If you've ever driven up Interstate 25, you've definitely seen Turtle Back Mountain (http://www.sierracountynewmexico.info/blog/turtleback-mountain-elephant-butte/) (aka Caballo Cone) towering over Caballo Lake and Elephant Butte Reservoir just outside Truth or Consequences. Sheryl is graciously leading a hike to the top for us!
Afterwards, the plan is to grab lunch, possibly at the Happy Belly Deli (http://www.yelp.com/biz/happy-belly-deli-truth-or-consequences), and stop at a hot/mineral springs in TorC, probably the Riverbend Hot Spings (http://www.riverbendhotsprings.com/). For the hot springs, please bring $10 cash, bathing suit, towel, etc along with your usual hiking implements (2–3 liters water, protein, and potassium-containing snack for the climb).
If you are a guest of the United States (i.e. non-citizen), there is a US Customs & Border Patrol checkpoint demarcating passage to/from what the ACLU calls a "Constitution-Free Zone" (http://www.aclu.org/national-security_technology-and-liberty/are-you-living-constitution-free-zone). If this bothers you, donating to the ACLU (https://www.aclu.org/donate/join-renew-give) and harassing your congress critters (http://www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml); otherwise please bring appropriate documentation of your entry into the US (passports, visas, etc—you know better what you need than we do). Group hikes are not the place to make a stand for your civil liberties.
DISTANCE is 4.5 mi.
ELEVATION GAIN is ~2200 ft gained.
FEES: None. Of course, if you carpool, please compensate your driver for gas! Addtl. fee for hot springs (see description).
DURATION: Finish by mid to late afternoon.
PET FRIENDLY? Yes. Bring a muzzle (you shouldn't need be told to bring a proper leash), and if you'd like to unleash, ask others before you do so.
SKILL LEVEL is *NOT* beginner friendly. No whiners!
TERRAIN is high desert, with loose rocks, cacti, etc.
WEATHER is TBA.
AFTERWARDS we will get late lunch in TorC, and may stop by a hot springs to relax. Please bring $10 cash.
MEET for carpool at:
• Las Cruces: 7:30 am, K-Mart parking lot on North Main/US 70 and Del Rey, near Shell. GPS:[masked]°N,[masked]°W (see on Google Maps (http://maps.google.com/?q=32.35083,-106.76538&z=18), OpenStreetMap (http://www.openstreetmap.org/?mlat=32.35083&mlon=-106.76538&zoom=18), USGS topo map (http://mapper.acme.com/?ll=32.35083,-106.76538&marker0=32.35083,-106.76538&z=18)).
• GPS track from EveryTrail (http://www.everytrail.com/view_trip.php?trip_id=1424003)