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Jawbone Mountain (near Hopewell Lake) Bike Ride, Northern New Mexico

July 5, 2009

Author: Chris Nelson

Participants: Tuff Riders and LAM members.    Map: click here.

What a way to start a ride, to be jerked out of sleep with thunder, lightening and driving rain at 6:30 a.m., with leaving time in 1 hours.  But typical of New Mexico the rain cleared and after 5 frantic phone calls to those who have good computer weather access we agreed to go in spite of the weather.

A view from the top of Jawbone Mountain, near the New Mexico/Colorado boarder.

Nine lucky riders left Sullivan Field at 8 and drove two hours to the trail head under bright blue sky. We were a combination of Tuff Riders and Los Alamos Mountaineers out to explore a lovely high country ride through meadows, aspen, and fir forest. There was one other truck at the trail head but we saw no one until we returned to the highway.  All riders survived and hopefully enjoyed themselves.

Where the heck are we?

We were surrounded by towering thunderheads and saw lightening in the distance, but above us blue sky persisted for the entire ride except for 1 minute of tiny hail. The only rain drops occurred after we were back in the cars and heading south.  Such good luck!

This is a loop ride of 15 miles, up and down around Jawbone Mountain in the Brazos Mountains. There are no tall peaks in the Brazos so the range makes for great riding. The meadows were full of flowers, creeks were flowing and at times mud caked our bikes. The high point of the trip, where the pictures were taken is 10,600' and one can see forever to the mountains between Chama and Pagosa Springs, the Brazos Cliffs, and south over the mesas and valleys of Tierra Amarilla and the Jicarilla Apache lands.

Eight of our nine intrepid mountain bikers.

The trail follows the "Tony Marquez Trail" and the continental divide trail over old forest service and logging roads, double track and single track.  Some of the up hill stretches are lung busters but the reward is the down hill sections.  Of course, we had to explore some and that lead to crossing meadows full of bunch grass, hidden rock and wood, but we found our way back to the starting point and managed to avoid a three mile stretch of road riding.

I would say that this trail rivals the South Boundary Trail for premier status in the NM mountain biking world.  It will be a lovely ride in the fall during aspen season if anyone is interested in repeating it.


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