Cookes Peak is the highest point in Luna County. At ~8,400 ft, its height rivals peaks in the Organ Mountains, and is easily seen from Las Cruces (look east from the top of Tortugas Mountain) and Interstate 10 as you drive towards Deming. It was a major landmark of the Butterfield Trail as it passed through southern New Mexico.
Cooke's Peak is the first in a series of geocaches in southern New Mexico called the Labor of Hercules.
While there is a trail, expect it to be weak and overgrown.
The drive out there is some 1.5 hours. We'll make a pit stop in Deming before heading out to the mountain.
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, please donate to the ACLU (https://www.aclu.org/donate/join-renew-give) and harass 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: ~10 mi, out and back.
ELEVATION GAIN: ~3500 ft.
FEES: None. Of course, if you carpool, please compensate your driver for gas!
DURATION: Finish by mid to late afternoon. I recommend everyone free up the entire day and allow others to take their time.
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: *NOT* beginner friendly. No whiners!
TERRAIN: is technically on-trail, but will be rough. Towards the tops there is light rock scrambling.
WEATHER: is 30% chain of thunderstorms, high near 70. Check the NWS forecast for more details. (http://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.php?lon=-107.7320&lat=32.5356)
ROAD CONDITIONS:: we'll be on paved roads until a turn-off northeast of Deming, after which we'll turn off onto usually well-maintained ranch dirt roads. Friendly to most 2WD cars; please don't bring your sports car w/ low-profile tires.
RECOMMENDED CLOTHING & EQUIPMENT:: long pants, closed boots. Hiking poles if you're uncomfortable with loose terrain.
MEET for carpool at:
• Las Cruces: 7:00 am, in/outside Milagro Coffee at Pan Am Plaza. Open at 6:30 am on the weekends, the coffee, breakfast burritos, and bagels (fresh on the weekends) are all good here. GPS:[masked]°N,[masked]°W (see on Google Maps (http://maps.google.com/?q=32.287339,-106.745122&z=18), OpenStreetMap (http://www.openstreetmap.org/?mlat=32.287339&mlon=-106.745122&zoom=18), USGS topo map (http://mapper.acme.com/?ll=32.287339,-106.745122&marker0=32.287339,-106.745122&z=18))
• El Paso: 6:15 am, I-10 and Redd Road Kohl's, in the south end of the parking lot near Starbucks. GPS:[masked]°N,[masked]°W (see on Google Maps (http://maps.google.com/?q=31.865651,-106.576615&z=18), OpenStreetMap (http://www.openstreetmap.org/?mlat=31.865651&mlon=-106.576615&zoom=18), USGS topo map (http://mapper.acme.com/?ll=31.865651,-106.576615&marker0=31.865651,-106.576615&z=18)). Note: your host is not meeting here, please self-organize!
• Cookes Peak on SummitPost (http://www.summitpost.org/cookes-peak/152565)