Monday, December 17, 2012

Sacramento Mountains South Highpoint

I finally got out of the house for some hiking adventure today! My friends Lee and Robby stopped by this morning and then we loaded up my car for a drive up into the mountains. We stopped in Artesia at the Chaos Cafe for a delicious breakfast and then headed west on US-82 to Cloudcroft. As we headed up into the mountains we were treated to views of snow! From Cloudcroft we headed south towards Sunspot, but turned off and headed towards Timberon before reaching the solar observatory. We drove a snowy county road (the trees were adorned in frosty splendor)
Frosty Evergreen
to the well-marked Corral Canyon Trailhead where we parked and prepared for our journey.
Robby at Trailhead

From the trailhead, we proceeded up a snow covered  Corral Canyon.
Lee and Robby
We saw lots of animal tracks in the fresh snow including elk and deer tracks. We followed the Corral Canyon Trail up to Forest Road 64 and turned right on the surprisingly plowed road.
Hiking the Road
The hiking on the road was easy.
Eric, Lee, Aspens
We followed it for about 3/4 mile and then headed off-trail. I had found the GPS coordinates and entered them into my GPS unit. We used the Garmin to find the vicinity of the summit. We took a group photo at what we first thought was the summit: a green post stuck into the frozen earth.
Near Summit
I had doubts about the post marking the actual highpoint tough, and so I searched around for a cairn I had read existed.

After about 5 minutes I found the cairn and dug through a little bit of snow to find a summit register. I called the others over to my location and we all signed the register and then replaced it into the cairn which hugged the side of a tree trunk.
Lee Signs Register
Summit Register
After a few minutes at the summit we began our descent.
Lee Leads the Way
It was a quick, slippery hike back to the car. Along the way we saw some elk and turkeys.
Turkeys Crossing Road

After returning to the car we decided to give the Sacramento Mountians North Highpoint a try. We drove the Sunspot Road to Forest Road 233. Unfortunately, we found the road to be too snow covered for safe travel in my Civic and so we turned around after driving the road for about 1/8 mile. The northern high point will just have to wait.            

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