Rio Grande National Forest
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Neff Mountain sits with a cliff face to the west and I decided to climb it. The high point is a few feet back of that cliff face and an older geocache is some distance down the other side, so I decided to go and visit both. It looks like a long ramp up around the south edge of the cliff and another route is possible around the north side, so these will be my routes up and down. There are also old logging roads that come up the north side, but nothing I have documents much of them and the cross country routes look quite fine. It is too short to feel the need to resort to a road.
|Just a little mountain about a mile off with a mesa flavor.|
I do have to make my way along the road a short way to start up the south side, but there is plenty of shoulder along the way and turnouts should I have decided to do an out and back along the south route. Just past a small creek, I start to climb upward. It is a late start, so I get to watch the first train through the pass. The narrow gauge coal fired engine is a tower of black smoke as it makes its way upward behind a hill. Mixed with steam as it stops to take on more water at Cumbres Pass, it billows a lighter grey. Once going again, it is slow to get up to speed, then promptly slows down again to wander a big curve that is all part of keeping the grade of the tracks to a minimum. A while behind and even slower powered by its own tiny diesel engine is a little yellow car that rattles a bit as it makes sure the archaic engine doesn't set the forest ablaze.
|Climbing up short grass and flowers with outcrops of rocks and trees.|
|Where there's smoke, there's train. The board on the train station does not seem to actually reflect the schedule.|
|The route is generally around to the right to avoid the short cliff that does seem to be tumbled rocks in at least a few places. There are quite a few beetle killed trees along the way.|