest, NM
Hiking avatar May 09 2012
iborrego
Hiking2.20 Miles 311 AEG
Hiking2.20 Miles   2 Hrs      1.10 mph
311 ft AEG   5 Hrs    Break
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
_____________________
May 06 2012
Dennyforreal
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 Routes 34
 Photos 149
 Triplogs 131

36 male
 Joined May 04 2012
 Denver, CO
Catwalk National Recreation TrailSouthwest, NM
Southwest, NM
Hiking avatar May 06 2012
Dennyforreal
Hiking2.20 Miles 311 AEG
Hiking2.20 Miles   2 Hrs      1.76 mph
311 ft AEG      45 Mns Break
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
_____________________
Apr 12 2012
JuanJaimeiii
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 Routes 571
 Photos 8,291
 Triplogs 1,827

54 male
 Joined Jan 30 2011
 Chandler, AZ
Catwalk National Recreation TrailSouthwest, NM
Southwest, NM
Hiking avatar Apr 12 2012
JuanJaimeiii
Hiking2.20 Miles 311 AEG
Hiking2.20 Miles      45 Mns   3.77 mph
311 ft AEG      10 Mns Break
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Took a recommendation and drove through New Mexico on my way home to "walk the cat". Glad I did too! Super cool with some really interesting history. Next trip I want to hike up the Gold Dust Trail #41 and then maybe venture on to the small town of Mogollon. Speaking of that those Mogollon Mountains look mighty inviting as well! :D
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1 archive
Sep 03 2011
azbackpackr
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 Guides 27
 Routes 438
 Photos 5,310
 Triplogs 797

68 female
 Joined Jan 21 2006
 Flagstaff AZ
Whitewater LoopSouthwest, NM
Southwest, NM
Backpack avatar Sep 03 2011
azbackpackr
Backpack24.20 Miles 4,679 AEG
Backpack24.20 Miles   8 Hrs   39 Mns   2.80 mph
4,679 ft AEG26 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
Partners partners
writelots
A gorgeous 3-day, 2-night backpacking trip. We went up the Catwalk, turned onto South Fork Whitewater Creek, then East Fork Whitewater Creek, then up over the pass and down Winn Canyon (De Loche Trail--a gazillion switchbacks down) to Whitewater Creek again. We camped at Devil's Elbow, (where we saw a BEAR spying on us from just a few yards away, up on the side of the hill!) and second night we camped down in Winn Canyon. It was very damp and rainy the second night.

Some beta notes: So far I am not very good at uploading routes. Also, I posted ONLY my moving time as shown on my GPS. I did not post ANY of my stopped time (whether camping or resting.) Route log shows 36 miles, but we hiked only 24.2. (Hope 5500 AEG is correct. There are many, many ups and downs on this hike, so it probably is correct.)
Flora
Flora
Douglas-Fir
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Substantial
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There is a point of no return unremarked at the time in most lives. Graham Greene The Comedians
A clean house is a sign of a misspent life.
Sep 24 2010
SkyIslander18
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 Guides 3
 Photos 4,732
 Triplogs 1,957

51 male
 Joined Sep 29 2004
 Small Town USA
Catwalk National Recreation TrailSouthwest, NM
Southwest, NM
Hiking avatar Sep 24 2010
SkyIslander18
Hiking2.20 Miles 311 AEG
Hiking2.20 Miles
311 ft AEG
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
One of my all-time favorite hikes that I always make sure to do on my way home from the White Mountains. I just love everything about this place - the canyon, the creek, the trees, the waterfalls and (of course) The Catwalk! Beautiful place and a lot of fun to hike. A great end to a great week!!!
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Sep 10 2010
writelots
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 Guides 19
 Routes 40
 Photos 5,607
 Triplogs 340

48 female
 Joined Nov 22 2005
 Tucson, AZ
Mogollon Mountains - GET #20Southwest, NM
Southwest, NM
Backpack avatar Sep 10 2010
writelots
Backpack25.20 Miles 4,500 AEG
Backpack25.20 Miles2 Days         
4,500 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
This was another one of those long time goal hikes of mine - or at least, it started out as such. Even before I knew a thing about the GET, I knew that it would be uber-cool to hike from the Catwalk National Recreation Trail to Jordan Hot Springs near the Gila Cliff Dwellings. Friends told me it was a tough hike, with a small window of good weather to complete it. Too early and you're likely to run into considerable snow up high. Too late and the temps down low are brutal.

While this may have been only my first attempt at this particular hike, I know for certain that it won't be the last. The Land of Enchantment has me absolutely enchanted - and I think that this is a long time goal I can chew away at for the rest of my life and never get too much of it.

