Thursday, January 23, 2014
Geronimo's Cave- Robledo Mountains
We parked off the levee on the east side of the river. To my surprise, there was a small amount of water flowing now. I was still expecting it to be bone dry as with my previous two outings to the Robledos this winter. Crossing wasn't much of problem though. We wandered around amongst the thorny and not so thorny shrubs on the west bank a bit, moseying over to the long mesa that extends from the cliffs all the way to the river. Along the way there were bits of pottery, colorful flakes of jasper, and deer tracks in the mesquite anchored sand dunes. We made our way, steeply, onto the mesa and in no time had found a good trail and were at the entrance to the cave- a tall crack in the cliffs. I attached my headlamp, we began exploring. There are some formations in the cave, which are no longer growing.Most have been broken off or marred by graffiti. I noticed that the air quickly got warmer and a little stale the further back we went. At some point, perhaps fifty feet in, there is no longer any sunlight penetration. Off to my right was a narrow passage, that went on for more than fifty feet.One skinny individual had made it back there to paint his( of course it was a male) initials. I was intrigued but didn't venture. Another passage was above us. My friend said that he had heard there was another cave above this one, and when we were back outside we explored the ledge to the south but found nothing except some graffiti left by"Antonio" back in 2002. What is going through the mind of someone who carries a can of spray paint up the side of a mountain to mar a natural setting like this? I have a few ideas, but I would like to hear some others.
We followed a trail,marked with red ribbon, down the long ridge. It was so peaceful atop that mesa and felt so remote even though the farms along the river and I-25 were just a stones throw away. Eventually the trail took us down easy from the mesa top. We meandered a bit as we returned. I found a beautiful basalt mano, my first, stuck in the side of an arroyo. We encountered a woman looking for rocks in another arroyo. She had driven in from the river on her large ATV. In a short while we were back at the car, completing a nice hike on a beautiful winter day.