Monday, April 2, 2012

Franklin Mountains-Webb Gap( Sierra Vista Trail)

The first time I hiked here I was planning on climbing North Anthony's Nose using the directions in Greg Magee's Dayhikes and Nature Walks in the Las Cruces- El Paso Area. Now as much as I apprecitate Greg and his guide's opening up a whole world of desert hiking for myself and many others, this is another instance where I strongly disagree with route choice. The dry waterfall that must be scaled or negotiated around at the back of the canyon immediately to southeast of the peak is no piece of cake. My wife and I gave it our best shot , getting scratched and poked numerous times in the process(it is replete with sharp desert vegetation) before giving up,concluding that while a fall here may not be fatal,it would probably cause substantial injury. And while the risk of such a fall may have been low, it wasn't low enough. If you're a diehard scrambler,by all means have at it.We, however, left,peak unsummited . Later, I scoped out an alternate ridgeline route,that I'll keep in mind for a sunny winter day. The second time out here, we parked at the trailhead at Anthony Gap and did a long hike north along the old road on the east side( which is now part of the Sierra Vista Trail).Eventually we headed west up to Webb Gap, a low pass in this section of the Franklin Mountains. On the west side of the gap is an old jarosite mine. Jarosite is an iron silicate mineral . It has a yellowish brown color and slick looking surface. It is frequently fluorescent I believe.I collected a few specimens lying around the mine shaft,which plummeted in blackness to unknown( to me) depths. Jarosite's main use is as a paint pigment.

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