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Hunting for minerals has interested me for a long time.  I’m having fun and interest with it and getting an education, too –  e.g. The Fluorite I’ve enjoyed seeking has its main use apparently in smelting iron.
Some time ago I saw on my maps that a canyon opening off Hwy 35 (about 30 miles north of town) about a mile east of Hwy 15 has an old Meerschaum mine about a mile up from the highway.  Meerschaum ??  Make smoker’s pipes out of that, don’t they ??  Mineral ??  I thought it was plant based, like Briar.  Nope, a lookup on Google showed that it really is a mineral.
Turns out the actual mine area is on public land but you hafta go thru a stretch of private property to get to that.  I’m a little itchy about trespassing for something like this, but have the interest in the mine and would like to see it.  On Friday I said, “phooey on it, I’m going up there.”  Kind of a story, but I had trouble finding just who really owns the property.  There are several ranch HQs within a short distance, one of which – the closest – is vacant.  Then, on my 3rd try – I’m stub-Bourne – I found the owner, right across the highway.  He grinned when he gave permission to cross his land and said, “hope you ate your Wheaties this morning.”  ???  It’s only a 1 mile hike in there.
Kind of a nice, scenic entry to the canyon from the highway and Google Earth didn’t scare me, so on we go.  I was a way up when I realized I’d left camera in car.  Aaaarrgh.  Well, I lost my Samsung Galaxy 3 phone on the hike a few weeks ago and had my shiny almost-new S5 with me, with its supposedly far superior camera.  We’ll see.
It were an interesting mile.  Wasn’t too long before it started getting rougher.  Very scenic, tho’.  This area is only about a mile west of the Purgatory Chasm area I’ve mentioned and explored in the past.
Then it pulled out the stops and I began to see why he made the “Wheaties” comment.  This looks worse than it is – the really steep portion is the 20 ft right in front of the camera.  The rest eases off….a bit, but footing was good and it wasn’t bad going, tho’ the thighs feel it fairly quickly.
No such claim here.  Farther up, the canyon branched and the left branch had an old, rusty 4″ steel pipe coming down, so I went that way.  Where the pipe was buried and no longer visible, I looked ahead.  This was nasty.  Lots of loose grit on a hard substrate…….3 steps forward and 2 steps back – on your face if you weren’t careful.
Looking back from the above shot, there’s the pipe and an old ore cart.  Those guys were serious and put some serious effort into this.
Finally getting to the top of the ridge, the view was great.  Just a mile away is Mimbres Valley where I’m parked, with rows of mountains behind it.  Silver City is ~30 miles away, off to the right.  Nice.  New Mexico isn’t all flat, open desert.  The biggest portion is rugged and mountainous.
Move on along the slippery slope (this is far steeper than it looks) to where the GPS says the mine is….and it isn’t.  What else is new ??  Here, we’re high up on the side of a dry wash, about 200 ft above it.  Look carefully at upper left edge where an oval bare patch shows on the other side.  (click on pictures to open them full size)  At the lower edge of that you can see the rough texture of rubble.  That’s the slope above the actual mine shaft, hidden behind the brush.
This was a bit of a shock – straight down.  I’d expected a tunnel into the hillside…..and there’s no safety anything.  This is huge – 6 ft or so across and very deep.  From tossing a rock in, I’d guess 60 or 80 ft deep or more and a slippery slope above it.  Great caution called for here.
No getting any samples of anything out of there, if they even left anything, so I started searching.  Good thing about an area like this is that after others have gone thru and picked up all the goodies in the float, a thunderstorm will come along and wash a whole bunch more out.  Still, pickings were meager and low quality.
Then, right below a small waterfall, I saw what might be a nice piece.  Jumped down and my boot scuffed a piece clean and it shone white at me.  ????  Can it be ??  Started scraping and scratching around and lo and behold, there’s an outcropping under there that no one found before me.  YeeHawww ! ! !  This was blind luck.  No way I could get the whole thing – it goes waaay down, so I started hacking with my chisels and soon found out that the Meerschaum is a soft but resilient mineral, like heavy, hard cheese.  Some of the chunks I’d already broken out are right above.
I drove that long chisel way into it….and there it stuck.  Stuff is too resilient to break easily – it just soaks up the impacts.  It took a lot of chopping and hacking and prying, but I finally got my chisel (made from a length of re-bar) loose and broke some chunks out of there.
This is what I brought home with me.  Medium sized backpack gives an idea of scale.  The smaller pieces are out of the float, bigger ones I chopped loose of the main mass.
Wikipedia says Meerschaum is very light (it is) and will float.  Well, I dunno – thought Pumice was the only rock that would float, so tried it out.  Yup, now there are 2 rocks that float – can’t argue with this.
This stuff comes with a coarse, mealy texture and is very soft – you can scratch it with your fingernail…..but when you smooth it out it has a greasy feel to it.  Odd.  It’s about a 2 on the Mohs scale and I was a bit skeptical about carving anything out of it.  Interesting.  Out to the shop and set up a sander with 100 grit and sanded one side of a chunk smooth, then went to 600 grit and started rounding it as well.  Worked down to 2,000 grit in just a few minutes and was surprised at how hard it is when you get past the surface and it polished out to a dull sheen at 2,000 grit.  I have no doubt it’d take a nice gloss and now have no trouble understanding how they could carve pipes out of it.  Wikipedia has excellent articles on Meerschaum.  Beautiful, cool, sunny day, good exercise, (lots of exercise) good outing with Glady and nice pickin’s to make it all worthwhile.  Now, that’s a good day.
P.S.     A note on the re-bar chisels.  5/8″ re-bar makes good chisels but they dull quickly.  I noticed when cutting them with a cut-off wheel in an angle grinder that the heavy shower of sparks denoted high carbon steel.  Re-bar ??  Yup.  OK, I’ve made a few knives out of files in the past, so decided to try heat treating the re-bar.  Heating to straw color and quenching in oil works well for knives, but was a little too brittle for chisels.  Hmmm…..??  Tried heating to blue color and quenching in oil and hit it right on the money – these chisels take an awful beating from that 2½# single jack before needing touch-up on a grinder.  Smart Lars.  :-)

Prospecting mentor Dave and I got together today for a run down to the Turquoise digs at Old Hachita, about 80 miles south of Silver City and almost in the “Bootheel” of the state.


