Wednesday, September 29, 2010

De-Na-Zin Wilderness

The De-Na-Zin access to the Bisti/ De-Na-Zin Wilderness area is on County Road 7500 about 13 miles west of the junction with Highway 550, near Huerfano in northwest New Mexico. This access is in the eastern part of the wilderness. From the more popular Bisti access, road 7500 is 8 miles south on highway 371, then east about 10 miles. The De-Na-Zin access isn’t marked very well, but it is the only place along road 7500 with room to pull over and park and with an obvious gate through the fence.

The first 200 yards of hiking is along a short section of road through a sagebrush field. Most of the terrain along road 7500 is similar rolling sagebrush fields with very few houses and a few oil and gas wells. The road ends abruptly at the edge of a colorful eroded basin.

There aren’t any official trails in the wilderness area. In the area where I descended into the basin, there was an old fence leading north and I followed it across the eroded clay and sandstone surface toward a rocky small mesa that was just to the west of the fence line.

The small mesa overlooked a wide eroded basin and the rocky area extended in pieces to the east. There were some sculpted formations, often called hoodoos, visible to the east and I hiked toward them. Across the eroded basin north were some tall hills that would offer some challenging and probably slippery climbing.

The sculpted formations included a small arch. There are several rocks in this area supported by thin pedestals and more good views north across the deep eroded basin.

Rather than retrace my steps, I tried to loop back south toward the road. There is an old road in this area that works as a trail for part of the way. This road leads further east and I didn’t see where it enters the area. Along this area there is some petrified wood visible.

Further on, I came across some rounded bowling ball sized rocks eroding out of a sandy wash. I’m not an expert, but these look like the formations that are called concretions. Concretions build up around a nucleus and are sometimes mistaken as fossil eggs. The last 0.5 miles of my hike were along the fence line near road 7500. My total hike was for 2:00 hours for about 4 miles on an unusually warm 80 F degree late September day. The sky was clear and I carried 3 liters of water. After this hike, I also visited the Bisti access on the west end of the wilderness area.


No comments: