September 25, 2018
Originally incorrectly named with a trail missing, now corrected in the title if anyone cares, the Gabaldon Trail is shown on most maps but is not an official trail. It is in good enough condition to know that people use it. The junction with the Circle Trail is not where it is shown on the map by a long shot. Neither is the trail itself. In both instances where we have hiked this trail, we ended up bushwhacking until we ran into it some ways from the mapped junction. Today I decided that I wanted to find that junction so after thrashing around I did and backtracked to it. It’s no surprise it’s so hard to find because it’s blocked off as if to say, “no trail here”.
My impression is that its kind of a “locals only” trail that people use but try to keep a secret, I’m guessing, could be wrong.
This hike starts at Borrego Trailhead but instead of going downhill onto the Borrego Trail, you head uphill where no trail exists initially. Soon you see a good track heading off to the Southwest. This one is also unnamed but it has been maintained. Soon enough you intersect with the Circle Trail proper with its picnic tables and signs. One branch heads downhill to Hyde State Park. The branch we’re on weaves in and out of state and USFS land.
I noticed right away that every 25 yards or so there were big loops of yellow caution tape. At first, I thought they were left over barriers from when the Forest was closed in June but they kept going. Finally, I decided to start tearing them off and ended up with about 50 of them and there are still a lot more out there. My guess is that someone was marking off a mountain bike course that was probably being used at night. Of course, no one came to clean up the tape. I expect to go back and get the rest of it. Let me know if you want to help out.
The rest of the hike is straightforward stuff once you junction with Chamiza. 6 miles, 2100 feet of ascent. Figure 4 hours for this one.