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Thursday, May 31, 2007

Last Week in the Cibola

A recap of Team 5's trip to the Cibola National Forest, thanks to team member Mary Twenter:

New Mexico Team 5 thought of a few clever team names... the "Mojitos" or "Will Hike For El Bruno's Food," but in the end, we really ended up as the New Mexico Five, a team that worked together.

Team 5, pictured left to right: Pat Kinney, Mark Watson, Kurt Johnson, Frank Twenter, Mary Twenter

Our trip was well supported by local trail fans and began at, where else, El Bruno's pouring over maps and enjoying dinner with Dr. Dick Kozoll and his wife who have been working diligently with a local trail team on maintaining and improving the trail in the Cuba area. Dr. Kozoll pointed out several places where we would find the trail to deviate from the maps we were provided and assured us the stretch under their care was well marked.

The first day out began on a slippery slope of Mesa Chivato in the Cibola National Forest. Abundant rain made the road to the trailhead impassable so we had to HIKE... Our stretch of the trail would take us basically up and over four mesas in 55 miles or so.

What we saw on the mesa tops was a diverse and beautiful high desert landscape. Mesa Chivato was dotted with pinon and grasslands where we spotted an elk. San Luis Mesa was mostly sand and scrub and La Ventana Mesa was a sandstone dome that provided solid rock underfoot.
Experiencing the environments up close drove home how important it is to get out and learn from the great outdoors - all these mesas look the same from the car!

Our local shuttle driver, Bill Leverton, is the publisher of the Cuba Area Visitor Guide and described the Cuba landscape as, "an area of grasslands, deep, deep washes, high mesas, fantastical rock and sandstone formations and battalions of geologic weirdness" in his December 2006 edition. We agree!

Fortunately, the trail on our section was wonderfully marked with cairns and posts almost 100 percent of the way. We were able to enjoy the scenery because of the awesome work of CDT trail-tenders.

One item of importance for teams to follow: logon to the CDT blogs of regular and thru-hikers to check on issues arising on your section of the trail. We had a wonderful contact from BLM who gave us great tips on our section and knew the trail well but was unaware that a water spigot we were counting on was not operational. He thought it was. Thru-hikers we met knew it wasn't and had planned accordingly. We hadn't.

Thank goodness Dr. Kozoll makes trail calls and delivered water to our camp. Water is the chief concern on this section. The springs we used on either side of the spigot were good sources and well spaced along the trail.

-Mary Twenter

4 comments:

Rodrigo said...

Oi, achei teu blog pelo google tá bem interessante gostei desse post. Quando der dá uma passada pelo meu blog, é sobre camisetas personalizadas, mostra passo a passo como criar uma camiseta personalizada bem maneira. Até mais.

Michael said...

Reading all these wonderful entries makes me kind of sad. I was offered the chance to help map a beautiful section of the trail in Colorado that I happened to hike in 2004 while doing half of the Colorado Trail.

Why would I have to turn down this wonderful opportunity to meet new people, see wonderful scenery, and encounter yet ANOTHER bear in the backcountry (not an if, a when. I have this innate ability to encounter bears up close and personal)? I will be heading to Ecuador to do some research on a rare bird for 2 months.

Godspeed to all the hikers, mappers, cooks, photographers, and wildlife! I am sure I will be poring over all the blogs when I get back from South America, and live vicariously through you.

Anonymous said...

Hi Scott,
Have We Heard the Last of All Teams As of May 31st? Are There No More Team Updates For June? Has Team #3 Vanished?
Monte

Scott G. said...

There's a team out next week, hiking north of Cuba, NM. And Team 3 made it back after a long trip, finishing up last Saturday. We'll get more up on their trip soon...