Gail and I Take on the Florida Mountains

I had been meaning to hike in the Florida Mountains for the last 2 years but I just hadn’t gotten there before this past February when Care-a-vanner and hiking partner Gail was looking for something new. The small range, located barely 20 miles north of Mexico, is known for it’s population of Persian ibex, imported in the early 1970s from Iran by the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish. Today an established herd of 400 roam the 12-mile long range; the population is so healthy in fact that the state has been offering hunting tags for ibex for over 40 years.

I of course had hopes of seeing one of the elusive ibex but our hike there was motivated by the beautiful rugged terrain since I’m aware that the chances of spotting the horned creatures are very low. I do think I heard one clattering above us just before we turned around but I’ll never know for certain. Anyway, we approached the range from the east side knowing there was a social trail there which seemed like a good place to start. An unusual storm had deposited snow over the last 48 hours even at 5,000 feet however unfortunately obscuring the trail once it crossed into the shady side of the canyon. But we were just as happy to make our own way, bushwacking up the sunny, snowy slope in the center of the canyon towards the peaks; it was slippery and steep and slow-going at times, but quite a lovely hike despite the amount of side hilling.

We stopped when we reached a point where climbing would have been necessary, agreeing that though we were both satisfied with the views over the canyon we’d like to return and find the trail someday in order to summit some of the peaks. The tallest are only just above 7,000 feet and seem mostly possible, except for some verticals near the tops.