Sunday, January 30, 2011

Robledo Mountains- Indian Springs Canyon

I had been wanting to do a hike to Indian Springs Canyon on the west side of the Robledos ever since my last visit to the nearby Iron Hill mines. This is probably the second largest canyon/arroyo system on the west side. There is a rock shelter with grinding holes and closely associated pictographs at Iron Hill, so I thought this large canyon so close by could contain similar evidence of earlier cultures. The last time I came here the gate at the crumbling concrete house was locked, so I had to take a six or seven mile journey on very rough road through the Rough and Ready Hills to end up about a mile further down the road I had been on. Miraculously the gate was open. I ended up parking back on the county road after having a change of heart while driving down the the very rough road to the mines. I probably could have made it,but what the hell, we( my Scottie Seamus and I) were there for the walking anyway. There was a horse trailer there and off in the distance I could see a group of folks on horseback heading toward the cave( rock shelter) and the red blotches on the hillsides that mark the hematite deposits( hence the name Iron Hill). I found an old motorcycle path. At least, I think it was created by old dirt bikes. It didn't have any recent cow or horse prints and was too narrow for anything else. It could have been an old footpath I suppose as well. It led right to Indian Springs Canyon,which is quite narrow where it leaves the mountains but soon turns into a large arroyo. I found both pictographs and petroglyphs( some so old they were barely visible) as well as grinding holes a short ways up the canyon. There were large junipers.Canyon wrens and towhees flitted about. The rough walled canyon eventually leveled out, to become a gravel wash in an area of low hills. It was a beautiful warm winter day, although the west wind became very persistent on the return walk to our truck.
Update: this road is in horrible condition and you must have high clearance to drive it at all.My pick-up would not have made it,but on more recent trip a friend's super high Super Duty did. Update: The gate is always open now and you need four wheel drive once you turn off the county road.

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