Thursday, January 26, 2012

Iron Hill-Robledo Cave

Iron Hill is on the southwest side of the Robledos. It is so named because of the hematite deposits there. There are several shallow prospects,but it appears there was never any extensive mining. The massive botyroidal specimens of reddish brown hematite are of interest to mineral collectors. In the midst of this hematite collecting area there is Robledo Cave: a shallow shelter with grinding holes at it's entrance. It was most likely used by both ancient and relatively recent native peoples.Near the cave in small alcoves in the rock are blood red pictographs which obviously used the handy hematite as pigment.The southern end of the Robledos are long ridge of undistinguished low hills that hardly qualify as mountains,yet there are areas such as these of interest to rockhounds and rock art explorers that make them worth a visit. Access to this area is from the Corralitos Road and then proceeding on one of two dirt roads,depending on whether a crucial gate is locked. If it's unlocked, it's a pretty easy drive to the road that heads east to the hills. If it's locked, there's a much rougher road through the Rough and Ready Hills that will land at the same spot. The road to the deposits/cave is only a couple of miles long and very uneven and rough in places.If you don't have high clearance- just walk it. The road through the Rough and Readies is very rough and not at all suitable for passenger cars.This is a fun place.The first time we went was in the winter, but the photos are from 100 degree day in June when I visited with my step-son.

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