Dave is a self-propelled encyclopedia of information on places, history, geography and geology of the entire southwestern New Mexico area.  It’s been about 5 years since he was down in this area of the Hachita Mountains, but he easily found the turn-off from the highway onto the dirt roads, then thru a maze/tangle of criss-crossing roads down into the mountains and old mines.  Never a wrong turn.  Phooey – I can’t even do that with places I was at yesterday.


It’s pretty obvious when you get into the right area – there are 100 – 150 year old ruins scattered for miles and many have old mine shafts and tailings piles (debris removed from mine shafts) associated with them.
Just because it looks like a solid dirt floor doesn’t necessarily make it so.  In some cases buildings are right over the shafts and it can be treacherous.  Glady knows and is careful here.
Those old-timers were hard workers and good builders.  Here, Dave’s checking out construction of an old adobe building.  Very well built.
We did find several buildings with a type of construction new to us.  This one has a double rock wall.
A building within a building and beautifully constructed.  Good rock work is a real art and very difficult.  The only explanation we could come up with for the double walls was for insulation.  The outer wall would heat up in the sun and the hot air between would rise, leaving the inner wall cooler.  True ??  Not sure but it makes sense.

An old, round, water cistern and again, very nicely built.  Not sure if this served one or several buildings but it was a good size.  (found out later that it was a community tank)  Construction of the rock buildings and this cistern is very solid, so how did they erode so badly in places ??  Dave got to looking it over very closely and said, “look here – this is sledge hammered apart.”  He was right.

 Some of the buildings, etc. have been deliberately destroyed.  Why ??  Only thing that makes any sense is that the old time miners were after commercial quantities of ore and later rock hounds are after mineral samples.  Some of the rocks in the walls have nice, but small, mineral pockets and someone destroyed them to get those samples.  Idiots ! ! !
This was fun and interesting but time now to get to work.  Off to the southwest of where we’d been playing, we found an old Turquoise mine on – aptly named – Turquoise Mountain.
In the “float” – loose debris in the area – we found literally 1,000s of bits and pieces of Turquoise, but none very large.  Still, we picked some up.
Then in a different pit nearby, we found some seams of Turquoise in Kaolin.  Not very big, but “maybe” it will expand deeper into the hill….??
Sooo, ambitious Lars got to work with a geologist’ pick.  Over the next ¾ hour I moved a good portion of that area down out of the way, but never did find a bigger seam.  They didn’t say it’d be easy….and it wasn’t.
Heading back to civilization, there were more and more mines scattered along the roads.  Here’s a big old shaft that goes down about 40 ft and is associated with several old buildings and work areas.
This one is shallow and goes for over 100 ft to the north.  Great caution is called for – you don’t know if there might be a side tunnel with just a thin skiff of dirt under your feet.  Look at the “bridge” in center of picture.  Smooth sided and 40 ft deep, you’d play hell trying to climb out.  This type of thing goes for miles and many have old buildings associated with them.  You could explore for a very long time here.
Kind of a neat little workshop building to wrap things up.  I enjoyed the shape it’s weathered into.  While the whole east coast is freezing and blasted by blizzards, we had a nice day of about 55º.  Sometimes it goes the other way round – New Mexico gets its share of miserable weather, too.
Now to the nitty-gritty.  Here’s what I brought home.  Low quality and not much size to it, but it looks kinda neat.  The reddish rock in upper center is Chalcopyrite – copper ore – and the black one to the right of it is Sphalerite – zinc ore.  You can see tiny crystals glittering in both.  There’s also commercial quantities of gold and silver in the area as well.
I took a bigger chunk and carefully sanded excess matrix away, but it’s pretty tough.  The stuff is very soft and difficult to work with.  I finished this one up with a kit I’d bought to polish my motorcycle headlight lenses with and it goes down to quite a fine polish – the clear headlight covers look good and the kit did fairly well here, too.  Ain’t worth nuthin’ but it did make for an enjoyable and different day.
When I moved to my home in Silver City in 2010, one of the 1st things to catch my eye was the great
“broken tooth” of Cooke’s Peak to the SE near Deming, NM.  “Gotta climb that,” I thought.  I gave it
a try the day after my birthday in 2010:   That didn’t work out too well.
Further research showed there to be a trail up the next canyon to the north, so a year later on
10-11-12 I went for it and goofed again.  Looking over websites
again, I saw a possible reason.
5 months later on 3-15-12 I made a 3rd trip up there and did find the trail.  I’d read directions wrong
previously and things look very different on the ground, but now it was a…..cakewalk….??
Looking from Hwy 180 near Deming, NM, this, the west side, is almost 4,000 ft to the summit.  Notice
the 3 big notches to the right of the summit.  The “trail” goes behind those.
Looking 15 miles north from Hwy 76, this hazy, smoky view sorta shows the route up on the right side.
Most of the center and left sides are nearly vertical and unclimbable.
The “road” coming in to the east side of the mountain is still very bad…..if not worse than previously.
That was all 6 years ago already and it still lingers in my mind as a favorite and very beautiful hike/
climb.  Now, facing up to my 75th birthday I got the idea in my little pea brain to see if I could still
cut the mustard, so decided on a birthday hike.  Fortunately, the weather was great, tho’ chilly and
I set off.  It’s ~90 miles to the trailhead from my home and the last 4 miles is horrendous.  Previous
trips have all been on the quad, but this time I’d hafta take the 4Runner – one of the most capable
4WDs I’ve owned.  It were rougher than a cob on that awful road but the ‘Runner bounced and
lurched thru it with no problem.
From the parking area, it’s 2½ miles to the summit and with an elevation gain of 2,500 ft on this side.
I consider 1,000 ft gain per mile to be a fairly strenuous climb and the 1st mile was up of course, but
doesn’t appear especially steep, which would make later portions proportionately steeper.  No worry –
this part is steep, too.  It’s deceptive.  Made for some grins farther on.
This thing will fool ya, tho’.  Here we’re just over a mile in, climbing steeply…..and already gained over
1,000 ft.
The trail is rough in spots, always steep and brushy in spots.  1¼ miles in here and 1,400 ft gained.
A look back down.  You can follow the course of the trail by the zigzags in the canyon.  We came in
from upper center right in the distance.  This brought me to the saddle that leads west to the main
summit ridge.
On the summit ridge, looking at the pre-summit.  Real summit is hidden behind it.  Here, we’ve gained
about 1,800 ft and only a bit over ½ mile to go.  It were a dandy.  In upper right you can see a ridge in
front of the summit.  You don’t wanna go there.  On the far side, it drops over 1,000 ft straight down.
Arc up and around and straight up the center.  All rough, broken rock and real ankle biters….all the way
up for that matter.  The segments showing on the left are part of the 3 notches visible from the highway.
Just below the summit is about 200 ft of this and this is where Glady finally met her match.  I thought.
A look back down.  The broken rock in lower right is hanging on a tiny ledge, is very unstable and very
dangerous.  From far above, I’d seen Glady looking up at me and she just couldn’t make it.
Dog’s nails just don’t have the traction of hiking boots and big hands.  I held my hand out and told
her to “stay.”  I didn’t want her to get hurt and figured she’d wait down there for me.  Hah.
There are 2 huge notches on opposite sides, just below the summit.  It’s a narrow neck between
them and gotta zigzag carefully thru the gap.  It’s over 1,000 ft down on both sides.  Not quite vertical,
but you’d bounce a verrry looong way before coming to a stop.

