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2010 Trip Report - El Paso Mountains

El Paso Mountain Trip Report

February 20, 21, 2010

Leaders: Johns and Hansens

We were afraid the rainy weather might scare off some of our participants, but  everyone who said they were coming showed up in Randsburg, our jumping off  point. It turned into a beautiful sunny day although it was cool enough for  jackets most of the time. Riding in seven vehicles were June Box and her friend  Nancy Robles, Debbie Nakamoto, Rob Hefner who is also a friend of Junes, Glenn  Shaw, Sunny and Jean Hansen and Marian and Neal Johns plus two of our pooches,  Blue and Feliz. Vicki Hill and Dave McFarland had to cancel at the last minute  because Dave caught a cold, but they were replaced by new folks, Nelson Miller  and Carrie who joined us Saturday morning, although they didnt camp out and stay  for Sundays adventures.

After assembling in Randsburg, we followed Sunny and Jean to the Terese petro  site north of Randsburg. There, we also found several house rings and some small  check dams along a nearby drainage. Thanks Sunny and Jean!

Continuing west, we reached the two-track to the Sheep Springs petro site and  had our lunch on BLM picnic tables by the cottonwood trees. As we hiked along  the ridge to the west above the springs looking at the petros on black boulders,  it seemed there werent as many as we recalled from earlier trips. Was it just  our imagination or has someone been carting them off?

Next we took a trail directly east of Sheep Springs for about a mile and found  another spring, complete with a fine-looking rock reservoir and water-filled  troughs that Quail Unlimited maintains. A friendly lab with another group  plopped himself right down in one of the troughs, getting himself all wet and  dirty, but was he ever a happy dog!

The rest of the afternoon was spent driving down beautiful Goler Gulch A few  rough spots got our attention and kept us on our toes, but all made it with no  mishaps. Even the tricky stretch through The Narrows didnt stop any of us for  long.

That evening, we found a nice open camp spot on the south side of the El Pasos  where we soaked up the last rays of sunshine and enjoyed a potluck dinner. June  outdid everyone with her huge pot of chili that fed us all.

Sunday morning we headed back into the El Pasos via Mesquite Wash. The first  stop was Burro Schmidts Tunnel; several people had never been there. In fact, I  dont think any of us had been there since Toni Seegar died in 2004. Just the  buildings and some stuff remain. Sadly, vandals have been at work despite signs  requesting the respect of property.

From Burro Schmidts, we drove down to Bickels Camp in Last Chance Canyon. We  were met by Mark Aslin who guided us on a tour to see all of Walt Bickels  hand-made machinery and raw materials. Although Walt died in 1996, the Friends  of Last Chance Canyon have since been preserving his camp under the watchful eye  of the BLM. Before leaving, we added a few dollars to the Friends donation box.  Neal told us a story of breaking his Landcruiser and riding into Los Angeles  with Walts pot-smoking grandkids.

On down the canyon, we passed by gorgeous, colorful formations pink being the  predominant color; it was a truly a beautiful sight and several stops were made  for photos. Just above Cudahy Camp, we came to another attention-getter which  was a short, but steep 4x4 hill. We were headed down canyon and had no trouble.  After lunch at the Cudahy Camp where we chatted with members of a Jeep club  (some of whom June knew), it was time to head out to Hwy.14. We turned west and  drove up, up and up on a rough road that had one narrow section with a left-hand  drop-off that required careful driving. When we finally reached the summit, we  stopped - looked back down at the road we had just driven up and admired the  awesome view. Then over hill and dale we went, finally emerging in Red Rock  Canyon State Park. From there it was just a short distance to Hwy. 14 where we  said good-by to our friends and fellow travelers.