I did a little Negrito camping this past weekend. Negrito is a USFS back country airstrip located in the Gila Wilderness Area of southwest New Mexico. What a wonderfully peaceful setting.
I departed for the Gila immediately after work. For July in New Mexico, it was a relatively cool day. However; that 92 degree OAT at departure sure didn’t feel all that “cool”. Nonetheless; the RV-3 did great and was quickly into the cooler air above. The flight down took me over Magdalena, NM and south of the Very Large Array Radio Telescope (VLA). It was somewhat bumpy but, again, not bad for a July afternoon in the mountains.
Yes, there is a gap in the above GPS track. I forgot to turn on my tracking GPS when I left Negrito. You’ll just have to use your imagination. 🙂
I arrived at Negrito at about dinner time and a friend that was joining me followed along shortly. We setup camp, enjoyed a simple dinner, and just enjoyed the peace and quiet. Hanging out in the Gila Wilderness is something that is hard to imagine if you’ve never done it. Before the light faded, I was doing my best to rectify my “too few pictures” problem when the battery in my camera died. Ugh… I just can seem to get it right. I tried to take some with my phone but it does a marginal job, at best.
How do you like my attempt at being artistic? That old coil of barbed wire was just screaming at me that it was artsie and needed to be used!!
The sunset was the beginning of a great show. The darker it became, the more the coyotes yipped and howled and the more the stars shined. Before long, the stars were lighting up the sky. This spot is many, many miles from any significant man made light so the star show is something else. I’m not sure I have ever seen the milky way like I did that night! Amazing! There was no vehicle noise from a nearby road, no motorcycles racing around, no nothing! Gila camping is amazing! Priceless!
I’m not a great “wilderness sleeper”. Sounds wake me up pretty easily. I suppose I am expecting a bear to come bounding into my tent or something. Nothing exciting like that occurred and I got some reasonable sleep.
I arose early the next morning to watch the sun rise and it did not disappoint! I tried a variety of settings on my phone camera to get some decent pictures and a few came out ok, most did not. No matter, it was a spectacular event!
Breaking camp was a pretty quick affair and soon we were on our way over Rainy Mesa, another USFS airstrip that is closed, and on to Glenwood, NM to visit a friend. We landed on the Whitewater Mesa airstrip which is 2300′ long at 5460′ MSL. Even loaded with camping gear, my little RV-3 did great. She used about half of it for both landing and takeoff (roughly). This portion of New Mexico is very pretty and worth flying over should you ever get the chance.
The flight home took me over Reserve, NM, Datil, NM, and into Belen, NM where I knew they were having a pancake breakfast! I probably would have stayed out camping for another night but for this social event!
That little black thing out on the wing of my aircraft is my HD video camera (Drift). I am still having trouble getting the remote control to work in flight. On the ground, it works fine from a good 30′. In the air, there must be a lot of electrical interference or something as it does not like to work. Frustrating but I’ll get it figured out eventually.
All told it was about 300 nm and about 2 hours of flying. The tent, sleeping bag, and new self-inflating mattress all worked great. I thoroughly enjoyed God’s creation and the opportunity to get away from it all for a bit of relaxation!