The final pitch to the summit.  Imagine my surprise when I heard a noise behind me.  Looked back and

there was my girl puffing and panting away, but somehow she’d made it up that pitch and was

back with me.  I was astonished and pleased – I’d hoped for a picture of both of us at the summit.

……and here we are.  I was ruffling up her neck, telling her what a good girl she is and she was really soaking it in.
Glady loves distant views as much as I do, but she outdid me here.  She’s right at the dropoff of
the NE corner of the summit and it’s well over 1,000 ft straight down below her feet.  I didn’t
dare go to her, but quietly called her back.  If a rock had turned under her foot………..??
 On the way back down, here we’re almost down off that very bad pitch and coming back onto the
summit ridge.  I won’t try to say I romped up this the way I did 6 years ago, but it didn’t kill me either.
Hafta admit, I Was very tired and feeling the strain some, but it went well.  Going back down was another
story.  Today, the 30th, as I write this, I’m generally tired and feel a pull in my thigh muscles
from the long, steep descent.  Glady is hobbling around like a little cripple, hurting all over.
Ahhh…..what a welcome sight.  My feet and ankles were complaining by now from the constant
twisting on the loose rocks the full distance.  Was it worth the effort and strain ??  You betcha ! ! !
Will I do it again ??  Nope…..not a chance.  75 years old is time to slow down a bit…..but it did
make for a very satisfying birthday hike and I’m well pleased?

.Silver City, NM

Cape Flattery is the most northwestern point of the continental US with Tatoosh Island and its’ lighthouse just offshore.  Next stop is Japan, and the Aleutian Islands of Alaska.  Today, I hiked the mile – more or prob’ly a little less from the parking lot down to the tip of the cape.

This whole country is temperate zone rain forest and an attempt to go off the trail won’t get you far without huge effort and you’d surely get lost quickly.

The bush on the right side is Salmonberry and when ripe they make a great trail snack, like a big golden raspberry with a mild, sweet taste.  The boardwalk carries you over a lot of very swampy, soggy ground.

Seems like it goes forever, but I think it’s mostly because of the closed in feeling.  It doesn’t take too long, tho’ before you can see daylight between the trees ahead.

As you get closer to the point, the trail goes closer to the water and a couple of side trails lead off, the nicest of which is Hole in the Wall, here looking southwest.

Farther yet, near the end of the trail the view to the south opens up and it’s great.  Don’t let anyone fool ya about whether Oregon, Washington or California has the best coastline.  From San Luis Obispo on the central California coast all the way to Alaska is all the same type of scenery – some more so, some less, but all beautiful.  The black spots on the rock at lower right are Cormorants drying their wings after a series of underwater fishing trips.

From the viewing platform there’s a nice view to the northeast, into the Strait of Juan de Fuca.  (no, it’s not “straight”)  Vancouver Island in the distance with Port Renfrew at about the middle of the portion showing.  This summer, while I was farther north a Black Bear swam out at Port Renfrew, climbed up into a boat and attacked the man on board.  He managed to chase it off and later it was found that it was an old Bear in poor condition with worn down teeth and couldn’t catch game any more.  I guess we’re easy pickin’s, eh ??  More Cormorants on the rock below us.

Our Hero on the viewing platform at the farthest northwestern tip of the continental U.S.  Tatoosh Island with its lighthouse is behind me.  In the farthest distance up Vancouver Island is the little town of Bamfield, 50 miles away.  The white swirls on the water are powerful tidal currents surging past and around the island.  This is about as calm as it gets out here.  When the prevailing west wind is blowing against an outgoing tide, it can get very messy out there very quickly.  If the big ocean rollers are coming in from Japan, the tide going out and the wind from the north or northeast, it can get insane in a hurry.  I spent a lot of time in Dustbuster I out there and went thru really bad water a few times.  Fishing is great.  One species you never hear about but is one of the finest bottom fish for the table is the Black Rockfish.  People don’t go after them, I guess because they’re small – just a pound or 3 each – but they’re delicious and very plentiful here in the shallow water in the coves.  Great fun on ultralight tackle.  You must be VERY wary of the waves when after them – an unexpectedly large wave can throw you into the rocks in seconds.

Heading back out, some portions of the trail aren’t so nice.  More Salmonberries on the left.  Lots of Huckleberries out here, too.

Down the coast a bit to Makah Bay (this is the home and reservation of the Makah Indians) and you’ll find a series of really nice beaches for miles to the south.  A swimmer must be very cautious – there are powerful rip currents everywhere and no rescue people or facilities close enuf to do you any good.

When I came here in 1989 I immediately made a trip out here towing the Dustbuster I and launched at Neah Bay.  At that time, Halibut and bottom fishing was really excellent and that was true for ‘90 as well but when I came out in ‘91 it had been “discovered” and, even tho’ Swiftsure Bank is 20 miles off-shore the water was covered with boats – looked like black pepper sprinkled all over.  That was the end of the good fishing out there.  The big trawlers dragging their huge nets along the bottom didn’t help a bit.  The map above shows most of the places I’ve mentioned thru this series of stories.  Now, I think it’s time to brag and show off a bit.

Here’s the 19 ft Glastron “Dustbuster” at the launch ramp on Ediz Hook next to the Harbor Pilot’s building.  On my 2nd or 3rd run to Swiftsure there were huge 14 ft high rollers (long ocean waves) coming from the open ocean to the west.  Wind was pretty strong from the northeast and was kicking up a 4 ft cross-chop.  The boat handled it fine, like a cork bobbing over the top……until a roller and cross-chop teamed up.  I was going slowly, but the boat came off the top of that – about 18 ft in the air – and dropped.  It still had the stock seats in it and nearly broke my back with the impact.

