Monday, February 21, 2011

Cox Peak-Organ Mountains Desert Peaks National Monument

Cox peak is the tallest point in this cluster of massive mountains that are easily visible from the east mesa of Las Cruces. From that vantage point they look like islands rising out of the sea. It's hard to describe or photograph how huge and steep these mountains appear as you get close to them. They dwarf the nearby East and West Potrillo Mountains,like a block of skyscrapers smack dab in the middle of a suburban neighborhood. I hiked Friday on those steep slopes which are completely covered in broken rock. When hiking this mountain it's best to stay on the vegetated ridges even if it means dodging cactus and ocotillo. It's seems much safer than the bare talus slides( rock glaciers) that dominate nearly every available face of the mountain. But I've read at least one account  of an individual using the talus slopes to gain the summit. From Gap tank on County Road A007, it took me about 2 hours to do the 2 mile(one way), 1500ft+ elevation gain, climb and about 1 1/2 hours to get back down. Views are typically expansive, with ranges in Texas,Mexico,New Mexico and maybe even Arizona to be seen. On top there is a sign in notebook in a jar. I was the first person to climb the summit this year. I saw numerous raptors, including a golden eagle, jackrabbits and a few early bird lizards. Access is actually fairly easy on County Roads taking either A005 or A008 and A0010( I recommend these later 2 especially if in a 2wd passenger car) to A007 from New Mexico Highway 9. There are many other jeep trails in this area but the maintained county roads are signed and it's best to stay on them unless you have high clearance 4wd. The second spring I lived year we camped on an unmaintained road that runs up a canyon on the northeast side of Cox Peak.Cattle let us know their displeasure at our presence all night. We hiked the next day in the arroyo to the saddle between the major peaks,but it was almost too hot already even though it was only mid-March. I enjoyed my day here and have hikes planned for Mount Riley and the East Potrillo highpoint,but they may have to wait until the fall.

view to the East Potrillo Mountains

View to the West Potrillo and Florida Mountains

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Percha Box info

I just realized I may have confused some of you. There were comments inquiring about hiking the Percha Box below Hillsboro, for some reason I wrote in my reply North Percha Box. These are both great hikes( I have blogs about both),but the lower down one in the desert would be better this time of year. See my my blog about the Percha Box in 2008 section.Greg Magee's book Day Hikes and Nature Walks in the Las Cruces-El Paso Area has good directions to the trailhead. Directions to the North Percha Box trailhead are in the 2010 section of my blog.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Check comments for Fluorite Ridge-Pony HIlls

Marilyn and Oaul check comments for answers to queries.

More Pictures

If anyone out there is interested,I have many more of my pictures of travels in New Mexico posted at this site
Picture is of a natural arch along Mineral Creek in the Black Range.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Fluorite Ridge- Pony Hills

This area, northeast of Deming, has a lot to offer the desert explorer. There are the many mines of Fluorite Ridge with the chance to collect some beautiful mineral specimens.There is the history of Fort Cummings, Massacre Peak and the Butterfield Trail. And there's the outstanding petroglyph sites at Frying Pan Canyon and Pony Hills.There have even been Pleistocene fossils recovered from Starvation Draw.We had come with the idea of looking at the Pony Hills rock art for second time, but ended up taking our dog for walk down a little used road that ended on a small hill on the backside of Fluorite Ridge and over looks China Draw.We had a nice picnic,enjoyed views of the Cookes Range, and looked for rock art.This area is easily accessible by good county roads off of NM 26,yet we've rarely encountered people.We have been here at least ten times or so,sometimes finding what we're looking for,sometimes not, but always enjoying ourselves in the end.