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New Mexico BackRoads’ Gila Legends Expedition

Picture New Mexico in your mind; what do you see? Are you envisioning golden prairies rolling into the distance, towering green mountainsides looming above shady pines, or cool streams running along dirt roads? If not then you haven’t seen this enchanting place through the eyes of Jake Quinones, owner of New Mexico Back Roads (NMBR) and guide to some of the best overland trips in North America. I know what you’re thinking, “following a guide, that’s not very adventurous” but despite the allure of planning your own trip, it’s not always the best option. From hidden hot springs to fabulous vistas, the knowledge of local guides has often made the difference between an ordinary and extraordinary journey for myself and our team.

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It’s for that reason that I’m excited to attend the upcoming Gila Legends Expedition, a five day trip through some of New Mexico’s most rugged and remote regions. With knowledge of the area limited to what I’ve seen off Interstate 40, I was at a loss seeing the photos from Jake’s gallery. Looking over the map I didn’t have the faintest idea of where to start looking for this route, but the beautiful part is I don’t have to. Instead of spending hours planning and mapping a trip in the hopes that I might see something good, an experienced guide will be taking care of all the details and allowing me to sit back, relax, and enjoy the very best the area has to offer.

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So what does the area have to offer? The Gila Legends Expedition covers 375 miles with elevations ranging from 4,300 to 9,600 feet. Along the way you will be greeted by stunning vistas, multiple water crossings, historic land marks, and plenty of wildlife including possible sightings of Mexican Grey Wolf. Drivers will follow roads ranging from mild to wild through the Black Range, Plains of San Agustin, Mogollon Mountains, Tularosa Mountains, Elk Mountains, Continental Divide, and even some Chihuahuan Desert before the journey is done. Where else are you going to find that much variety shoved into just five days?

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With experience guiding clients of all types including companies like AEV, this journey is sure to impress and inspire qualified attendees of all ages and interests, but there are a few requirements to participate.

“The Gila Legends Expedition will require participants to be self-supportive with regards to vehicle, equipment, meals and supplies. Services of any kind, including cell, fuel, or anything remotely civilized, will be unavailable for stretches of up to 225 miles.”

A full list of required equipment and personal effects will be provided to attendees upon request, along with more details on the trip itinerary. NMBR will take care of the rest including route planning, recovery services, advice on vehicle and equipment preparation, and even some basic field repair work if needed.

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If your idea of fun is a five star resort with waiters and restaurants this might not be the vacation for you, but if you love the adventure of crossing new lands, the joy of viewing natural treasures in the back-country, or experiencing a place like few others have, then you definitely want to be on this trip. I sure as heck will be, and I hope to see you there.


The Gila Legends trip for 2016 departs on August 22nd and space is limited! Be sure to book now to reserve your spot. For more information about New Mexico Backroads’ upcoming overland based adventures and 4WD skills building experiences, visit his website here, or email Jake at nmbackroads@gmail.com

Too busy to make this trip? Fear not, you can read about all the adventure in the Summer 2016 issue of Overland Journal here!

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Born and raised in Dallas, Texas, Chris didn’t receive a real taste of the outdoors until moving to Prescott, Arizona, in 2009. While working on his business degree, he learned to fly and spent his weekends exploring the Arizona desert and high country. It was there that he fell in love with backcountry travel and four-wheel drive vehicles, eventually leading him to Overland Journal and Expedition Portal. After several years of honing his skills in writing, photography, and off-road driving, Chris now works for the company full time as Expedition Portal's Senior Editor while living full-time on the road.