It all begins with a road sign ("Something you haven't seen before, this way --->") and a day free of time constraints. We followed the impulse to turn "this way" to see what we might encounter.
|This one is ... (please don't say it) ... wait for it ... (you can stop and walk away right now!) ... outstanding in his field.|
Weather is the soundtrack for any adventure. Sunny? Yeah, let's go - what can go wrong?? Ominous? Should I go back? Will I get out of here?
All these sky shots happened in the same sky.
I'm linking to this particular page about Mt. Withington because it makes Spud and me sound like crazy mountain explorers. CRAZY!!
Once you enter the "WARNING narrow winding road next 5 miles" area, there are multiple camping opportunities. Don't bring a trailer or big rig up here. It's strictly one-lane.
From what I could discern from my Benchmark map, I never got into the Gila Wilderness (which would require abandoning Spud and setting out on the horse I had packed for the occasion). The Cibola National Forest abuts the Wilderness area, and that's where Mt. Withington lies.
The only other human I encountered on this road was a biker with the fattest tires I've ever seen. I passed him three times, and he was glad to see the last of me when he got off his bike and walked up the final piece of the road that Spud and I regretfully forewent.
We came face-to-face with a sign that said "<=== Feel free to enjoy this road, unless you are a passenger vehicle" Spud and I looked deep into the other's eyes. CHALLENGE ACCEPTED. Really, we should have declined, but all's well that ends with us back on solid ground.
|This benign road is what you get if you push past good sense.|
|Gratuitous radio telescope. It's the money shot.|
Another choice is to TURN AROUND NOW FOR GODSSAKE!
The third is to venture on a final mile (such a short distance!) to visit Bear Trap Canyon campground. We had come so far ...
This last "mile" was, by far, the most transportationally-challenging of the trip. Here is where I'll go ahead and say 4x4 only. Unless. I made it in, I made it out. And I stand by my recommendation.