Sunday, October 26, 2008

Geronimo Trail Scenic Byway, Northern Route

Another Sierra County Adventure Awaits!

There are many things that I've always wanted to do since I moved to Sierra County. One of those things on my "to do" list is to drive the Geronimo Trail Scenic Byway in its entirety. Lately I assisted with the editing of an "Apache History on the Geronimo Trail" booklet, providing me with the inspiration I needed to scream “Road Trip!” I decided it was high time for me to hit the byway. And as it happened, I found myself in temporary possession of a 4 wheel drive truck that beckoned me to take the journey.

My adventurous friend Susan joined me on this trek. With everything that I could find on the Geronimo Trail Scenic Byway printed off the internet and my deluxe super-sized Gila National Forest map in hand, we hit the road.

The GTSB starts out easy enough, beginning in Truth or Consequences at the Las Palomas Plaza, moving on to Ralph Edwards Park and into Elephant Butte. Once you head out into the county, vistas of farmland and rolling hills open up. The Trail goes through Cuchillo (home of the Pecan Festival every February - don't miss it!), into Winston and then out to Beaverhead.

From Beaverhead we headed out to Wall Lake. Currently the Lake and its surrounding area are privately owned; there is picnic area that is no longer open to the public, but it’s a quiet place to sit and enjoy the view, the cows, the burbling stream…and the fabulously entertaining contingent of elk hunters that camp out in the Gila during hunting season.

Our plan was to venture onto Forest Road 150, head down to Mimbres and San Lorenzo & then work our way to Kingston, Hillsboro and back home to T or C. Women are strong and powerful; we fear not the prospect of having to do some four wheeling. In fact, we embrace the adventure! Well, we embraced it right up until the chorus of laughter that greeted us from everyone we talked to about this journey. “Dern fool women what will they think of next?” was the common sentiment expressed. The Forest Service grades this road annually after the Spring thaw, but after the heavy rains of last summer's monsoon season, the road is pretty well washed out and not recommended for inexperienced four wheelers - like me, for example. For visitors who are looking for an "adventure experience," and have to skill to negotiate this road, this part of the Trail is perfect for you.

But for Susan and me, it was not to be. At least not until next spring. So we got right back in the truck & headed back to “civilization,” as it were. The booming metropolis of Chloride awaited us. Population 11.

To be continued: Chloride Canyon adventures

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