HoooBoy, now I knew what to look for and kept going but the boat felt funny.  Squirming, sort of.  WTH ??  Couldn’t figure it out, then turned and looked back as I was going over a large roller and saw the whole floor moving independently of the hull.  The impact had smashed the floor loose from the hull; that took the stiffening support away and the boat was crawling over the waves with the un-supported fiberglass hull moving like a snake.  Very gently and carefully eased on back to Neah Bay and loaded it up.  The next month was taken with epoxy-ing new framing under the floor, putting down new plywood, filling it with Coast Guard approved 2 part polyurethane foam, then fiberglassed over.

I found some seat pedestals from a Chevy van at the local wrecking yard and seats from a Plymouth Horizon that “almost” matched the color.  It worked wonderfully well.  The deeply sprung seats soaked up impacts in rough water and I could slide the seat forward to drive like a car, or push it all the way back with both base adjuster and seat adjuster so’s to stand up and watch over the windshield while running.  When trolling, I could turn the seat ¾ of the way around, watch the rod tip and steer at the same time.  Everyone who rode in it was amazed at the comfort – un-heard of in a boat.

It was equipped with Loran C, (this was pre-GPS) fishfinder, CB radio, VHF marine radio and all safety equipment.  When I bought it both motors ran perfectly but it had sat so long the gas and electrical systems were shot.  (the old fella who owned it had run the motors frequently to keep them up)  I went all thru all of it till it was like new.  Now……….what’d I do with all this ??

Swiftsure was Halibut heaven then and I caught many.  Here’s a 47# Halibut from there.  Ol’ Lar was a perty good lookin’ feller at 50, wasn’t he ??  Sure went downhill fast after that.  Sighhh.

14# Red Snapper (Yellow Eye Rockfish) from the dropoff near the Halibut flats.  These are very, very good eating, but endangered now.

37# Ling Cod from same area.  These are the king of the bottom fish for the table.  No cheating and holding it at arm’s length to make it look bigger here.  I don’t ever do that and don’t like to see it done.

If you look on the map above, you’ll see Bamfield, B.C. on the south shore of Barkeley Sound – 50 miles even from Neah Bay.  About 2/3 of the way up was the Nitinat River and a well known spot for catching really big King Salmon.  (called Spring Salmon in Canada)  I caught this one trolling a cut plug herring on 15# test Steelhead tackle in shallow water right at the river mouth – all 27# of him.  You can see the scars from where some predator – prob’ly a Sea Lion – “almost” got him.  Nice fish.  This had to be in ‘89 – you can see the original seat behind the fish.  Hard as a rock.

All that stuff was well and good and lots of fun, but my favorite sport was going just off-shore of Port Angeles into the tide rips out in the Strait.  Schools of Silver Salmon (called Coho in Canada) would congregate at the rip lines and chase the herring schools there.  I went after them with a 6# test Trout outfit (in the picture) and just enuf lead to hold the cut plug bait below the reach of Seagulls.  That little Ryobi reel did yeoman service for 6 years – those nice Silvers would make it scream – but it was completely worn out when I left there.  I have no problem with recommending Ryobi reels.

Trout fishermen would love this.  You’ll hear stories of 20# Silvers out there, but I literally caught 100’s in 6 steady years of fishing and never saw one weighed in at more than 15# and very, very few of those.  Most were under 10#, 12# is a bragger and this one is very average at about 6#.  On that light tackle they’d run and jump like a huge Trout and were great fun.  Great on the table, too, if you bled them first.  I spent a lot of hours out there after those guys – and ran a full time service business at the same time.  Busy Lar.                 Thanks for putting up with the bragging.  No more, I promise.                      Lar.

Here’s ol’ Lar at the Cape with Tatoosh Island behind me and the west coast of Vancouver Island, Canada in the distance………..

The sections of white water are from powerful tidal currents conflicting, and the strong wind churning the resulting mess up a bit.  I hope the wind is down tomorrow morning – I’m taking the boat out there for more pics, and would rather not endure 10 miles of pounding from the launch at Neah Bay.  While out there, I’ll take a look for a Salmon or 2 for my friends in Port Angeles, who’ve put in a special request.  :-)

This view is looking south to southwest from Cape Flattery.  Cormorants on the rock at lower center are drying their wings………………

When I lived in Port Angeles in the ’90’s, I used to trailer my 19 ft boat – the original “Dustbuster” – out to Neah Bay, then run 20 more miles past the Cape to Swiftsure Bank, looking for Halibut and bottom fish such as Rock Cod and Ling Cod.  It’s pretty heavily fished and picked over now and no longer worth the trip.  Several times, I ran the 50 miles from Neah Bay, up Vancouver Island (in the background to the right of Tatoosh Is in the 2nd pic) to Bamfield, B.C.  Partly for the excellent Salmon fishing at the Nitinat River, partly just to say I’d been there, done that, and partly for the wonderful scenery in Barkeley Sound.  You can zoom in & out and drag & drop the Google map to show that – I tried it and it works fine.                        Lar.

P.S.     If you read the story in the newspaper of the Bear climbing in a boat and attacking the owner a couple of weeks ago, that was at Port Renfrew, on Vancouver Island just about at the right edge of the same picture.  Yes, I did carry the Bear spray today.  Always, on these hikes.

Larry Bourne
Santa Fe, NM

10-5-9 Whitewater Road

I’ve been down the Tyrone Ridge Road several times now and it’s become my default short local trip.  So far, I seem drawn more to the southern desert than the northern mountains, tho’ I do visit both….and only about 5 miles either way.  This time, I went from Hwy 180, west toward Grant County Airport and soon made a left turn and headed south about 5 miles to the Whitewater Road, then west again.  From about the mid-point of Whitewater Rd., a look back to the east shows the huge spike of Cooke’s Peak, that I still hope to climb this year – if I ever get back into shape.  (almost there now and starting to make plans)………….

Turn around and look west and there’s the by-now-familiar pile of tailings at the enormous Tyrone open pit copper mine at center right just past Hwy 90 and the Burro Mountains straight ahead, that I went thru on the way to Red Rock recently – another neat drive with un-expected scenery…………..

As always, I paid attention to the little stuff while looking for critters.  Flowers like the little Desert Poppies (California Poppies) are very common and very pretty………..

