It took me 13 hours to go 16 miles. That folks, are the Pueblo Mountains.
It will take everything you’ve got with the elevation gain, primarily cross country travel, some knarly bushwacking at times…but so worth it. It’s definitely a range you should spend days in, with minimal miles so you can savor the stunning beauty.
Denio Canyon was very choked with willows and such, but starting from the south I could see lots of traces of the old road, and if that wasn’t passible, would side hill on the talus until i could see a path on the road again. Once the drainage split it was impossible to stay near the water, but climbed the south west side and found a good animal trail. I’ll try and draw it out on a map when I get home.
The sage definitely took a toll on my legs. I had my tall gaiters on all day, but the little skin showing got thrashed from the miles and miles of bushwacking before I put on my long john bottoms for protection. Bring pants & gaiters!!!
Once I reached Cairn #20 (this is a route developed by the original desert trail…in the 70s I think) and they put up a series of cairns in lieu of trail), I could tell this section was much more traveled….there was almost a trail at times.
I could write more, but I’m exhausted. I’ll head into Fields tomorrow and try to take most of the day off. Feeling a little beat up.