Monday, March 15, 2010

Achenbach Canyon-Organ Mountains

We hiked up to upper Achenbach Canyon in the Organs in September. We've hiked this one many times over the years mainly in the winter. It has a good, easy to follow unofficial trail that starts from a short, rough road off Ladera Canyon Road. It had been raining for a few days and the old stock tank at the beginning of the trail was full and the tiny stream was flowing. In fact most of the little drainages along the way were flowing, as was upper and lower Achenbach itself: a rare occurence. You could hear the gushing of the 75 foot waterfall that separates the two,but couldn't really see it from the trail. I caught a glimpse by venturing out on a promontory on the way back,but I wasn't close enough for a photo, and didn't have time to venture to the bottom. A couple weeks ago I decided to venture into the lower canyon. We've had plenty of rain and snow this winter, and I had hoped that the big falls might have some decent flow. It was a pretty rough bushwack and as it turned out the "falls" was more like a trickle or a drip.Photographed it anyway but I will return if and when conditions are right again.The unofficial trail in the upper canyon has spur that goes off to the south up to a small saddle and then down into an adjacent canyon. On the way down a small cave is visible across the canyon up on the hillside. I believe some call it "Apache Cave." I ventured up there once,but don't remember anything remarkable about it. We have stayed on the main trail and followed it east to it's end( as far as we could tell) over a ridge and down into the upper end of the parallel canyon to the south all the way to high ridges at the north end of Long Canyon( Note: you will encounter military NO TRESPASSING signs in this area, enter at your own risk). We also have done a loop venturing down the parallel canyon and coming  back up the spur trail. This was a pretty thick bushwhack in spots. One can also continue up the grassy meadow section of Achenbach to the north and cross over the ridge into Soledad  Canyon for a shuttle hike, though I have never done this.

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