View Full Version : 2 part question

02-09-2006, 14:48
CDT buffs out there
Question 1: Between the various starting point options in New Mexico, any opinions or suggestions???
Question 2: Been noticing alot of comments of the unfriendly ranchers and civilians also in New Mexico, thoughts, stories, ideas?

02-09-2006, 17:28
There are 3 potential starting points in NM. ColumbusNM/Palomas which is the CDTS route where you can actually hike into Mexico, the CDTA "official" route which is difficult to get to on in the middle of no where on the boot heel and the more "traditional" Antelope Wells route which includes lots of road walking. Some have also trespassed on Animas Ranch property which is on the actual divide.

Of the 4, I took the CDTS route which is scenic and historical, the easiest to resupply and may have the most water. There's a little bit of road walking and some cross country but with the proper BLM maps and the CDTS guide, it wasn't all hard to follow. Once you're out there, improvision and flexibility is the key. You find yourself making your own path to hook up with the "trail" or route on occasion.

I never had a problem with ranchers. On many occasions you'll be crossing barbed wire and coming to gates across county roads with "no tresspassing" signs on them. Once through 10 Mile Canyon Ranch we were stopped and asked if we knew we were tresspassing. Not really, we went around the gate but it was a county road. The owner knew we were hikers and was more worried about poachers and hunters since they owned an elk ranch. The owner was friendly and asked us if we needed water and offered some, along with fresh OJ once we reached his house. I've heard others were stopped by ranchers but most of the time, when they hear what you're doing, it's not a problem.

The BLM maps are best through NM since they also show private property which you'll cross on occasion.

02-09-2006, 17:41
Correction the 4th route is through the Gray Ranch, run by the Animas Foundation, in the Animas Mountains south of Animas, NM. Potenially the best since it's on and closest to the divide, I suppose you could write and ask for permission to croass but don't hold you're breath.


02-09-2006, 23:09
I agree with Sly and like the CDTS route. I've hiked the roadwalk straight north out of antelope wells my first trip and that was very boring. The CDTS is just west of that and if you are not too sure about route finding on the first few days, you can simply head east and find the road. It is excellent practice with an easy bailout. It's tough getting to Antelope wells as you almost need someone you know to take you there. It'd be a real tough hitch but then, what is easy on the CDT? it's not for everybody was always our motto.
Have fun Blister and keep an eye out for cows. they are your best friend when looking for water. They won't travel more than 2 miles away from water. Not all windmills are working but cows know which ones are.
The only time we had problems with ranchers/ locals was in northern NM when you have the choice of the Tierra Amarillo Land grant, the road walk in the middle, or the actual divide which is in the Jicarrillo Indian reservation. the 1st time, we took the land grant and got yelled at. You may have to hide when you see people, but it is a beautiful section. the second time, we took the Jicarrillo and thought we wouldn't see anyone as there was snow on the roads and no tire tracks (this was in March) well, one sunday we were truckin along and all of a sudden heard Indian drums real close by. we hid and stayed in trees and brush until we could get out of there. that's when we passed a live Elk stuck in the barbed wire and almost dead. There was nothing we could do to help him as we needed wire cutters and we couldn't even tell anyone where we saw him as we weren't supposed to be there. anyway , that's a long story
The official route of course is the road walk in the middle which is what we ended up taking after the drum/elk episode and it really sucked. The guidebooks Cannot officially tell you to go into the private land but, i would go for the Tierra Amarillo land grant again and just hike when you see someone.
Have fun and keep us informed ok. by the way: Simon is one AWESOME boy!

02-09-2006, 23:50
Last year it was a fairly easy hitch to Antelope Wells. "Minutemen" were constantly monitoring the highway, had headquarters in Hachita, and were picking up hitchhikers.

My take is that it doesn't matter too much. Antelope Wells is further south/closer to the divide and a quicker walk over what is not the MOST exciting part of the CDT no-mater which way you go. The CDTS route is nicer and more convenient plus you can see the Pink Store in Mexico. :)

02-10-2006, 00:49
In 2002 it was an easy border crossing walking into and out of Mexico back to the US. I didn't have to show an ID either way. There's a few good bars in Palomas with beer and tequilla and pharmacies where you can get the Mexican version of Flagyl cheap without a prescription if you ever need it for Giardia. I didn't, but was happy to have it just in case.

From the border it's only 3 miles to Columbus where CDT hikers can camp for free at the Poncho Villa State Park which has showers. In another 3 days you can stay at the Rockhound Stae Park which also has showers. In another day you're in Deming. If you stay I suggest the Butterfield Stage Motel which is relatively cheap with large rooms.

We reached Deming on May 5th, Cinco de Mayo and they had a festival going on. Good times, great food.

02-10-2006, 14:23
Thanks guys!!! I've been reading every resource journals, CDT books and the maps Leys and others. Overload of info - then give me two many options. I figured I'd ask ya'll for the clearest opinions. Favorite parts of New Mexico??? Perhaps where I should slow down to smell the lizards????

02-11-2006, 00:12
Favorite parts of NM? the CO border! seriously, the Gila is very nice. I recommend camping at the hot springs if you can plan a route that gets you there. There is a way up the Gila river but it takes many many fords and if it's high water, you shouldn't try it.
The area around the ranch (where Georgia O Keefe painted) i forget the name, sorry. (A few days before Chama) was a beautiful area but again, i don't think many go that way as you're too anxious to get to CO.
Actually the 1st miles out of Antelope are quite nice once you have taken Ramblin Rich's desert appreciation course as this is REALLY desert. (i think it's actually officially part of the Great Chihauhau desert or something like that and is one of the few places in the US that will only support 1 cow per square mile because there is not much vegetation.
Try to enjoy it all although the roadwalks can be boring. The locals are sometimes real interesting. should be easier for you (being a woman) to get into some intesting conversations with them. we met many interesting characters.
New Mexico is like no other state on any thru-hike except perhaps the RED DEsert area of WY. So, enjoy it for what it is and if you are northbounding, there's no hurry to get to Cumbres pass as it's probably too much snow until late June anyway.

02-11-2006, 02:59
The Ghost Ranch