New Mexico Remote Spot

Remote Footprints is working to precisely calculate and travel to the remotest locations in each of the 50 United States.  We call this unique endeavor–Project Remote.  Below is a written account of our 4-day hiking expedition to document the New Mexico Remote Spot. This is our 25th state Remote Spot documented as part of Project Remote.

Distance from Nearest Road:  11.4 miles
Distance from Nearest Trail:  
Travel Method: Backpacking
Hiking Distance One-Way: 

Cell Phone Coverage: No
Public Land: 
Yes, Gila Wilderness
Something We Learned: The Gila Wilderness was designated the world’s first wilderness area in 1924.  It’s also a heckuva place to see rattlesnakes in August…

Journal Draft In Progress

In Ryan’s wordsPages

August 24, 2014.  The Remote Spotters arrive in one of our favorite states..New Mexico!  Through the years, while on western U.S. trips, we have always gravitated to the southwest corner of NM…magnetically drawn to the wild and wonderful Gila National Forest.  We delighted while in the office months ago when we discovered that the New Mexico Remote Spot resided within the center of the Gila Wilderness.  It meant that we would return to the magnificent Gila for a New Mexico-sized adventure into the center of the wilderness.  Below is our first view post-Skyla of the region.  In a few short days and many long miles, we will be standing together as a family of three on that far horizon.  I’m tingling.  What will we see and learn this time?

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The NM Remote Spot, in the middle of the Gila, was 11.5 straight line miles from the nearest road.  The nearest road happened to be where we parked our car at the Gila Cliff Dwellings to begin our journey…

We donned extremely heavy backpacks at 72 lbs and 52 lbs for Ryan and Rebecca, respectively, because of our need to carry our 5 year old daughter and all the gear and food needed for a 5-day, scientific documentary wilderness jaunt for three…We walked 22.5 miles one-way (45 miles total) to the NM Remote Spot, primarily up the West Fork of the Gila River.  Walking up river and back down it again featured exactly 120 total wet, knee-deep river crossings (60 one way–we counted!)…Our feet were soaked the entire time and  sloshed all day in our boots.

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We encounter six rattlesnakes of 2 species (black-tailed and rock rattlesnakes) while on our 5-day NM Remote Spotting trip.  The biggest thing to remember when trekking in venomous snake country is “watch your step.”  As long as you don’t step directly on a venomous snake, or extremely close within its striking distance, you will not be bitten.  On this trip, six times we stepped near a rattler on the trail.  All rattled fiercely to signal their presence, but no strike.  Hearing the loud buzzing rattle gets your heart rate elevated!

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The girls flushed a black bear while I was behind re-tying my boots..Incredible scenery everywhere…


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The New Mexico Remote Spot resides in an elevated region of the Gila Wilderness called McKenna Park (below).  A magnificent Ponderosa pine forest towers over fire-maintained grassland.   Rebecca is dwarfed by the pines as she walks overland in search of the remote spot.  We experience a strong feeling of remoteness and develop a deep bond with this place.  This place quantifies and qualifies as a truly remote place…


RCM_2158Amazing wildflowers exploded across the ponderosa pine and juniper forested landscape courtesy of the big Gila Wilderness wildfire of 2012.  More details and story to come…