This was a great hike on a sunny, warm winter day. Because of the elevation, there were several inches of snow on the ground. I parked my car on route 197 at longitude 107W. There’s a padlocked gate that I climbed over that allowed access north toward the CP. Fortunately, there were no “no trespassing” signs anywhere. Let’s give a big applause to the landowner for that.
The CP is only 1.5 miles away from here as the crow flies; with most of the hike being fairly level so long as you stay east of the Mesa foothills. Mesa de Cuba rises steeply just west of this route so you have a constant visual reference point as you make your way north toward the CP. Geologically, the terrain is very interesting in that, at some point in an earlier time there must have been a massive wall of mudflow or pumice. The whole area has earthen walls of mud much like the face of a glacier. You see signs of these walls of mud along the whole way as you head north. I had to cross several of these mud mound saddles between ridges along the way and because of the warm temperature they were pretty slick due to the snow melt. There are also several gullies, one of which was 15 feet deep or so that I had to go down into and come out of to continue north.
It took 2 hours or so to reach the CP. The CP itself is located on one of the Mesa foothills up a fairly steep wash with boulders, loose rock and the ever present earthen mud. Speaking of boulders, about 100 feet or so NNE of the CP, there are two boulders around 18 feet in diameter each that are being supported by this earthen material under them which has eroded to the point of making you wonder why they haven’t fallen over and rolled on down the wash. I noticed these two boulders as I was making my way up the wash while closing in on the CP. I decided to stay to the north side of the wash and cross up and around them rather than cross beneath them. You could also stay further south of them as you make your way up the wash toward the CP. This would also keep you out of harm’s way should gravity win out as you happen to come along.
I got to the CP and took the required pictures and rested while enjoying the panoramic view to the east. I should have brought some cheese and wine. I stayed for a good half hour before heading back to the car. It took about 2.5 hours to get back to the car only because I meandered here and there. Total distance was 5.87 miles. A very pleasant hike!