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). I suggest a least 10.00. the trail head is about 85 miles one way.
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!. Beginners are welcomed. This is a in and out hike , you can go as far as you want then turn around and wait for the rest of us by the trailhead.
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)