Monday, December 16, 2013

" Big" Canyon- Robledo Mountains

Seamus and I went out exploring on Sunday. At first I had wanted to go check out some of the canyons on the east side of the Rio Grande and south of Tonuco Peak. We drove out there but NMSU has all the access roads posted now. I don't mind straying where perhaps I don't belong  sometimes, but it seems like there going to some length to keep people out and maybe for some good reason. I guess if I want to explore those canyons, I'll have to do it from the river side not the highway side. I then thought about  hiking to Geronimo's Cave, but I thought I would wait for a friend that's been wanting to do it.
   Instead  we parked the car just off the levee, and began walking up the completely dry river. It's  a wide,wide expanse of sand in this area. I kept seeing fence on the east side so we walked until we didn't see it anymore, and then got up on the west bank. We followed a sandy,winding arroyo and where it stopped, we climbed  on top of a small ridge. Before us was one of the large nameless arroyos that flow out of the east side of the Robledo Range just to the south of Robledo Peak. We started walking upstream and soon we were in respectable, steep-walled limestone canyon where the sun wasn't shining and temperatures were significantly cooler. We came upon a lush,almost droopy Juniper, and from then on the hike became boulder hopping and climbing of small drop-offs, all the way until we reached a major dry waterfall. It was not climbable and that was all she wrote. There was a small cave on the south wall in this vicinity. It was hard too tell if there was much to it, and without a human companion, I was  reluctant to make the treacherous climb in order to look into it. Still it might warrant a second trip one day. Before going back to the truck we walked down the  old road that follows along the river on the west. It could be used to access a slot canyon that I know is a short ways north or even Geronimo's Cave as well, if one doesn't mind a longer walk.

Caves Trail- Gila National Forest

I came across this photo and remembered doing this hike several years ago. We were camping on Easter weekend on a friend's  property on Sapillo Creek. We later found that parking our trailer on the property was forbidden  by the subdivision covenant, but at least we got to enjoy it for one weekend. One day we hiked down Sapillo Creek in the wilderness. The other day we drove out to Rocky Canyon Campground on the North Star Road ( NM 150) and did this little hike.  NM 150  was and may still be pretty good dirt road until you get Rocky Canyon. Immediately after, and sometimes a bit before reaching the primitive campground it gets very rough. There's not much to this hike. We began  by walking east on the Rocky Canyon Trail (FT 700) and in a short while turned to the south on the Caves Trail( FT 803). Upon reaching the "caves" we did a bunch of exploring in the myriad of alcoves( not really caves as it turns out) in the volcanic cliffs on either side of  the drainage. We looked for use by ancient peoples. We didn't find any evidence but that doesn't  mean it's not there. Exercise caution if you go. It's a serious tumble down into the brushy, overgrown  stream.