Now that our nice interlude at Cottonwood picnic area is finished, the Truck hit the road on out to Slaughter Canyon section of Gumo. Other than what the Hiking New Mexico book mentions, there was not any idea of what to expect. That is what makes it an adventure. And it was definitely and adventure especially at the second canyon, Yucca.
The road was paved for several miles on out to the National Park gate.
When you finally get to the gate, the road surface turns to varying degrees of gravel surface. The posted speed limit is 15 and about the time you get up to 20 the road will have a spot to make your vehicle wish you had not done that. The gate tells a lot of the story of this part of the park. Part of it is not quite right. You can camp in this part of the park as long as you are backpacking and obtain the free permits required.
Immediately after going through the gate a left is required to go to Yucca Canyon. The Team had to come back for that adventure after going to Slaughter Canyon. By now the trails in the gravel road tell you that you are in a place that has visitations counted by the month not the day. It is a very lonesome place especially in the week. So BE PREPARED WITH EVERYTHING. There is a nice large parking lot with a vault toilet that was clean. My memory does not tell me there was drinking water available. The Team starts every adventure with too much water anyway, if there is such a thing as too much drinking water on a hike.
My concept was to walk a little down both trails to check them out. Scratch that, these are hiking trails. By the time my feet had made a hundred meters on the main trail into the Canyon it was obvious that GOOD trail shoes are needed. We turned back.
It starts steep and gets worse. The Team did not even begin to go see since the heat was getting warmer. Here is the little sign that had what little information there was to be found. Notice the critter (bear) proof trash cans.
At this time the Team meeting decided to go back and check out Yucca Canyon. After all it was only two miles from the gate to the canyon. Sure thing, two miles and thirty minutes at the speed the Truck could stand the road.
This is the super highway section. About three quarters of a mile into the distance the road turned right and started up the mountain. It was rough and nowhere to turn around or pass another vehicle if any other fools ever come up there. HIGH CLEARANCE IS REQUIRED.
After forever creeping along the Team did arrive at the end where there was room to turn around. There is actually plenty of room for five or six truck to park. From the evidence or rather lack of evidence on the ground we are the first to be here in quite a long time. The Truck is not a small vehicle as you know but in this picture it looks very small.
Some wandering around on the knoll where the parking is done yielded that this is very remote. It was ruggedly beautiful and the wind was making great music with the rocks and vegetation. However the trail is very rugged. This is definitely another place like Slaughter Canyon where hikers by themselves are in the wrong. There are way too many spots to get badly hurt without any effort at all.
For instance the first thing the trail does is go down a loose rock steep slope to the bottom of a rugged ravine then head back up the other side. You could be carrying four days of water and food. Then have a small slip and lay there and die with no hope of help. This is no longer for me. I want to live long enough to hold a grandkid someday not lay in some gully thinking that was a wild ride.
After the meandering was finished and my snacks eaten, the Team started the slow process of getting back out of this area. Breaking down is not a major concern in areas like this since Sightseer is in the back of the Truck ready to roll into action. With the minimum of two days of water and food we carry, it would be reasonable to ride/walk out of the area to get help.
Recently there has again been a few folks telling me I am nuts to run around like that. My head is very careful to keep in consideration at all times having to get out for help if something mechanical goes wrong. Considerations are given and precautions are taken but quitting out of fear of maybes will not happen. Worthless fears can get in the way of trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.