GET 2017 Trail Journal Index

Grand Enchantment Trail, Phoenix AZ to Albuquerque NM

Night Hike, Chilili

GET 2017 Day 37, June 7, Wednesday.

Start Segment 35 mile 3.9, after 15.6 miles on Segment 34, approaching Manzano Peak

Start 4th of July Campground, Segment 36 mile zero

End 1.9 miles on Mars Court Alternate to start of Drop In Trail, after 30.6 miles of Segment 36

Miles walked:  32.5

This next section is a challenge, because the official GET is on paved road for over 25 miles, since no route is available through public lands to the Sandias, and no trail has been negotiated with private landholders. With high temperatures probable, and few water sources available except a few country stores after the village of Chilili, this could be a tough day.

But I had a cunning idea. Hike at night. The moon was near full, and the road should be cool at night, with little traffic. I shouldn’t even need a strong headlamp, since there is not much along the road to see. I would still be hiking plenty during daylight, but the night would give a good start, after sleeping a bit and heading out around 2AM.

Well, a thunderstorm was in progress at 2, so the hike did not start until 3:30AM. The moon is now getting low in the trees, and thin cloud cover blocks most stars, but I can see something as big as a road in front of me. The air is cool and I make good time.

The village Tajique appears an hour before the local Ray’s country store opens, but I will have several snacking opportunities on the other side of Chilili.

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Start Manzanos

GET 2017 Day 36, June 5, Monday.

Start Segment 33 mile 40.9 of 42.5, along CR115 a couple of miles from US60

End Segment 35 mile 3.9, after 15.6 miles on Segment 34, approaching Manzano Peak

Miles walked:  21.1

My cache buried near US60 was unearthed without problems. A few snacks included in the box started the morning right.

After crossing the highway, I begin down an arroyo, for almost 5 miles.

***

The arroyo merges with a larger drainage, and continues under train trestles.

After diverting to a dirt road, the route quickly starts climbing past southernmost Manzanos.

The morning continues with several miles of climbing dirt roads.

As the route passes through juniper and pinon, I start looking for high mountains, since the trail will rise towards one of the highest peaks by end of day.

Pine Shadow Trail, near trailhead, begins near a picnic area with running spring. Since water sources will be scarce on the crest, I fill up with as much water as can be carried.

Crest Trail starts getting hard near a burn area, with many fallen logs to climb, and disappearing path in places.

Opportunistic thickets overgrow the path in spots, and slow down hiking.

Clouds make a sudden appearance, with thunderstorms and showers. A light show of electricity performs as I fall asleep on a high exposed ridge at 9500 feet.

Later in the night, as clouds disperse, lights from towns below become clear, from Socorro, Los Lunas, and even a vast sea of twinkling Albuquerque.