Out and About
100 Hikes in a Year
She set out to complete 100 hikes in the Silver City area in just 12 months. Here's what she learned along the way, and some of her favorites for you to try.
by Linda Ferrara
The author on Forest Trail 153.
(All photos by Linda Ferrara)
What does a 51-year-old woman do when she stops being a Realtor and starts… well, I didn't know. As a goal-oriented person, a former project manager, I need a focused, defined challenge. A few years ago it was a walk to Lordsburg. This time I decided to do 100 different hikes in a year.
The rules were simple: Each hike must be two hours or longer, and must be on a dirt trail or dirt road. At first I was concerned about where I would find 100 different hikes, but after perusing a map, it was apparent that there were plenty of options. There was a mound of encouragement; many friends who enjoyed hiking offered suggestions or favorite hikes. I have one friend who has mountain-biked the entire New Mexico Continental Divide (CD) Trail, which motivated me to get off the couch. My best friend had climbed mountains in many countries; her stories always were impressive and inspirational. So, when she bought a plane ticket to visit me in October 2011, I knew it was the right time to get started.
The first task was to hang a huge map of the area to highlight the completed hikes. The second task was to develop a spreadsheet that tracked a number of hiking statistics including where I hiked, with whom, the miles and hours of each. The spreadsheet also helped me keep a schedule that assured I would complete the 100 hikes in a year. My project-manager training was in full force with this one and that was part of the fun. I started a diary of my recollections, but after several friends asked to read it, I became a blogger. Who would have thought? (Check it out at 100hikesinayear.wordpress.com.)
My pack evolved over time. I always brought water, GPS, snacks, tissues, camera, lip balm, knife, compass, whistle, band aids, aspirin, plastic bags and a bandana. In addition, walking sticks, layers of clothing appropriate for the conditions, my cell phone, a hat and sunglasses were standard items on every hike. I always told someone (usually my husband) where I would be hiking, the start time and expected completion time. Of course, a weather check was always done before beginning. Since my husband is a member of Grant County Search and Rescue, I knew firsthand what can happen if one is not prepared. Okay, everything's in place, it's time to get started!
Hike #1 occurred on Sunday, Oct. 2, 2011, with a five-mile walk to a friend's house on Wagon Wheel Lane. Nancy (my BFF), Cody (my canine BDF) and I hiked through mountains north of Silver City until we got to Wagon Wheel Lane. We ended up having a birthday party (mine) that couldn't be beat — the perfect way to start a challenge: with good friends and wine!
There are so many beautiful trails in the Silver City area; here are highlights of a few of my favorites, with directions to some of the more off-the-beaten-track locations. My blog describes all 100 in detail.
Hike #8, Oct. 26, 2011 — Hummingbird Saddle Trail #182 South
Hummingbird Saddle Trail was wholly in the shade of large pine trees even with countless fallen trees. A fascinating find on the hike was a plane wreck. A pilot friend did some research and found that in 2007 the pilot stole the plane and crashed it in the Gila, killing himself, his passenger, and part of the forest. The plane's path, including sheared tree tops, is still visible.
To get there: Take US 180 West to NM 159. Turn right onto 159. Go 22 miles to Sandy Point Trailhead. Take Crest Trail 182.
Hike #14: Nov. 13, 2011 — Mimbres Valley, Water Canyon, North Ridge
Many of you may be familiar with McKnight Canyon, which is just to the north of Water Canyon. Margaret and I climbed to the top of the north ridge of Water Canyon. Once there, we were rewarded with 360-degree views of the Mimbres Valley including friends' homes, Cooke's Peak and ridge after ridge of the Gila Forest. We also came across windmills and stock tanks that added to the ranch atmosphere of this area.
Hike #16: Nov. 16, 2011 — Sacaton Road to Forest Trail 153
Ah, what a beautiful hike! Helen is adventuresome, and therefore was game for this wonderful trail. Driving out to Sacaton Road we enjoyed great views — from flat plains to canyons with the Mogollon Mountains looming in the distance. We wound our way down into this hidden, wonderful canyon — it was like a huge oblong bowl settled into the earth.
The trail was nicely marked and meandered through the foothills of the Mogollon Mountains across arroyos, scrub oak and lovely rambling hills. There were many interesting rocks in this area, including some that looked like geodes.
One of the best parts of this hike was meeting a cowboy on the trail, complete with jeans and chaps (and anyone who knows me knows how I feel about them!). He reminded me that I'm truly in the West. He told us a brief history of the area and that the large peak was Shelley Peak. Mr. Shelley and his family settled this area in the late 1880s and their descendants still run the ranch. The cowboy invited us to visit the ranch and said he'd show us some unknown trails on horseback. What a great guy! Both Helen and I decided he was just fine!
To get there: Take US 180 West to Cliff. Make a right onto NM 211. Not far up, on the left, you will see Sacaton Road. When the road forks, go right. Take it to the 153 Trailhead parking area.
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