The real eye-grabber plant tho’ was this little cactus with its’ brilliant purple blooms.  Cacti in general seem to really put forth show-offy blossoms and this one is great.  Cactus raising friend Dave D. in SoCal identified it for me as, ahem – Escobaria Vivipara.  Apparently no common name, but it’s a beauty and only about the size of a softball…………

These are a magnet for a large number of insects, but there’s a little black Bee that’s particulary fond of them and really go after them.  Each individual flower isn’t much bigger than my thumb (big thumbs) so in comparison these Bees can’t be more than about ½” long, if that.  The great Nikon 105mm macro lens came thru for me again here.  This Bee is loaded up with pollen and climbing out for take-off………

It hovered for a very brief pause – lookit all the pollen on that hind leg and look at the white eyes – then vanished. instantly.  They are FAST ! ! !………

I really hoped to see Pronghorn Antelope and/or Javelina today, tho’ and puddled along at 10 to 15 mph the whole way.  But – I tend to get to day-dreaming, too, and prob’ly miss a lot.  I Do miss a lot – obviously.  Cruising along, suddenly I looked to the right and there was a whole herd of Pronghorns staring back at me.  I was almost past them.  Dohhh…….  These were all females – does………..

They were barely 50 yards away.  Amazing that these spooky critters let me get this close.  I think they were just being a little sassy to the boss buck, tho’, cause he was up on the hill about 50 yards away with the rest of his girls and wasn’t at all happy about this………

He wanted no part of me, but wasn’t about to leave his harem split, either, so down the hill he came, watching me closely the whole time.  I was out of the car by now, with the engine shut off and was semi-hiding behind it.  What a beauty and looks like he’s been thru his share of scraps over the ladies………….

He didn’t fool around, either.  He got to those does and they scattered and took off running up to the others.  Maybe us guys should take a lesson from him ??………..

Moments later, the whole herd disappeared over the ridge at a leisurely gallop, tightly grouped by the big buck.  What a sight and it made my day.  Big time.  It’s almost unheard of to get this close and I count myself as very fortunate.  I’ll check this area out from time to time – I’d love to see the new fawns right after they’re born – and they should be coming along pretty soon now.

Larry Bourne
Silver City, New Mexico

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Since I’ve lived in Silver City, I’ve heard mention of Mineral Creek many times.  S’posedly a great hike and a lot of Western History associated with it.  It’s a long way out for me – 75 miles – and I’ve pretty much stayed within 50 miles for the most part.  Recently it got onto my mind again and finally the weather cooled off, so today I went for it.  The road in is under construction and pretty rough but once parked and started hiking things change in a hurry.
Come in from Alma, NM to the parking area and walk about 2/10 mile and the open, sorta groomed appearance ends abruptly.
It narrows down to almost a slot canyon and gets very rugged.  The creek averages about 6” deep and about 6’ wide…..but that’s just a rough average.  Right away you start off with a crossing.  I was wearing a new and expensive pair of heavy Keen hiking boots; advertised to be waterproof.  They had a waxy looking coating, so I believed it and went for it.  I also wore my knee height gaiters which help a lot, too.  They aren’t waterproof. but do have a coating that is very water resistant.  They make a “pretty good” seal around the boot that slows water entry a lot.  Sure enuf, this 1st crossing worked out well and my feet stayed dry – I hate hiking with wet feet.  I got an education later.
Wow.  Straight up over 1,000 ft.
Glady was in 7th heaven.  Don’t think I’ve ever seen her have so much fun in one spot in the 1¾ years she’s been with me.  She was in and out of that creek constantly and ran and ran and ran and ran and……  The total hike in and back today was 4.2 miles.  I’ll bet she covered 10 miles – all at a dead run.  Usually she ranges on ahead, circling back to check on me every couple of minutes……then she’ll float on ahead again.  When she’s worn herself out, she’ll fall in behind me and dog my tracks back to the car.  Today that happened at about 3.9 miles.  The next day, as I write this ??  Haha…….she’s one stiff and sore little dog and has slept almost all day.  Will she do it again ??  Haha – guess.  Smile
Silver was discovered here in 1870 and a major rush started.  From the parking area to the old Cooney townsite is right at 2 miles and it’s a rugged, nasty 2 miles.  Those old timers – with hand tools – built a raised road up that canyon.  In the pool behind Glady, above, you can see one of the old steel support rods sticking up.  There are many more along the way.  That must’ve been a brutal job, but similar work can be seen at The Catwalk a few miles south, near Glenwood.  There’s a lot of history here, including some of the Apache wars – this area is in the heart of the old Wild West.  El Paso, TX is about 150 miles east; Tombstone, AZ about the same west.  For those interested, there’s an excellent article (one of many on the local area) at:
Man, this is one beautiful hike.  Tough going, but beautiful.
Glady loves to put her face in the water and blow bubbles out of her nose.
An old safe with the door blown off.  I’d love to know the story behind this.
Farther up, a smooth rock section with deep channel.
 Didn’t hafta wade this one – natural bridge/stepping stones.
 An old, tumbledown corrugated iron shack.  When I saw the pit underneath, I thought at 1st it had been an outhouse, but that pit is concrete lined with steel.  Must be a mine shaft.
 Another old corrugated iron shed.
Somebody figured out a new use for an old stove.  I’ll bet it works well – it’d reflect the heat toward the camera.
I understand there are many more remains of cabins, etc., but it’s all so heavily overgrown with dense brush it simply wasn’t practical to try and find them.  Tell the truth, ol’ Lars was really feeling the strain by now – spinal stenosis rearing its ugly head again.  Next shot in about a month.  Phew.
Heading back out gives a whole ‘nuther perspective.  More creek crossings.
Crossing a hard, smooth area.  My “waterproof” boots aren’t.  They’d been steadily soaking up water with each crossing and got heavier and heavier as I went.  Why, I’ll bet each boot weighed 40#, time I got to the old settlement.  (maybe slight exaggeration….but that’s about how they felt)  I do know that swinging those heavy hunks of waterlogged leather wore me out.  At the 3.8 mile mark, I slipped on a big, algae covered boulder and went in up to my left knee.  The water did get in that time and I did feel it.  When I got home, stripped off boots and socks to dry them out and found that right foot was just as wet, but it soaked in so slowly it warmed on contact and I didn’t feel it.  Yup, those boots will get a coat of Sno-Seal before I hit the trail again.
Almost back to the car – just ¼ mile to go.  This was a high effort hike, but the scenery was spectacular and worth every step.  I love it.  So does Glady.
Silver City, NM

