Ascent of Brazos Ridge on 2018-08-03

Climber: Phil Robinson

Others in Party:My dog Captain.
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Friday, August 3, 2018
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Brazos Ridge
    Location:USA-New Mexico
    Elevation:10960 ft / 3340 m

Ascent Trip Report

I peakbagged for years with my dog Daisy before she died. I always trusted Daisy to stay with me. Since she died I have 2 new wirehaired fox terriers. One gets car sick, so the other is the default peakbagging dog. I do not have the trust that he will stay with me like Daisy. I do not take him in deep forests and mostly look for roads, good trails, or open area to hike with him. This hike I took Captain for his 5th trip.

I left the house at 4:20 AM, August 3, 2018, heading to northwest New Mexico to hike Brazos Ridge, elevation 10,963. I also planned to hike the Cruces Wilderness Basin high point, elevation 10,900. North of Tres Piedras I turned off of Highway 285 going west on Forest Road 87 for 27 miles. I did not realize how easy this peak was going to be or I would have hiked it years ago. You can drive to within a quarter mile of the peak, but I don’t count a peak unless I hike at least 3 miles. I parked 4.5 miles away from the peak where Lagunitas Creek meets the road. I have not been in this part of New Mexico and it was gorgeous! Most of the 27 mile drive is covered with rich green grass meadows, beautiful rolling hills mixed with patches of aspen and blue spruce forest. A nice little camping area is close by where I started. Throughout the day I saw turkey, a coyote, grouse, elk and deer. It was a clear, not warm and not cool, morning. The starting elevation was 10,204 feet. I started hiking with Captain at 8:10 AM. Almost the entire hike is on a 4WD mountain road. There is lots of mud, road ponds, and obstacles and anyone driving close to the peak would need a 4WD. Captain was so happy to be running free and did very well going up the road. The last quarter mile of the hike we cut across the ridge through meadows to the peak. This was the easiest hike I have done in years! It was a 4.5 mile hike, took 1 hour and 43 minutes with an elevation gain of 860 feet. A five hour trial was about to begin…….

I had Captain sit and I took a peak picture of him. I took a few pictures of the beautiful surroundings and was going to get him and take a picture of us together. At the edge of the mountain top meadow was a forest. I saw captain by the forest and thought that I had better get him on a leash……….then he vanished. I called and called and there was no response. I looked everywhere close by but could not find him. I prayed and asked God for wisdom. I felt an impression in my heart that if I walked to the far ridge top to the north I would find him. I walked part way, went back to check the top, hunted all over and after over 2 hours I figured that I should get the SUV, see if he went back, and drive it back to the top to spend the night. I was teary eyed and so sad that I had lost my dog. The area is a massive forest, no civilization, no one to find him, and I imagined the slow gruesome death of my beloved little dog. I was teary eyed and doing a lot of talking and praying to God. On the way back I pondered our own freewill. My dog made a poor freewill choice! It seemed fine to him. We have freewill! It is the most beautiful and terrifying gift from God. That is why evil exists in the world. Without freewill we would be programmed computers. We are not! I was radically saved out of the new age by the Jesus of the Bible, literally licking the flames of hell to get my attention. Freewill demands a choice! I truly believe that Jesus died for our terrifying sinful choices. The choice we all make, because of our inherent sinful nature……………..Anyway, the hike was easy physically but tough emotionally and spiritually! There was a father and son making a north to south backcountry drive. They started in Lordsburg and were heading to Colorado. Fun! They said they would watch the road for him and pick him up if they spotted him. It started to rain as soon as I arrived back at the SUV. I drove up the muddy, pond filled road, At the top I drove across grassland and parked where I lost the dog. I planned to spend the night. I was so sad. I had that impression again, that if I walked to the far north ridge top I would find him along the way. I put on my rain poncho. I could feel a little strain in my voice from calling him. I headed north towards the ridge top calling out. About a mile north he came running out of the woods towards me. I was so happy to see him and he was happy to see me! (Luke 15:1-7) He could have been 6 miles away in the time-frame and lost forever! I gave him some water. He drank almost the entire bottle. I was so thankful to God for my little dog back!

I had already hiked the Cruces Basin Wilderness high point walking back to where the SUV was originally parked. The total hike would have been 9 miles from where I was parked, instead it was 12.3 miles with an elevation gain of 1298 feet. I counted the initial mileage hunting for my dog because that was an unfortunate part of the peakbagging experience. I drove back to the Albuquerque area desiring a deeper appreciation for things I take somewhat for granted, and I had a joyful feeling for God’s helping hand in finding my dog. (12 more to go)

See almost 1500 NM peak pictures....
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:860 ft / 262 m
    Total Elevation Loss:104 ft / 31 m
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Open Country
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:860 ft / 262 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 756 ft / 230 m; Extra: 104 ft / 31m
    Loss on way in:104 ft / 31 m
    Distance:4.4 mi / 7.1 km
    Route:Forest Road 87 then west across top
    Start Trailhead:Lagunitas Creek & FR 87  10204 ft / 3110 m
    Time:1 Hours 43 Minutes
Descent Statistics
Ascent Part of Trip: Brazos Ridge +1

Complete Trip Sequence:
1Brazos Ridge2018-08-03 a860 ft / 262 m
2Cruces Basin Wilderness High Point2018-08-03 b501 ft / 153 m
Total Trip Gain: 1361 ft / 415 m    Total Trip Loss: 668 ft / 204 m
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Phil Robinson
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Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

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