Luciano Mesa • Highpoint: Quay County
• Highpoint: Llano Estacado Plateau

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Date: March 15, 2000 • Elevation: 5,561 feet • Prominence: none • Distance: 0.5 mile • Time: 20 minutes • Gain: 5 feet • Conditions: Clear

Luciano Mesa extends over a large area in southern Quay County, and is the northwestern "corner" of the Llano Estacado, the high-elevation plateau that covers much of eastern New Mexico and extending into Texas. The highpoint of Quay County is on this mesa. Although it is close, as the crow flies, to Interstate-40 near Tucumcari, the only practical access is from the south, along miles of remote highways. I came here after visiting the highpoint of Curry County.

I followed a series of highways to state route NM-156. Thirty miles later, where the highway goes west to north, I came upon the Ima townsite, which today is nothing but minor ruins. A little north of here the pavement ends and the continuation of NM-156 bends west again, parallelling a long fence. Here, the road is called Quay County Road BK.

It gets a smidge confusing here. The road goes through a gate, but apparently the public can drive here. I saw no signs against trespassing. I passed through the gate and followed a rutted track going northwest for a mile. I passed a fence line then parked to start my walking segment of the journey.

The highpoint is somewhere within a 5,560-foot contour that covers about 100 acres of sandy, scrubby rangeland. The map shows a 5,561-foot spot elevation, and I walked to "it", then spent awhile walking back and forth, hither and yon, stepping on anything that looked high. It all looked equal in height to me.

I had to invoke my "Rule of the Shin" here, which says that I probably (95% confidence) stood within a shin's height of the true highpoint, at some unknown time and/or place. Some might call it a Schrodinger Highpoint. I stepped on it but do not know when, and at some point in time stepped on it, but do not know where.

This was the the third of five highpoints for me today. I was feeling energetic, so I steeled up some courage to tackle the equally-flat highpoint of Roosevelt County next.

The actual highest point of Luciano Mesa is about 5,580 feet, located about a half-mile west of the Quay County Highpoint, inside Guadalupe County. An interesting geographical oddity about this highpoint is that it is also the highest point of the whole Llano Estacado, which drops every-so-slightly in elevation to the south and east. Thus, this point has a prominence, believe it or not, of over 600 feet. However, I did not visit this particular point.

(c) 2000, 2016 Scott Surgent. For entertainment purposes only. This report is not meant to replace maps, compass, gps and other common sense hiking/navigation items. Neither I nor the webhost can be held responsible for unfortunate situations that may arise based on these trip reports. Conditions (physical and legal) change over time! Some of these hikes are major mountaineering or backpacking endeavors that require skill, proper gear, proper fitness and general experience.