Last week at Turkey Creek, I waded across the Gila River and vowed I was going to go for a swim in it –

that water felt sooo good.  I also made some “waders” out of a heavy plastic garbage bag and wanted to

try them out, so, since I was up early today  and the day was beautiful, sunny and warm I decided to go
for it.  A few weeks ago I hiked down into the Middle Box of the Gila with Glady, then last week I went
to Turkey Creek.  This time, for some new scenery, I went to the area just short of the Upper Box of
the Gila.
0Garmin 1
This gives a fair distance reference.  The tiny village of Gila is right of the road trace and out of sight
below the bottom of the picture.  Look closely and you can see the trace of the Turkey Creek road starting
about half way between “Start” and the small legend “2016 Google.”
The start of the Turkey Creek road is out of sight to the right about ¼ mile.  When I went up that road
and topped out on the ridge, I was looking up a huge canyon to the north.  In this picture look just to the
left of the small cone on the right.  That canyon is directly past the saddle and splits around the distant
0Garmin 3
 Doesn’t look like it on the Google satellite image, but this whole area is riparian brush habitat…….with the
accent on “brush.”  It’s like a jungle down in there.
Well short of the river, going into denser woods, 2 very large birds suddenly took off right over my head.
Owls ??  Hawks ??  I followed one with my eyes and it appeared to land in a tree not too far away, so eased
on over there.  Their camoflage is excellent and I didn’t really expect to find it, but suddenly…..a tiny
movement, right where I happened to be looking.  Instantly it stood right out – a Great Horned Owl.
Yaaay……..don’t often get a privilege like this.  It didn’t think too much of me traipsin’ around below it,
so it took off – right toward the river, so I followed.

……and lucky me, I found it again.  This time its’ frustration was obvious and you can almost hear it saying,“What the h*ll ??  Get outta here and leave me alone.”  Big, big bird and absolutely silent in the air.


Now, it’s time to pay my dues.  The brush is dense along the river…..uh….there Is a river….??
Yup.  Sure enuf…….Caninus Aquaticus (Glady) found it and bailed right into that nice, cool water.  That’s her
just right of and slightly below center.  It’s an undercut bank here and heavily brushed and she had a time
getting back out.
Once you do get to see it, it Is scenic, but not quite what I had in mind for today’s adventures.
I did find a trail, tho’, and it made it much easier to get thru.  Less than ¼ mile farther on, Glady found
me a perfect spot beside a rock/gravel bar to try out the waders.  You “know” she had to try the water.
Downstream isn’t perfect, but will work for the rest of the plans.  The Google Earth pictures don’t quite
match the reality – floods have re-arranged the gravel bars and piled up that debris.
Of course, being real bright and intelligent, I started off into the fast water.  Those waders acted like
big sails and the water came very close to sweeping me off my feet.  The hiking staff saved me from
a premature swim.
Coming back, I went upstream a bit; out of the main current and it was much easier.  They did leak some –
about a cup or so in each one and got the surface of my boots wet but it wasn’t enuf to soak thru.  I think
I’ll spend the $15 and buy the very similar but far superior ones a friend found at Walmart’s site for me.
 0Swim 1
I came prepared – towels, sandals, tripod for movies, the whole 9 yards.  I didn’t like the idea of someone
finding my stuff there, even with me right beside it, so carried the .38 double barreled Derringer with me
and held it out of the water with right hand.  The – short – movie is at:
I let out a yelp when I ducked into the water – it were chilly but fine once in – prob’ly around 65º and
very refreshing.  Very nice.  The Gila River country is beautiful and I never tire of it.
Silver City, NM

Please click on each picture to open it full size, then click again to return to story.

As shown in the previous story, I’ve started up the Gila (HEE-Lah) River toward Turkey Creek several times, but always get high-centered at the Fluorite digs, a few 100 ft up the side of a very steep hill.  This time, I gritted my teeth and kept hiking.

0Garmin 1

Just as we did for the Gila River hike a few weeks ago, go NW on Hwy 180 about 25 miles, but this time go right on 293 past the tiny village of Gila to end of pavement, then keep going on the gravel.  Follow the dots carefully – it’s 12 miles to the end of the road.  Look closely and you can see the trace of the road.  We’re way back in the wilderness bordering the huge Mogollon (muggy-own) Mountains here.  I didn’t see another person all day.

0Garmin 2

On the way in, I keep getting side-tracked.  It’s a beautiful, rugged drive and lots to look at.



