Love is Blue: Backpacking in New Mexico's Blue Range Wilderness

April 18-20, 2014

We stumbled into the Blue Range when a planned backpacking trip to Mineral Creek washed out during the great flood of September, 2013. We fell in love with this peaceful and lightly-traveled area and vowed to return for a longer trek.

After multiple crossings in thigh-deep water last fall, we were surprised to find the first mile or so dry except for an occasional puddle. But the flow increased downstream, picking up water from various side canyons.

We camped at the confluence of Tige Canyon and Pueblo Creek, and did a short hike up Tige and a longer exploration of Bear Canyon the following day. We flushed a coati and a wild turkey, saw lots of bear pawprints and were serenaded by a Western screech owl every night. Otherwise we had the trails entirely to ourselves. Except for the cows. Lots of cows. You can't ride a bike or operate a chainsaw in wilderness area, but it's okay to run cattle and cover the landscape with cow plop?

Despite the apparent light use, the trails were all in great shape and well-marked with carefully-built cairns.