We started this little Black Range overnighter in Chloride, an old mining town that sits 36 miles west of Truth or Consequences, NM. I’d say it’s a ghost town, but people seem to live there, and there’s a restaurant, so I guess the ghosts don’t go hungry. The route idea (the red-dotted track on the map) was a 50 mi loop combining forest service roads, portions of the Continental Divide Trail and a few other trails.
There’s one small inholding of private land on the southern portion of the loop, though, and when we asked around in Chloride, we were told we’d encounter locked gates and no real way to get through.
So we hopped on the bikes with a rough plan B and that’s how we came up with a much shorter but really fun little tour of the Eastern Black Range (route in blue on the map) that included the following fun features: getting to ride the incredibly beautiful Chloride Canyon twice (out and back), a requisite multi-hour hike-a-bike up a steep, rocky unmaintained “trail”, the sweet reward of nice trail riding on the CDT, a fun gravel grind up to the Lookout Mountain Fire Lookout at almost 9,000 ft with views far and wide, and a just-wild-enough decent down the other side of the peak and back into Chloride Canyon in time for lunch on Saturday. A perfect Gila adventure.
Just a little bit of hike a bike!
We enjoyed a bright night sleeping out under the (nearly) full Hunter’s moon from a campsite tucked away just down from Lookout Mountain on Friday night. We rode the CDT singletrack and the gravel road climb up to the Lookout on Saturday morning.
There are hundreds of creek crossings in Chloride Canyon, and we had a blast monster-trucking through them on the downhill back to town on Saturday afternoon. I didn’t get a great picture because I had to keep my hands on the wheel.
I rode my Bianchi hardtail bikepacking for the first time this weekend because I said goodbye to Mr Beast (my surly ogre) this week. It was really fun having suspension with the loaded (albeit, pretty lightly loaded) bike! My split-tube tubeless failed on me toward the end and I limped back into town with a very low rear tire, though. I can’t find any punctures so I will have to figure out what’s wrong with it (aka just inject more stans….) I will probably be selling this bike in the coming weeks as well because… I’m very excited to have a new Salsa 27.5 plus bike – the Timberjack – on order! I can’t WAIT for it to arrive and for many more adventures down the trail.