The road actually did go all the way to Turkey Creek……and still does, except for a section where the huge springtime floods wiped out about 1/8 of a mile of road and in places there’s barely room for a trail alongside the mountain.  This is a good portion.
When Tim H. visited from Baltimore 2½ years ago, we went up on the hill for some fluorite.  Coming back down thru a different canyon, we were almost to the main trail when Tim got my attention and said, “hey, look at this.”  “This” was a gravestone, professional quality, that you’d expect in a cemetery, not out in the wilderness.  The dates show that the man was born in 1861 and died in 1944.  I wonder what his story was ??
Not much farther on, the trail crossed the river.  I “hate” hiking in wet boots, but sometimes you gotta just grit your teeth and go for it.  I had been assured by others that the hike was worth it.
WOW ! ! !  Was it ever.  Just a bit upstream from the ford, it opened up into this vista.  This is at “View” on the 2nd map, above.  You just don’t see this kind of open park in this wild, rugged, heavily forested country.  I do know that I’m going back up here soon with a towel.  The water felt a bit chilly at 1st, but as I waded across – knee deep at this ford – I realized the water was just right – fresh, cool….wonderful….and I’m going to go back for a swim.  It’s just about deep enuf – 2 – 3 ft.
Midstream here – turn and look downstream and it makes me ache for a rubber raft to float on down in.  I’ll bet it would be a wonderful ride on a nice day.  Soon, there won’t be enuf water for that.
The 2nd ford, looking upstream.  Wide and shallow….and a real struggle getting thru the dense brush up onto the far bank.  I was grinning the whole way – didn’t expect this, but I was being reminded why I don’t like hiking in wet boots.  It was like wearing ankle weights in a workout session.  Each boot/pant leg/gaiter must’ve weighed 10#.  That’s OK….hired out to be tough, now we just gotta prove it.
3rd ford; about 100 feet wide.  This was the deep one – about mid-thigh.  Footing was good on all 3, current was moderate, I felt very safe….and the water felt delicious.  What a wonderful place.  This is just below the confluence with Turkey Creek and gave me several surprises.  1st, this is a large area – quite a few acres and there are many rock fire rings, trails; evidence of a lot of use.  Upstream on Turkey Creek there are hot springs, but I didn’t look for them today.
Turkey Creek proved to be dry as a bone, but there’s much evidence of huge floods.  I wouldn’t want to be caught here when a flash flood hits.  This whole big park-like area would be a raging torrent.
As I wandered upstream I got another surprise.  No plates, but this truck hasn’t been here all “that” long – tires still have air in them, tho’ there are no tire tracks; they’re washed away by floods.  I did see fairly fresh tire tracks on the way up here – and when I got back to car I went looking and found a work-around to get past the washed out portion of road.  The 4Runner is one of the most capable 4WD vehicles I’ve ever owned but I would have to cross the river, clear back before the beginning of the trail.
I’m quite sure I could have done it, it looked like good solid bottom, such as I crossed on the fords, but being alone, many miles back in the middle of no-where I didn’t dare take a chance on getting stuck.  I’ve got years of heavy-duty 4 wheeling experience and have learned that you “always” have at least 2 rigs in country like this, so 1 can pull the other out if stuck.  Imagine being stuck in middle of river; a thunderstorm hits – very likely at this time of year – and there’s a flash flood….??  You’d lose your vehicle at the very least.
Yet farther up, I got another surprise – an old cabin in pretty rough shape.  This guy worked very hard, both to get materials here, prob’ly back in the 20s, then to build the place.
This portion was well and solidly built.  The front add-on was a slap-together job and shows it.  There were surprisingly good kitchen appliances still in here – including a microwave oven.
Shed beside the old corral/loading chute.  The graffiti artists did pretty good on this one.  The animal depicted at lower left is a Coati-mundi.  I’ve looked for those since I’ve been here – 6 years now – and so far have just a couple of very marginal pictures.  Today, when I drove to the trailhead, a family of them ran into the brush in front of car and gave me a great charge.  Finally.  3 adults and 2 half-grown cubs.  Most are reddish in color, the ones I saw today were dark, like long, tall, skinny raccoons with very long, banded tails like a Lemur.  I was Very Pleased, but no chance for photos of them.
This was Glady’s 2nd time in the Gila River and she almost went bonkers.  She invented a new game, here, where she plows along with face underwater and blows bubbles thru her nose.  Haha…….then she comes up with the goofiest – grin is the only word for it – on her face, and back down she goes for more.  She ran and ran and ran, then slept – out cold – all the way home today.
What a wonderful day; what a wonderful hike.  I absolutely loved it….but a total of 3½ miles of swinging wet boots had this ol’ fart very glad to be back to the car.
Silver City, NM

Be sure to left click the pictures to open them full size.  Click again to continue reading.

I’ve been a convert to GeoCaching for a few months now and really enjoy finding them.  It gives a purpose to the endless rambling around the mountains and desert that I do, too, so that’s good.  When I enter a GeoCache in my GPS, I just number it in sequence, rather than try to get the whole name in there.  Sooo………G10 is the 10th geocache I entered and today I went after it…..for the 3rd time.  First 2 tries, including yesterday, I got weathered out by thunderstorms, so when it dawned bright and sunny this morning I threw my gear in the car and hit the road.

Several times over the last couple of years I’ve made reference to the ragged, tumbled up canyon of Cherry Creek, about 10 miles north of town.  Looking from Hwy 15 you can see the lava columns in upper right and the tumbled up rock on both sides of the canyon.  Since G10 is just about straight across the canyon from here – the Ben Lilly memorial – that sounded pretty good.  The rocks in foreground go all the way down to the creek and all the way up the other side.  What Fun ! ! !

The trail along Cherry Creek is pretty good, but it’s dark and gloomy in spots and there’s plenty of Poison Ivy.  A fella I spoke with a couple of weeks ago told of seeing a Cougar stalking a group of Coati Mundi about a mile downstream.  That sounded sort of good – I’ve been trying for a couple of years for good pictures of Coatis.  The idea of the Cougar didn’t appeal overmuch, tho’, and the .357 rode in easy reach on my right hip today……right next to the Bear spray.  It’s just under 1½ miles down the trail to where you bushwhack up the rocks and brush to G10 and there were many pretty little flowers and butterflies along the way.  No idea what these are called.  Can anyone help me out ??

It’s pretty easy going thru here and the rugged scenery was interesting.

In some areas, water was seeping out from between layers of rock and made little islands of crowded vegetation.

Farther downstream the heavy tree cover opened up a bit and the bedrock bed of the creek made for some nice shots.

For a long way before reaching a position opposite G10 I was watching for any sign of a trail or path up the rugged cliff, but with no joy.  Finally, having gone past it, I just turned right, picked a spot and started bulling my way up thru the dense brush.  Part way up a blown down tree made for a good ladder for a bit of it.  That didn’t last long and in some areas I literally crawled up thru the tangle on hands and knees.

Then it opened up a bit and I thought, “aha, got it knocked, now.”  Should learn to keep my mouth shut.  Up and around that shoulder in high center………

………and it really got interesting, but I’m stub-Bourne.  From across the canyon, this area looks pretty flat and smooth…….maybe a nice spot for a picnic.  Nawww…………

Having gotten up thru that mess, tho’, it did open up onto a sort of shelf, or plateau.  Narrow plateau.

GPS finally told me I was getting close.  In the lower left corner, that little line below 120 ft shows that the length of that line equals 120 ft on the screen, for those not familiar with these things, so I’m within about 300 feet here.

Finally, at long last, it opened up and there was actually a sort of trail.  Easy money, tho’ by now I was soaked with sweat and very dirty and scuffed up.

A little closer……WOW, look at this.  Looks like an old Indian storeroom.  Remember the several sets of almost buried ruins I’ve found in the last few weeks ??  This looks a lot better.

Around the other side and more stonework.  GPS said I was right on top of G10 and I finally did find it not far from this spot.  GPS was off by about 20 ft.  Pretty good, I’d say.  I was a little apprehensive – it looked like the cache was going to be in the wall and there are a few simple rules of courtesy and good sense that govern this sport.  One of those is “don’t damage anything.”  In addition, it’s illegal as hell to damage something like this.  (no, I’m not going to show a picture of the cache……..that’s a rule, too.  I had to find it – you do the same)

Having accomplished my objective, it was time to slip out of my pack and sit down to enjoy a snack and the great view.  Long, bumpy way down from here.  Reading the sign-in sheet at the cache, I found that just 1 other person had been here this year – last April.  Just 2 or 3 a year prior to that, back to ‘06 when it was hidden here.  Not too many of us lunatics around, I ‘spect.

