This was an enjoyable Confluence Point to visit but it took some work in time and driving distance. I started in Albuquerque heading south on I-25 for 75 miles to the town of Socorro where I headed west on highway 60 for a distance of 105 miles to the town of Quemado. Highway 60 is a two lane highway with not a whole lot of traffic. The scenery on this roadway is outstanding. Either side of this highway has some pretty remote country. About 50 miles west of Socorro, you come across the VLA (Very Large Array) of astronomical radio antennas. This is an array of 27 radio antenna dishes each having a diameter of 82 feet. They’re located on the vast Plains of San Agustin, an ancient lake bed. As you continue west toward Quemado, you have a gain in elevation which supports coniferous tress like Junipers and Ponderosa pine. The town of Quemado is small with friendly people and a couple of café’s which the locals frequent. 20 miles west of Quemado you turn left onto a dirt road marked B007. This is a well maintained dirt road with many cattle grates that run across it. About 10.7 miles in, you’ll enter the National Forest and see a boundary sign indicating that. At this point on a topo map the road is designated Forestry road 19. Continue on for 5.8 miles until you hit the junction of forestry roads 19 and 205. Turn right heading west onto Forestry road 205. You’ll see a county road designation of B024 just after you turn onto it. After 2.4 miles you’ll cross under power lines. Continue for another 4.0 miles until you intersect Longitude 109W. You’ll find an open area to park your vehicle just on the west side of Canovas Creek. This is where I began my hike toward the CP. The drive from highway 60 to this point is almost 23 miles but the dirt roads are in good shape. Well, at least this time of year. The drive offers remote views and wildlife aplenty. More on that later!
The surrounding mountaintops are 9000 feet in elevation made up mostly of Ponderosa Pine, and Juniper. The whole area is National Forest and pretty remote. The CP is about 2.0 miles due south as the crow flies but since this crow doesn’t fly, it was a bit further. There is a logging road that parallels Canovas Creek that you can follow for about a half mile but then it ends at a dirt pile put there some time ago. The logging road does continue but it’s not as evident. It’s best to continue following Canovas Creek south for another half mile or so and you’ll run into another logging road. This road doesn’t see much use, and continues to follow the creek. About a half mile from the CP, you’ll need to leave this road and bushwhack your way to the CP as the road and creek head off in a SSW direction. I followed a small dry creek bed up between two forested hillsides for several hundred yards. The CP is located on the right side hill a few hundred feet up from the small creek bed. I might also add that several times while hiking toward the CP, my GPS loss its signal. This was due to the forest canopy and the fact that you’re hiking up a draw between two mountain tops. That wasn’t a problem however. It was just a matter of stopping long enough for the GPS to regain the signal. Once at the CP area, I had to walk around a little to get the zeroes. I wasn’t able to find the cairn that the first visitor built. I did see what looked like the remnant of a cairn however very close to the CP point. As you can see from the photos, the area is heavily forested so views are limited. I took all cardinal photos anyway and sat down for several minutes to enjoy the serenity. I headed back to my vehicle the same way I came in. It was a very enjoyable CP visit.
I saw quite a variety of wildlife. A few miles in from highway 60, I saw a herd of Pronghorn Antelope standing and grazing next to the dirt road. Further down the road in the National Forest area were several Mule deer. While hiking to the CP, I came across several more Mule deer as well as a couple of red tailed hawks. While hiking back from the CP on the second logging road I mentioned, I came across a Black Bear. This encounter was awesome. I first spotted this bear about 150 feet away walking toward me on the logging road. His nose was toward the ground and he had gone down into a slight dip in the road. I jumped behind a large Ponderosa Pine tree a couple of feet off the road. He never saw me and since I was downwind of him, he didn’t catch my scent. He continued walking leisurely toward me on the logging road. When he was about 60 feet away, I decided to make my presence known. I did this because he would have practically walked on top of me before spotting me. It’s never a good idea to startle a bear when he’s 3 feet away from you. I’ve had 3 other encounters with Black bears and all have been positive experiences. Black bears are very shy and in most cases will run away from humans. But because how close this bear was going to be to me, I stepped out from behind the tree and let out a “hey bear” holler. He stopped dead in his tracks and the look on his face was almost comical. He let out a slight huff and bolted for the woods off to his right. This bear was fairly large and probably weighed between 250 and 300 pounds. This Black bear was also reddish brown in color. Not unusual for Black bears but he was the first brown Black bear I’ve seen. I let out a couple of more hey bear hollers and gave him a few moments before I continued down the logging road. What an impressive animal.