Some high points are beautiful, some you drive up to, and some make you go ‘Meh’.
I miscalculated daylight, the internet said 06:43, but I didn’t realize that the Black Mesa Preserve is in the Central time zone and planned for Mountain time so I was an hour late right out of the gate. Not great when the forecast is around 100 degrees.
After driving through miles and miles and miles of flat cattle land from my hotel in Lamar CO, the landscape slowly started to show some minor depressions and hills, and within maybe 10 miles the terrain changes to miles and miles of wide flat mesas.
It’s a Rough Life
As expected, I had the trailhead to myself – nobody else was dumb enough to be out here! Or so I thought. Heading up the switchbacks to the mesa top I came across a group of young girls coming down. They had started at a side trail at the 2 mile mark, and had cut 4 miles off their hike. Genius! With under 800 feet of elevation gain to the 4,973 foot “summit”, it’s a cakewalk up even when you do the full 8 mile roundtrip.
The "trail" is really an old two-track and makes a long loop around the mesa out of the way, somebody must have thought this was the scenic side.
There were plenty of grazing cows along the way to keep me company, and the benches every mile are a nice touch, but the hike pretty much sucks and there is absolutely no reason to do this trail other than highpointing.