Cooke's Peak and the Florida Mountains

November 26-29, 2015

Our annual "Thanksgiving at Turkey Creek" trip was yet another victim of this fall's exceptionally wet weather. With the Gila running three times its normal rate and the forecast calling for rain, high wind and freezing temperatures, we decided to forge ahead anyway, only to discover that a slick coat of mud made Brushy Creek road impassable. We regrouped at the Javalina Coffeehouse in Silver City and tried to figure out what to do.

We couldn't come up with another backpacking route that didn't involve either a very long drive or flooded creeks or no reliable water source, so we redirected to City of Rocks State Park for the night.
I forgot how much I like this place! Very scenic, with terrific camping spots tucked into the rocks, running water and solar showers for $10.00 a night!
A Great Horned Owl consented to pose for a few photos.
We had a glorious outdoor Thanksgiving potluck feast complete with homemade turkey, stuffing, vegetable pie, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, cranberry relish, cornbread muffins and pumpkin pie!
We scraped together just enough wood for a cozy campfire.
Ever since reading Black Range Tales — I've been fascinated by the history of southeastern New Mexico.
Friday and Saturday we hiked parts of Cooke's Peak and Florida Peak, but we were pelted with icy rain, hail and high winds the first day, and the second dat we made the entire hike inside a dense cloud. But we consoled ourselves by camping both night at nearby Faywood Hot Springs
We clawed our way to the end of the jeep road in Windmill Canyon, and from there we bushwhacked toward Florida Peak, but it was rough going with steep incline and lots of brush and boulders.
Debra, Hans and Dennis warming up on the way down.
An emergency coffee stop in Deming landed us at Elisa's House of Pies. We returned in time for dinner. What a great place! Southern home cooking in a 114-year-old carriage house. Not to be missed if you're anywhere in the area!