This Confluence Point is 100 miles from my home in Albuquerque. I got on I-40 and headed west toward the town of Grants. From there I took highway 53 west and parked my car at the entrance of Bonita Canyon. I could have gotten much closer to the CP but as is usual, I wanted to make a good hike out of it.
I downloaded a “Mapsource” topographical map of the area onto my Garmin GPS which showed waypoints, elevation and contour relief. Bonita Canyon is open range land that’s very wide and long. There are mountain ranges on both sides with the higher range on the eastern side of the canyon. The mountain ranges however are heavily forested. There is one predominate mesa to the east that rises to 8000 feet. This mesa I used as a visual reference throughout my hike.
Bonita Canyon has a road on the western side of the canyon which I hiked on. The canyon floor has an abundance of free roaming cattle on it. I walked along this road until I got to latitude 35N where there is a dirt road that looks like it heads west but neither my map nor my GPS showed a road as being there. I debated heading due west to 108W but there was a ridge which rose steeply with rock outcroppings. My topo map verified that there is steep terrain heading west toward the CP so I opted to continue up the canyon on my original course. There is another dirt road heading west about 4.7 miles up from the entrance to Bonita Canyon. This road existed on my topo map as well as my GPS. This road quickly turns to pine forests once you leave the canyon. I chose to follow this road because it gets to within .2 miles of 108W then turns south toward the CP.
This road got me to within .18 miles of the CP before I had to bushwhack to the CP. The CP is located halfway up a slight draw surrounded by forested ridges and valleys. The pictures of the cardinal points were taken 20 feet or so east of the CP so as to afford some kind of view in all directions. With CP pictures in hand, I walked 50 feet or so east to the top of the ridge and enjoyed the solitude and limited views with a well deserved snack.
I originally had planned to bushwhack back to my car on a heading of 134 degrees true from the CP. My car was only 4.32 miles away however after looking at my topo map and the severity of the terrain, I opted to return the way I came. While it added an additional 3.5 plus miles or so to the hike, it didn’t take any more time. Bushwhacking on that heading would have slowed my progress to 1 plus miles per hour. This time of year you need to concern yourself with the amount of daylight left. Since it was already 12:30 PM, discretion was the better part of valor especially since I was alone. It took a little over 3.5 hours to walk the 8 miles. The whole hike took a little over 8 hours with an elevation change of 4106 feet over 15.7 miles. It was a very pleasant and relaxing day. I don’t expect this area to change anytime soon. That’s a good thing!
A word about the dirt roads I followed. The dirt road that follows the west side of Bonita Canyon is typical southwest packed red sandstone with loose gravel on top in places that gives you the feeling of walking on marbles. The road is in good condition but a high clearance vehicle is recommended. When it rains, I’m sure the sandstone gets pretty slick. The road I followed west 4.7 miles up the canyon isn’t in as good a shape. It more or less follows a wash that’s narrow and rocky in places with good size ruts. An experienced 4 wheeler shouldn’t have too much difficulty with this road. This road will take you pretty close to the CP.