Saturday, June 15, 2019

Big Bonito, Crest, and Aspen Trail Hike

It was a perfect day for hiking so we decided on some trails that we had not done before because we'd need to start earlier to cover the longer distance. We left from Argentina Canyon Trailhead in the White Mountains Wilderness northwest of Ruidoso. Our trail guide said it would be close to 10 miles and we ended up with 11 miles.

Our route started down the Little Bonito Trail for the first mile and then we turned south and headed up Big Bonito Trail. Big Bonito follows a stream and canyon up until you get to around 9,200 feet and then you join the Crest Trail. We took the Crest Trail up and around White Horse Hill (10,255 feet) till we reached the Aspen Trail - the Aspen Trail took us back north and down back to Big Bonito and Little Bonito trails.

Hiking up Little Bonito Trail offered the soothing sound of a stream - often with nice little waterfalls.

Looking down the stream from a water crossing on Little Bonito.

Here's our sign  - time to head towards the Crest Trail via the Big Bonito Trail, just 3 miles and 1,400 feet of elevation gain to go to the Crest Trail!

Heather working her way up - taking her time to enjoy the scenery and snap a few pictures.

The Big Bonito Trail finishes in a high mountain meadow - it terminates at the intersection with the Crest Trail.

We are now on the Crest Trail - looking back down the canyon towards the Big Bonito Trail.

Heather did very well considering she has issues with higher elevations. She kept a steady pace and made very good progress throughout the climbs.

As we climbed we rose high enough to start seeing out to the west towards the Rio Grande Valley.

As we climbed up towards White Horse Hill, the trail made several switchbacks up through the grassy slopes.

Even at the higher elevations we still saw numerous Horned Lizards.

A short video of the panoramic view from the Crest Trail along the edge of White Horse Hill.

Heather at the high point (9,983 feet) of the trail along the edge of White Horse Hill.

Behind Heather is White Horse Hill - she took a break and I decided to summit the hill. I had a short bushwhack up to the top since there was no defined trail to the top.

Almost to the summit of White Horse Hill - looking north towards Nogal Peak. I can't understand why White Horse Hill is a hill at 10,255 feet and Nogal Peak is a peak at 9,957 feet - it just doesn't make sense!

Summit cairn at White Horse Hill.

The view looking southwest from White Horse Hill - the white area in the far distance is White Sands.

Summit selfie.

Looking back one more time at Nogal Peak.

While Heather was waiting for me I saw a female Elk and her calf walking towards Heather - fortunately Heather got this nice picture of the two.

Coming back down the Aspen Trail - the ridge behind us connects back up to the Crest Trail.

Scenes from along the Aspen Trail...

There were some Aspen trees on the Aspen Trail!

Parting shot - looking down the creek along the Aspen Trail. We were plenty tired when we made it back to the truck - 11.1 miles with 2,480 feet of climbing, time to go back to camp and relax.