Hike Miles 15.0
Elevation Gain 2000
Hike Time 12:00
Report On April 27, 18 hikers (one no show and one late cancellation) departed from LVSC eagerly anticipating the trip to Las Cruces to hike in the Organ Mountains and surrounding area for 3 days. We traveled in two CABQ vans directly to the Soledad Canyon-Bar TH. The weather was sunny, windy, and warm. We hiked past a variety of cacti and many wildflowers which included California poppy wildflowers. We ate lunch on the trail at a rock house ruin. The location offered scenic views of the surrounding mountains. Many hikers took photographs of individuals sitting or standing in the remaining standing wood-framed window in the rock house wall. Following lunch, we hiked through a canyon to a waterfall where Carl reported to the others there was a little water behind a nearby dam. We subsequently returned to the loop trail and the vans. We observed more wildflowers and cacti. The California poppies were growing along both sides of the trail in areas. After checking into our rooms, relaxing, and showering, all hikers enjoyed gathering to laugh, talk, drink, and eat. We then dined at Pecan Grill and Brewery where we laughed, talked, ate, and drank again. Some tasted the local brew. I believe most hikers returned to their rooms and quickly fell asleep after having a full day of travel, hiking, and dining. I know I did!
After breakfast, 11 hikers left in a van to hike from the west TH on Baylor Canyon Road over Baylor Pass to the east TH at Aguirre Springs Campground area. Tom led this hike. Six other hikers left to hike from the east to the west TH. Diane led this hike. One hiker decided to relax at the hotel due to the elevation gain of the hike. Due to the extended driving distance to Aguirre Springs, Tom’s group started hiking earlier than Diane’s group which started hiking at 9:00 a.m. Diane’s group reached the summit first since this group had a shorter distance and less altitude gain (1165′ vs. 1985′) to the summit pass. It was very windy and chilly at the summit; thus, you will not see any pictures at the summit taken by Jeannette! Diane’s group chose to keep trekking over the summit out of the wind. The two groups met approximately 1/2 mile below the Baylor Pass summit and each group then continued on their merry and weary way. All experienced the beautiful views afforded by the Organ mountains and the southern border of the White Sands area, and the opportunity to see many wild flowers. Vivian’s Garmin showed the total miles was 5.4 miles one-way although the sign at Aguirre Springs showed 6 miles one-way and the BLM website showed 5.75 miles.
On April 29, hikers checked out of their rooms and traveled to Dripping Springs Recreation Area (DSRA). We encountered a slight delay traveling to the area due to construction crews paving the road and had to wait for the pilot vehicle. After arriving at DSRA, we met with a BLM ranger who talked about the geology, history, wildlife, and plants in the area before and during the hike. We hiked RT 3 miles to the remaining buildings of an old wilderness resort and TB sanatorium, and a waterfall, in a canyon. On the return trip, we met and talked to a university student who spoke about her studies of the tunes of the rock wren bird. She showed her equipment to catch, take blood samples, and to band the rock wrens. After returning to the visitor center, all hikers shuttled to another parking lot where Lance and Vivian led 13 hikers .6 mile to a cave. During the hike, Lance indicated an area where a hermit had resided. While the hikers hiked to/from the cave, five individuals waited in the vans and Connie worked on obtaining her first Junior Park Ranger pin.
Many thanks to everyone who helped organize and helped during this trip. There were many people. I am not able to thank each one individually due to space in this report. Thank you all for coming on the hike and making it enjoyable, fun, and memorable!
Hike Leaders Diane Owens and Sue Mikulec