Tuesday, March 1, 2016
Candler Tank Peaks- Organ Mountains Desert Peaks National Monument
I went out exploring on Sunday. It's already getting a bit hot here for me to do any big desert hikes,and I've been told that the rattlesnakes are awake. So, this trip was mostly driving and I didn't bring either of my faithful canine companions.
I was hoping that these two little peaks might hold some evidence of ancient peoples since they share some of the characteristics of Providence Cone, which does have grinding mortars and rock art.
Like Providence Cone several miles to south, these two domes of flow banded rhyolite are the highest things around for many miles,rising out of the vast flat land basin of grass and creosote that intervenes between the Sierra de las Uvas, and the Rough and Ready and Sleeping Lady Hills.
Though small, their isolation give them the presence of a landmark. Also, like Providence Cone, they are situated near the natural depression where a side arroyo meets Candler Draw, which is now enhanced to hold water by a livestock impoundment,but may have held water naturally at one time.
They are also close to the Butterfield Trail and Fort Mason, and it is frequently the case that trails are built upon older trails, yet another possible reason that the area would have been frequented by travelers from ages ago.
This trip was mostly driving, using the Corralitos Road, heading west at the ranch and then using well maintained county roads( C007 and C008). I climbed and walked around the peaks,finding only some old firewood on top of one.
Closer to the draw I found some old rusty sardine and beer cans a cast iron pipe sticking out of the ground, and a few flakes of flint and chert( not of a type naturally occuring in this immediate area) and little else. I did a lot more ground scanning after that, looking more than I usually do for pottery sherds, which always seem to elude me, but the well foliated rock which breaks into small thin pieces made it like looking for a slightly different kind of hay in a haystack. Eluded again. My theory about this place appears to be wrong, but I still found a beautiful afternoon. Note: Candler Tank itself is a small private inholding. The two peaks are on sections of state land.