Cerro Azul does not look like much from the trail head. The clear New Mexico air will give you the impression that you don’t have far to go or have much to climb. Of course that is rarely the case. Despite seeing the trees clearly outlined on the summit, it takes time and effort to get there.
We drive and walk on reddish sandy soil occupied by P and J woodland. There are large, old growth trees here. The Great Pinion Die Off of New Mexico, experienced in the early 2000’s, seems to have missed this place. I’m glad.
As for this little range of hills between the highway and the Rio Grande, the closer you get the more impressed you are, and by the time you stand on the summit, you are flabbergasted. This is a geologic incongruity because they are composed of granite and it is rare in these parts. Working up the slope covered with scree and boulders, with sheep sign thrown in, is similar to peak climbing in the Sierra Nevada or parts of the Rockies.
I want to thank Nancy and Tom for joining me on this adventure. Our stats were 8.8 miles, 1260 feet of climb, and 5.5 hours of hike time.