Logistically this is a tough trip. The car shuttle between the Gila Cliff Dwellings parking area and the trailhead for the Catwalk is somewhere around 3.5 hours one way - not counting the 4.5 hours each th is from Tucson. I got Mr. Wendy to agree to a huge favor, which involved following my group out to the th a day or two after we'd left, towing Lil' Bit to the exit th, then driving home (with likely stops along the way for dove hunting and fishing). So, in theory, all we had to do was walk the 60-some-odd miles in between, up and over the Mogollon Mountains - much of the route along the GET. If we didn't make the ambitious 16 mile-per-day average that we were aiming for, then we could bail out of the detour to Jordan Springs and just hike out the GET route for a 50-odd miler. No problem, right? I mean, we did have 4 long, warm summer days, right?

We started out well enough - though the magic of the Catwalk and Whitewater Creek did cause us to dally perhaps more than we should have. Then there was the torrential downpour in the early afternoon that drove us into a creek-side cave for a reprieve. Things were feeling long and tough, but not undoable... that is, until we reached Camp Creek Saddle.

Those of you who look at the GET route in this area will be quick to note that the trail does not go to Camp Creek Saddle. In fact, it doesn't go anywhere near there. Luckily, we also figured this out. Unluckily, we didn't figure it out until we were at said incorrect saddle looking at our maps at the correct route some two miles to the north.

No problem, right? Just hop on the Holt Apache Trail north from Camp Creek, and we'd only have added a few miles to our ambitious itinerary. Ah, it seemed so very, very simple on the map.

Almost three hours later, we'd only managed to bite off about a mile and a half of that two miles along Holt-Apache. The trail was nearly non-existent, littered with (what felt like) hundreds of downed trees, raspberry bushes, locust and every manner of thorny, prickly, mean and devious vegetation. The fire that burned through this area several years ago decimated this trail, and I would be shocked to learn that more than one or two people had been on it all year. From time to time, we'd see signs such as broken branches or rock cairns, but the vast majority of the time was spent debating whether or not we were on a trail at all (let alone the correct trail), and whether or not the second storm of the day was going to strike while we were ridgeline hiking in a burn zone.

About the time the storm seemed to be imminent, we made it to a minor saddle which was still mostly forested. Exhausted, beaten and frustrated, we made a quick camp and managed to make ourselves eat something before we fell into our respective sleeping systems. We'd hiked over 12 miles, which didn't seem like much in the great scheme of things, but we'd climbed over 4000' feet, and with that amazing chunk of bush whacking, it definitely felt more like the 16 miles we'd planned on.

We all slept fitfully, worried about our location and the long-term effects the detour would have on the trip. When we woke, we took a fresher look at the situation. Steve had to be back to Tucson first thing Tuesday morning for a life-or-death business trip to Boston. There really was no room for error in his schedule. Even if we abandoned the overly-ambitious Jordan option, we were still several miles short of our first days goal, moving slower than we anticipated, and we were all dragging hard. It was a very difficult decision for me - those of you who've hiked with me know that I don't say Uncle very easily. But, it was in the best interests of the group to do an about face and head back to the car which we hoped would still be in the Catwalk parking lot. We could always drive around to the cliff dwellings and do a shorter backpack into Jordan from that end, and get our hot spring fix that way.

Of course, that was all dependent upon Mr. Wendy keeping to his usual late to bed late to rise pattern. Steve used his extraordinary legs to run (yes, literally) back to the trailhead hoping to beat Gary to Lil' Bit. I wish I could say he'd succeeded - but I'd be lying. When Sarah and I arrived almost an hour later, Steve was sleeping beneath the shade of a Sycamore, lulled by the tunes of a revivalist baptism in the creek, and bemoaning his luck at having missed Gary. By now the car was most certainly nearly to Silver City, if not at the Cliff Dwellings already.

The rest of the adventure involves hitching rides around southwestern New Mexico, staying in cheap motels and eating stale dinner roles at the pub because the kitchen was closed. It was an adventure I'll not soon forget, and with all luck I'll not soon repeat either. We were too exhausted from walking about downtown Silver City with our packs and jamming ourselves into the back seat of sedans to even consider another couple of days of backpacking. Instead, we showered and hopped into Lil' Bit to head back to Tucson by mid-day on Sunday. Cut short, but certainly not light on adventure!

Oh, and just to make it all the more perfect, I had essentially no camera for this whole fiasco. That's a whole different tale, one which is neither interesting nor something I care to be remembered for. Thank gawd this is a site for recording trip reports and not for recording all the stupid pumpkin stuff we do in the rest of our lives...

A few other notes, however, for those who may look at hitting this part of the GET. The Catwalk Trail is AWESOME, and definitely worth the extra miles. However, I highly recommend a weekday visit, as the place was an absolute zoo on Saturday. Of course, it was Labor Day weekend, but I imagine with those kinds of swimming holes, waterfalls and scenery that it's pretty packed most summer weekends.

