November 18, 2017
It was one of those mornings where you should have brought long underwear or wind pants but you didn’t want to get sweaty later and now you are kicking yourself. Those extra layers would not have been taken off on this day.
Our resolve was tested in the parking lot of the Outlet Mall but we proceeded with it. The trail head was not any warmer even though it is 2500 feet lower. We lost one hiker an hour in. Daisy had to head back. We were bummed about it but this place will be here, it always has, I will be here again also, and hopefully Daisy as well.
We went into the Eastern part of the Ojito area right off Highway 550 and down the road a bit from San Yisidro. We moved through a broad flat area split by Querencia Arroyo and the maze of mesas, bluffs, and arroyos on the North that we head into. The geology is free form fractal and it’s hard to determine where to go so I earlier did an eenie, meenie, miney, mo and just picked one to go. This mesa does not see much human or cow traffic but there were some good sized sheep tracks. Large, old growth, Utah Juniper are up here too. Usually you just see stumps of where they used to be but up here there are plenty. Ironically, as I was saying these things to my partners, we saw some sand filled boot tracks. Who were you? Cucho Mesa dominates the area so it’s hard to really get lost but it’s easy to get cliffed out. To my fellow hikers Pat, John, and Nancy, this is why you were wondering where I was going and why I had to pay attention to it while we were up there. It’s a task of work that I want to do in order to stay navigated. Fun too after it’s done.
Once we were back on the flat, the camera came out, and if walking and relaxing at the same time are possible, then that is what we did until we ran into a guy test firing his deer rifle. He was nice enough to stop until we got around the bend. We saw no one besides the shooter. Our hike was between 10.5 and 11 miles, climbed 800 feet, and took us 6 hours.