From here the spot where I took picture 1 of this series was in clear view.

Look to the left – east – and enjoy the view of the route I took down the creek to get here.  The 4Runner is parked just below the V where the ridges cross in upper left.  Yep, that’s the canyon.  Not too wide, is it ??  Nice hike, tho’………until you try climbing out of it.

Now, for a way down.  I didn’t want to return by my upward path – that was a mess to say the least, so I climbed onto a point and saw what looked like a way down…….an almost dry creekbed.  But – it ends at that rock and it’s straight down.  More bushwhacking.

At least it went in sort of “stages,” where I got a break from time to time.  Almost to the bottom here and very glad to see it.  From the creek bottom to the cache is just over 1/10th of a mile, so up and down was slightly less than ¼ mile.  Phew.  Felt like 4 miles.  I haven’t been as active lately and the very few weeks since getting into really good shape were wasted fairly quickly.  I felt every one of these 70 years by the time I got back to the car.  Now, tonight, I feel pleasantly tired and very pleased.                        Lar.

Larry Bourne

Silver City, NM

This was a dandy and opens the way for a lot more exploring – if I can hack it.  Our Tuesday hiking group – I like to call us the “Geezer Group” – got together and this time Charles had decided it was time for another trip to Hell’s Half Acre.  They’d been there in the past but it was new to me.  Turns out I’d gone right past the trailhead when I went to the end of Bear Mountain Road on Suzy the quad last year.  From the road you can’t tell and I had no idea such scenery was almost at my back door.  Thank you, Charles.

Be sure to click on each picture to open it full size, then click again to return to text.  This works with some of the pictures on older pages, too, but not all.  Dunno what makes the difference.

I’ll start with the Garmin GPS track of the day – a total of 6.3 miles for the round trip – much of it thru loose sand at the bottom of the dry washes.

From the parking area along Bear Mtn Rd we immediately started down a steep trail into a canyon.  It wasn’t all that far, maybe 200 yards, but when coming back out it seemed like a lot farther.

Things changed in a hurry and it started getting more rugged, with higher mountains beside us.  Here, Charles is leading with Pam behind him and her hubby Ron following.

I wasn’t kidding about higher mountains.  Scenery was already great and we’d just gotten started.

Within about a mile or so we climbed out of the canyon up onto a broad almost flat area that was much easier going than the sand.

Pam to the left, then Elroy and Spike leading up a ridge.  This area was thickly scattered with very nice chunks of white/white agate, some with pockets of sparkling drusy quartz like fine diamond dust. They look like parts of small geodes and I perked right up.  Looked all over but couldn’t see a source they could have washed down from.  That prob’ly happened when this whole area was formed and the source is prob’ly long gone, far away or both.  Looking for ‘em will make an interesting aside to the next trip in there – I’d really love to find a geode of that stuff.

Of course, the easy going had to end and we started back into the dry wash.  Charles is leading, almost hidden to his right is Spike, with Elroy (in blue) behind him, then Pam and Ron.  The formations ahead were starting to give a foretaste of what was to come.

Getting rugged fast now and I was starting to grin.  Almost like Utah, and you know how much I like Utah – except in the winter – eh, John H ??  It was actually fairly easy going all this way because of the broad dry washes we followed.  There’s a technique for walking thru loose sand that helps a lot.  Take fairly short steps and when you move a foot ahead put it down flat and let momentum carry your weight onto that foot, then do the same with the other foot.  Don’t push off with the rear foot.  Lots of ankle flexing.  You kind of glide along without as much effort as if you were trying to walk normally.

Around a curve and we came into a forest of hoodoos – almost like Tent Rocks near Santa Fe.

Did I say hoodoos ??  Wow.

We were descending the dry washes, the mountains were getting higher and more impressive.  It was in this area where we stopped for a break and several decided not to go farther.  Lazy Lar stayed with them – I was looking at something else and not paying attention as Elroy and Pam continued on down the canyon.

Finally I came up for air and looked around.  “Dohhh, where’d they go ??”  “They went on down to the slot canyon,” I was told.  “What ??  How far is it” I asked ??  I’m a fanatic for slot canyons, claustrophobia and all.

“Oh, it’s not even a quarter mile,” I was told, so off I went to see for myself.  Fairly soon the trail started to narrow, then it Y-ed.  Footprints went to the right – so did I.

……and really got into it.  Had to duck to go under this big boulder stuck in the middle.  I was really grinning now – I love this stuff.

By now I was scraping thru with some difficulty.  Too narrow for my shoulders and I was wearing my hiking pack with all the camera gear, so I just twisted and bored on thru.  More huge boulders overhead.  Footprints in the sand told me I was on the right track.

I was starting to think I’d goofed after all when I heard echoes of voices ahead, so I let out a yell and got a reply.  A few seconds later Pam and Elroy appeared, having gone to the end and now returning.  Getting past each other was a little tricky but we managed it.

Elroy is a master photographer and stayed behind to take some shots of ol’ Lar hamming it up, going way high over a steep spot.  The walls are very rough and give good traction.  They do a good job of removing skin, too.

What fun, eh ??…….and this is only about 15 miles from home.

They’d told me it wasn’t far to the end, so I followed them out and returned the favor with Elroy.

On the way back to the cars, I caught up with Spike and Charles contemplating some formations on the other side of the wash.

The Spot Locater won’t send out of canyons or under trees and brush – some emergency device, eh ?? – tho’ the Garmin GPS has no difficulty in the same areas.  I had to wait till we were back on the open area to send a location.

Here’s the Google map the Spot finally did send and I transposed some locations onto it.  From “parking” go down to the left at about 45º into the bottom of the canyon, then follow on to the marker at slot.  I took that one with the GPS just before going into the narrows.  Looking things over, it appears that we’d barely gotten into the area called Hell’s Half Acre.  The marker at “Hells” is where the maps show the area to be.  You can check it out for yourself by going to –,-108.453&ll=32.93143,-108.453&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1 If you’re not familiar with Google Maps, you can use the slider on the left to zoom in and out and you can drag and drop it to what ever location you want to look at.  From the green arrow, look up and to the left (northwest) and zoom in on that ragged looking area.  It looks like a maze of slot canyons and other neat stuff.  I’m planning a trip on Suzy soon to see how far I can get thru the canyons and washes.  From “parking” above to “slot” above is just over 3 miles – just to the beginning of the good stuff – and the round trip’s about my limit these days.  Maybe I can find a way with the quad, eh ??

Larry Bourne

Silver City, NM