Thursday, June 6, 2019

Capitan Mountains Mis-Adventure

I thought I had mapped a great bicycle route with some seldom traveled gravel roads  - hoping for a nice 34 mile loop in the foothills of the Capitan Mountains of New Mexico. We started out from Fort Stanton and rode State Highway 220 to US 380 about seven miles - then we turned on to Forest Service 57 to start our gravel portion of the ride.

We got to our next turn at nine miles and "surprise" we were met with a locked gate and no trespassing sign. It was obvious from the sign that this road County Road 0003 was now contained in private property. My research (checking the route from satellite view) did not show this to be gated. So we improvised and decided to ride Forest Service Road 57 to its end and then return back the way we came. We'd still get close to the miles we wanted - 33 to 34 miles and the gravel road condition was very good.

 As it turned out - we found a very well maintained gravel road and rode it till it ended at a ranch house, about 19 miles of total gravel. We saw only two trucks the entire time and enjoyed the beauty of the surrounding Capitan Mountains.

About halfway out on the gravel we found the Baca Campsite, a USFS campground with primitive camping and very nice pit toilets. We took advantage of the facilities on our way out and back.

Heather stopped at the end of the road - in front of her is the road back to US 380.

Just before the road returns to pavement on US 380, you cross the Rio Bonito river.

Our route as we rode it today - our improvisation of our route worked out just fine.

Parting shot - interesting artwork on an old shed along US 380.