We've only been in New Mexico for a week, and already my head is full of hiking possibilities. Lonely caches, remote wilderness peaks, unfound caches in obscure wilderness canyons... m,an I live for this stuff. So with our house mostly getting settled, I took a day off from moving in to go out and tackle one of my new nearby wilderness adventures. There were several hikes/caches I was looking at, but the one I settled on was a recently published cache called North Macho Falls. It was placed only a month ago, mid may, but nobody had gone after it yet, and there was no one watching it. I could tell why, the description talks about a brutal off-trail trek up and down a wilderness canyon. It talks about needing to have expert route finding skills, and repeatedly stresses the rugged nature of the area. Yeah, that sounds like something I'd be into. I packed up my kit and got up at 5am. Made a quick coffee and was on the road soon after, on my way to adventure!
|Sunrise on my drive into the Pecos|
|An easy meadow for the start of my hike|
|All smiles at 7am|
|The descent down to Macho Creek|
|Nice swimming hole in Macho Creek|
|Rock formations near the confluence of North Macho Creek|
I can't say what the main macho Creek looks like, but the North Macho Fork was just wonderful. I lost count of how many waterfalls and pools I had passed (I kept better track on my way down, marking each one on my GPSr). Often the going would be slow around these waterfalls, or in the thick growth that often choked out the bottom of the ravine. but at other times there were open meadows, and easy walking. I had a few miles to go up this creek bed, and I cherished those miles, taking in the various sights and sounds. The warbling vireos were going full blast this morning,a s were tanagers, warblers and thrushes. At one point I flushed a grouse but rather than fly off to get away from me, it tottered a little ways off and did a broken wing display. I suspected there was a nest or young nearby, so I cautiously crept up the slope to where the grouse had flushed. I couldn't spot anything, I climbed up onto a fallen log and peered around some more. The mother hen kept displaying, trying to lure me in her direction, but I was scanning for a nest or some young. i took a step down off the log and a baby grouse exploded from practically under my foot, a flurry of brown feathers arcing away from me across the gorge. The other soon let up her feint, and made her way over to where the baby had flown.
I made it to the coordinates for the geocache at 10:20 am, and found the cache almost immediately. The coords were actually pretty good considering the canyon walls, and the cache isn't that well hidden. But how many people would stumble their way down this canyon. my guess is that unless a forest fire sweeps down/up this canyon, this geocache is good and safe for decades to come. I wasn't at all surprised to see a blank log. I took a few minutes to compose a log entry, then rehid the cache and sat down to eat my sandwich lunch. The waterfall that the cache was hidden by was not flowing nearly as much as the pictures the CO had posted showed. It made me appreciate how much more difficult the route was only a month ago, with volumes more water to contend with
|Falls near the geocache, not much water right now|
|North Macho Creek Waterfalls|
|Section of many waterfalls and pools|
|Section of dense waterfalls|
As I made my way down North Macho, it finally began to get hot. The moringin had been cool and enjoyable hiking weather (although I wish I had worn pants instead of shorts for all that bushwhacking). I se tmy sights on one of the best swimming pools, WF13 as marked on my GPSr. This pool wasn't very wide, but plunged to a nice depth of 10' or so and had both a nice jumping off ledge, and a convenient shallow exit point. Just perfect for cooling off.
I water was cold, but not overly so (like little Chasm Falls on the Rio En Medio trail a few days ago) and I could have relaxed there for quite a while if it hadn't been for the thunderstorms. The massive grey clouds seemed to come up out of the north and practically out of nowhere. First just a few faint rumblings of thunder up on the ridges above, but growing steadily until the canyon nearly roared with the noise of thunder reverberating up and down its walls. Kind of scary stuff, although I felt safe from lightning strike down in the canyon. There was the hazard of flash flooding though... So I hastily put my clothes on and started rushing down the canyon. I took a bit of video of the storm chasing me, and while I pretty much suck as a vlogger, the video is amusing enough, and is good enough to close out this blog post.
|Abandoned mine, a safe place to take shelter? I think not,|
|Back to the CuRVy by 2pm. Not too shabby for my first Pecos wilderness adventure. May there be many more to come.|