[cdt-l] Southbound: Grants to Silver City

aandg at telusplanet.net aandg at telusplanet.net
Sun Nov 5 17:10:23 CST 2006

We left Grants on October 12th and took the Zuni Canyon route out of town. We 
then took the Chain of Craters route round the west side of El Malpais. The 
section from the Zuni-Alcoma trail west to the Visitor Centre was very slow 
going ( < 1 mph )- just looking for cairns through the lava - some interesting 
lava tube formations though. We camped near the visitor centre which has a 
handy outside tap. Then it was 30 dry miles to the first working windmill just 
6 miles north of NM117. The trail through Chain of Craters followed CR42 at 
first then there was tread for a while west of the road but then it was back to 
following cairns and posts. We lost the trail on the morning of 16th so headed 
back to CR42. The route was rather disappointing in terms of views of El 
We used the CR41 route to Pie Town. We met Mags in the Daily Pie Cafe and he 
was looking forward to the end of his trek. 
We spent the night of 19th by the Mangas Mountain Lookout with great views 
particularly west.
On the afternoon of 20th we were about to hitch to Reserve when a truck stopped 
and the guy said: We've read about you and want to talk to you! Evidently there 
was an article about CDT hikers a month earlier in an Alberquerque paper. They 
took us to their house, we had a shower, did laundry and then they gave us a 
ride to Reserve.
In Reserve, we spoke to people about the Black Range route and called Lake 
Roberts store to see if they'd have food. They said plenty of water running. So 
we left Reserve with 11 days food and did the CDTA official route to Lake 
Roberts. Highlights were the views from Pelona Mountain, and the views east 
from the Black range.
 This route actually closely follows the Continental Divide unlike the Gila 
route. The 'trail' is more of a cairned route heading east from the Tularosa 
Mountains. There were enough water sources, but the "reliable" Coyote Peak 
stock tank was empty - luckily we'd filled up with water at a pond 3 miles 
before. The "private" Garcia windmill was unfenced and pumping a very good flow 
of slightly warm water. 
We then ascended back into the trees and the Black Range. The views east were 
often magnificent. Much of the trail is built to PCT standards and is a joy to 
hike. However there are some sections through burned areas which are hard to 
follow and involve climbing over many fallen trees. I wonder if the "saw man" ( 
a guy who uses a 6 foot long saw and is contracted to clear that part of the 
PCT ) we saw on the PCT in 2003 just north of Donner Pass would be available 
sometime to clear the trail?
On Reed's Peak the 10000+' high point of this section, I was able to climb up 
into the lookout tower to admire the full 360 degree panorama. 
We resupplied for 3 days at Lake Roberts with cakes, glazed cinnamon buns and 
other unusual thru hiker food as their supplies were limited. Then we hiked the 
41 miles via the CDTA route to Silver City.
I would highly recommend this route provided it's after a good wet season like 
this one. 
Here in Silver City, had good mexican lunch yesterday at Gregorio's Kountry 
Kitchen. Staying in Silver City RV Park ($11.21 a night). Good AYCE at the Red 
Barn today before using the fast internet facilities here at the University.
We set out for the border tomorrow.

Alistair and Gail

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