After a couple hard days riding we were looking for a more chill day. The ride we did started from the Dragonfly Trailhead in Silver City and the trails are located in the Gila National Forest. We rode 16.5 miles with 1461′ of climbing.
This is a historic network of trails that were important for the delivery of supplies to Fort Bayard back in the 1800’s. These trails are all fairly mellow, though some are harder than others with areas of slickrock and technical riding. The further we got from the trailhead, the more rugged the trails. It’s high dessert landscaping for sure as we were between 6000 and 7000′ the whole ride.
Some of the highlights:
The Big Tree Trail does indeed takes you by a big tree. We stopped to gawk at the enormous alligator juniper, a state-sanctioned record-size tree. Standing tall at 63 feet with a circumference of 18 feet 4 inches, I was dwarfed by it as I stood at the base.
We stopped and looked at the dragonfly petroglyphs along the Dragonfly Trail. According to Zuni Interpretation, the Dragonflies are the ones that are receiving the rain, so you see a lot of them when there is going to be moisture or where there is moisture. If you see dragonflies you know there is water somewhere. There was indeed a bit of water left still in the Twin Sisters Creek.
During the days of the Fort Bayard Military Reservation (starting in 1865), Woodhaul Wagon Road was used to transport wood from the Pinos Altos mountain range to the Fort by mule and oxen carts. The trail still has the wagon ruts in the rock. We didn’t realize this until after the ride so I don’t think we got a picture of it.
The coyotes at night are really crazy to listen to. Not only is it really dark sky out here but there isn’t anything very close except mountains and critters. Our local coyotes seem to be very good at hunting and catching prey.