September 29, 2018
The Gascon Trailhead is obscure and kind of difficult to find. Basically, you turn off of Highway 518 at Sapello in the Mora Valley, then follow Highway 94 then 105, and follow it to the end. Now we see big angry “No Trespassing” signs, including one that says, “Danger!” The only way to go from here is to follow a dirt road with another no trespassing sign that has been partially scratched out. It’s old also which helps our confidence a little bit. So we walk that dirt road and a quarter of a mile later we see a modern ranch house with a nice new gate and yet another “Danger Will Robinson!”. To the right of that gate are a hole in the fence and a sign that says we can pass through because of an easement the property owners have granted. Awesome! Home free. No buckshot in the ass today.
For the next couple of miles, we’re funneled between two fences and a few gates along with this way and that way signs included. Soon enough we are past the fences and on public land.
The trail is well designed and constructed and there are no signs of anyone traveling it sans a bleached beer can and deadfall removal within the last 3 to 5 years. Other than that, nada. Based on the quality of this trail and where it’s headed, I’m making an educated guess that it was and maybe still is a sheep trail providing access to the high country. Perhaps left over from the CCC days? It’s steep and long and goes right up the side of a steep mountainside but with judicious placement of switchbacks. It’s a grind nevertheless.
After more than 4 hours we get to the top. We’re near 12,000 feet here. Cebolla Peak is only 200 feet above us and half a mile away but I forgot to load my GPS with waypoints this morning so we would have to navigate cross country the old school way. That’s going to take longer than we really want to spend so we start back and so, later on, I change the title of this trip report. The downhill hike was uneventful but pleasant mostly because we weren’t grunting out those switchbacks.
This hike was estimated to be 11.5 miles and 3600 feet of ascent and to take 7 to 8 hours. The actual stats were 12.04 miles, 3702 feet, and a hike time of 7:29. The drive time is 1:45 each way.
CK and Martin were on this trip with me and I thank them both for being there.