October 20, 2018
This hike takes you from the East into the Ojito Wilderness and nearby areas. This is the Colorado Plateau and the geology and flora resemble or is the same as that found in parts of Utah, Arizona, and Colorado. The geology of the Plateau is laid bare by uplift and erosion and is fascinating to travel through.
We turned off Highway 550 near White Mesa. There is a dirt road that takes you to a gate and beyond it is a corral and a sign letting you know that you are on public land. You can either park here or proceed across the Rio Salado if your vehicle has enough clearance and good tires. Always stop and check the depth of the sand and it’s firmness before proceeding. On this day the Rio was low and the sand was firm. You continue on dirt roads of varying quality through another gate and onto wherever your comfort level allows you to, up to the Wilderness border, which I could not find. When the road got marginal, we quit and put on our packs.
Note: You never want to be here on foot or behind the wheel. if the roads are muddy, you won’t be leaving until they are dry.
About the route. It was developed over some time by having some familiarity with the area and being aware of where I wanted to go. Some time was spent with topo maps and Google Earth to parse it out. We used dirt roads, ATV tracks, surprisingly good cattle trails, arroyos, slick rock, and some scrambling and butt sliding thrown in. Most of the features here do not have names so for the purpose of this narrative and the map attached, I have given some to those areas we travelled where they either do not exist or the name used was learned from other sources.
Overall myself, Nancy, and CK were very pleased with our experience. We hiked 8.75 miles, climbed 887 feet, and it took us 5 hours and 10 minutes of hike time and 3.25 hours of drive time. I would put this hike in the low range of strenuous.