On day 3 of our trip I told Ginny we would do another 5 - 6 mile hike, Turned out to be 11.5, I was close. After a short visit to Bluff Spring we finished up the lower Benson Canyon T5005 today and headed up to Benson Ridge along the Benson Canyon Spur Tail T5005B. We took what use to be a trail on up to the Benson Ridge/Bluff Spring Trail T5006. This was a good hike to practice route finding. Most of the route along the "what use to be a trail" was me pretending to know where I was going while I searched for any sign of a trail. The starting and ending parts of the route were along a very faint jeep trail but the middle section was me guessing. I knew where I had to be at the finish so what more do I need to know? If we hadn't taken this trail we would not of seen the bear. This was a brown colored bear and once again it didn't notice us. It was hard to get a good picture because the brush was pretty thick and the camera kept focusing on the brush in front of me. You could say we were stalking the bear as it wondered through the trees rummaging around unaware of us (about 50 yards away). Ginny got the best video of the bear just before a jet flew overhead and the bear scurried off. We found our way back to the trail and our off trail excursion was done. Once back on the trail we headed down to Bluff Spring and our start point.
On day 3 of our Cloudcroft trip we did the Benson Canyon Trail T5005 and the lower section of Benson Canyon Spur Trail T5005A. The signed trail head is about 3.7 miles in on FR223. This trail follows along jeep trails or logging roads as many of the trails along Benson Canyon and Benson Ridge do. We started out with the prospect of rain which it did for a short while about midway into the hike, It soon cleared up and we ended up with really nice weather for the end of the hike. We got a late start on this hike because of rain so we were only able to do the upper portion of Benson Canyon. Will have to do the lower tomorrow.
This is a beautiful hike down Benson Canyon with its long grassy meadows, quite picturesque. There are cattle grazing in many of these meadows throughout the Sacramento Mountains. We usually only saw a few here and there, not too many. This was once ranch land as the old log cabins and corrals attest to. I imagine that was before it was national forest and now they graze on leased land from the government(I'm guessing). The trail is a bit steep at the western end but once down in the canyon it levels out. Great hike whether it was drizzling or sunny. There are spur trails shooting off from this trail that head up to Benson Ridge and then on down into the Rio Penasco Canyon and Bluff Springs. Enough trails along Benson Ridge and canyon to keep us busy for three days.
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.