A Scramble Above Soledad Canyon
This post is a bit out of order since our exploration above Soledad Canyon occurred before our fourth week of building at Mesilla Valley Habitat but with my bandaged fingers and subsequent slowed typing I decided to write that post first.
Because Tom and I have hiked all the established (dog-friendly) trails in the Organ Mountains at this point – most of them several times – we were looking for a different route that wouldn’t involve climbing gear. We often just choose a direction to walk in or a mountain to climb in our exploratory hikes but I decided to scout the internet instead this time which told me of a route up the peaks from Soledad Canyon, which has an established network of trails. True to form I forgot pretty much all the navigation details once we found ourselves leaving the trailhead but I remembered the route starting south towards the Fort Bliss artillery range before heading east up the mountains along the fence. So we started with that.
As we began the steep ascent up the Organs we basically selected outcroppings to hike towards, each of us finding our own way up as the hike morphed into a steeper, more-sustained scramble. The higher we climbed the more impressive the views became as we watched the alluvial fan of Soledad Canyon spread out for miles below and the details of the highest peaks come into view above. Balancing on the sharp edged of the fractured volcanic boulders turned into a real calf-burner after awhile however so we called it quits after about 1,500 feet in elevation gain, about 1,000 feet or so below the tallest peaks above us.