Three from the Black Range
More fall color photos are coming eventually, but in the meantime I thought I’d share a few from our trip down south last week. We had been planning a four-day backpack in the Gila Wilderness, but when it was time to leave my wife was fighting illness and we were both exhausted. So we scaled back plans to a couple easy overnights. These shots are from the second of those, to Hillsboro Peak in southern New Mexico’s Black Range. You take whatever lakes you can get in that part of the state, but Hillsboro Lake was an unexpectedly beautiful little gem, hidden just off the range crest and ringed with aspens.
Though it lies just at the boundary of the Aldo Leopold Wilderness, one of New Mexico’s largest and least-visited, Hillsboro Peak’s summit is not exactly pristine. But the old Forest Service cabin from the ’30s was well-maintained, and gave us a nice shelter from the constant wind. We didn’t sleep inside due to mouse turds, but the porch was perfect, with a few gold aspens just out the front door. And the views from the fire lookout were killer, especially as a little rain storm blew through.
You can see an awful lot of New Mexico from Hillsboro, and the vast majority of the viewshed was quite satisfyingly empty. The only towns of any note in sight were Silver City (pop. ~10.500) and Truth or Consequences (~7,000), Las Cruces being just off the southeast horizon; everything else in this neighborhood is really small (e.g. Kingston, pop. ~30). But southern New Mexico is basin-and-range country, so mountain ranges are everywhere, corrugated land rippling away to all horizons.