Oh, did I say that there were waterfalls and swimming holes? Well, I lied. There aren't any. Infact, the canyon is featureless and dull - no shade, no interesting cultural relics, no incredible rock formations. And there are absolutely no cool places to scramble around and check out. The Devil's Elbow just a couple of miles up the South Fork did not at all call to me as a place to put on my water shoes and explore, and there wasn't a single shady, forested, perfect campsite to be seen the whole way. None. I mean, don't even bother going. It's that bad. If you don't pick up on irony, then I've succeeded brilliantly.

In all seriousness, don't miss the turn off for the East Fork. It's easy to miss, and the South Fork trail bears an eerie resemblance to the trail in the written description. If you do miss the break off and find yourself at Camp Creek Saddle, DON'T take the Holt-Apache cut off. Hike the long way around. Something tells me your legs will thank you for it.

Finally, this would be an awesome trip to do in the fall. The canyon was thick with sycamores, ashes, walnuts and maples. I can imagine that the color in autumn is going to be simply beyond superlatives. In fact - who's up for it? There's an elbow I didn't get to explore up there...
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light
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Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.- Barack Obama
Sep 05 2010
rwstorm
avatar

 Guides 1
 Routes 125
 Photos 20,571
 Triplogs 938

73 male
 Joined Feb 28 2003
 Tucson, AZ
Catwalk National Recreation TrailSouthwest, NM
Southwest, NM
Hiking avatar Sep 05 2010
rwstorm
Hiking2.20 Miles 311 AEG
Hiking2.20 Miles
311 ft AEG
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners partners
kissime321
After our visit to White Sands/Cloudcroft we headed over to Socorro Sunday, for gas, dinner, and to get some green chiles roasted at a place I like. Then it was over to hit the Catwalk on the way home. This is always a fun little hike in a very scenic area. Back to Tucson via Mule Creek and Safford. It was a great trip. :D
Named place
Named place
Whitewater Creek
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light
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1 archive
Aug 07 2010
RangerTRX
avatar

 Routes 1
 Triplogs 172

51 male
 Joined Apr 25 2008
 Peoria, AZ.
Catwalk National Recreation TrailSouthwest, NM
Southwest, NM
Hiking avatar Aug 07 2010
RangerTRX
Hiking3.50 Miles 311 AEG
Hiking3.50 Miles   2 Hrs   7 Mns   1.65 mph
311 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
WHAT A BEAUTIFUL PLACE.
Did alot of stopping to take photos on the hike in.
There are far to many people using the recreation facility part for "swimming" to make the lower half enjoyable. It is like Oak Creek (Slide Rock) 20 years ago. Full of people and coolers, kids screaming and balls flying. I see the future of this beautiful trail being closed to a limited amount people and a waiting line to get in. I vision water contamination just like S.R. It was very sad to see all the beer and "mexico drink bottles" and the soda cans and paper trash all over the trail. People let there dogs crap on the trail and then leave it there. Unbelievable how much trash was on the lower end of the trail. Stupid people ruining a truly beautiful place. The historic value is of nothing to them let alone the nature views. It's just another "public pool" to them only this one has no "guards" of the area.
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Sep 27 2009
rwstorm
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 Guides 1
 Routes 125
 Photos 20,571
 Triplogs 938

73 male
 Joined Feb 28 2003
 Tucson, AZ
Catwalk National Recreation TrailSouthwest, NM
Southwest, NM
Hiking avatar Sep 27 2009
rwstorm
Hiking2.20 Miles 311 AEG
Hiking2.20 Miles
311 ft AEG
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners partners
cindyl
After a short backpack over by Mt. Baldy with Joel and Belinda, Cindy and I took the long way back to Tucson and stopped at the Catwalk.
Fauna
Fauna
Bighorn Sheep
Named place
Named place
Whitewater Canyon Whitewater Creek
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Sep 23 2009
SkyIslander18
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 Guides 3
 Photos 4,732
 Triplogs 1,957

51 male
 Joined Sep 29 2004
 Small Town USA
Catwalk National Recreation TrailSouthwest, NM
Southwest, NM
Hiking avatar Sep 23 2009
SkyIslander18
Hiking2.20 Miles 311 AEG
Hiking2.20 Miles
311 ft AEG
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
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www.instagram.com/skyi...
1 archive
Oct 11 2008
Vaporman
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 Guides 2
 Routes 4
 Photos 8,687
 Triplogs 931

42 male
 Joined Mar 28 2005
 SLC, Utah
Catwalk National Recreation TrailSouthwest, NM
Southwest, NM
Hiking avatar Oct 11 2008
Vaporman
Hiking2.20 Miles 311 AEG
Hiking2.20 Miles
311 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Its the only wheelchair accessible box canyon I know of, quite the treat. Though it was pouring on me this Saturday monring... ;)
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Yea, canyoneering is an extreme sport... EXTREMELY dramatic!!! =p
1 archive
average hiking speed 1.87 mph
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WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

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