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Volcano Hill and Cerro Verde

Thomas Conrad offers to lead this event: 12/16 Update - Moved the meetup location to the westside to facilitate getting out of town faster. The location will be in the parking lot of the Walmart at Coors and I-40, planning on meeting near this spot: Weather is looking *great* for Friday--high of 50 and mostly sunny. Should be a good time!
Poor weather will cancel or change the trip because I have no desire to get stuck on muddy roads. After heading out to the Cabezon area of the Rio Puerco last weekend, I wanted to head south to some slightly different type of volcanic terrain in the big empty space on the map south of Laguna Pueblo and north of the Alamo band of Navajos. This hike is very loosely inspired by the Volcano Hill hike Stephen Ausherman describes in his 60 Hikes in 60 Miles book (Hike #57), but I have no particular drive to follow that hike as described. My main goals are to explore a new area, hike to the top of Volcano Hill, then cross the road and hike to the top of the taller Cerro Verde. Between those two, there is about 6+ miles of hiking and 1500+ feet of vertical gain, making it at least a moderate day of hiking. If these two high points turn out to be easier than expected and we are still feeling ambitious, Mesa Gallina isn't far away and promises plenty of adventure, too, although I doubt we could do it justice in half a day. At any rate, come prepared for some fairly challenging volcanic desert terrain. There will be no trails, loose rocks, and sharp plants. Bring more water than you think you'll need and food enough to keep you moving. Expect it to be chilly and possibly breezy, although the forecast is for sun at this point--bring your jacket just in case.

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