December 9. 2017

This was a partial loop with a shuttle. One car at the Abiquiu Lake rest area and the other at the Kitchen Mesa trail head in Ghost Ranch. We went in a clockwise direction, up to the mesa top, and down to the main arroyo/canyon that is the drainage between Kitchen Mesa and Mesa del Yeso.

It has been a goal for a a year or more to see if we could transit the whole canyon. Things looked good at first with the first few pour offs being negotiated with little effort, About one mile in however, we countered our first big drop and the canyon continued getting deeper from there. A worthy canyoneering goal but not for us. We traversed up onto Kitchen Mesa and paralleled the canyon until we found a way back down again, hopefully with no more pour offs ahead of us.

It turns out that the way we went down was exactly the same route we used last year in this location. Easy decision when it’s the only way to go. There is one more pour off between canyon bottom and terminus that is easy to work around going down slope and it’s a fairly easy and fun climb up slope. Next time maybe. The route is only 5.39 miles long with 1028 feet of ascent. It still took us 4 hours, 39 minutes which describes the concept that terrain rules over distance. We were myself, Jon Blakey, and Nancy King.

SK Lund

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