A number of our hikes recently have been on trails through the Rio Puerco Valley that will inevitably have one or more views of Cabezon Peak, a prominent volcanic formation that rises nearly 2000 feet above the valley floor. To reach the summit requires rock climbing expertise beyond our desires and abilities, but we did hike once on a trail that circles the shoulder of the peak. Since we have had it in view so often lately we decided that today’s hike would be a revisit of the trail we had done before.
I only had a vague recollection of our previous Cabezon Peak hike. Seen from a distance it doesn’t look like it would be all that difficult to walk around the shoulder. What I didn’t realize is how much climbing was involved in getting to the shoulder. The first half mile of the trail is very steep and rocky, gaining about 600 feet of elevation. It levels off somewhat, but on the backside there is a challenging stretch over a boulder field. Coming back down was a bit of a knee cruncher but taking it slowly and carefully we were down in time to relax with our lunch break. A short but rewarding hike that allows us to check off that landmark the next time we view it off in the distance.