Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Smoke Tree Canyon / Calcite Mine Area ABDSP

Calcite Mine Road Sign
So the first week of winter break was a disaster with the weather but the Sunday after Christmas I packed up and got out of dodge as fast as I could. I was gonna backpack into Rockhouse canyon but as my luck seems to be I could not. Clark "Dry" Lake was flooded and the road was not passable beyond the rock crushing machine. It was getting dark and I needed to camp out somewhere so I kept driving east. I did not camp near CDL because there were already a ton of people, mostly RV's out there. Most of the washes east of CDL were also all muddy and not car friendly looking, there was a jeep stuck floorboard deep on the shoulder at Fonts Point, 2 other jeeps were winching him up and trying to pull him out...3 feet from the road. Goes to show you that anyone can get stuck anywhere, doesn't need to be way off in the back country roads somewhere. I rolled into Arroyo Salado campground and made camp just as it was getting dark. I ended up camping here for 3 nights before driving home Wed morning just as it started to rain heavily.

Monday I hiked hiked up Smoke Tree Canyon to check out the Natural Water Tanks (or "Tinaja" as some say) and then freestyled it up an unknown peak and back down thru Coachwhip Canyon. This was a great hike of about 10 miles and as a bonus I saw a herd of Bighorn Sheep. It looked like 3 adults and 2 younger ones. The views were awesome from the peak (which I believe was right next to Pyramid Peak). Tuesday I hiked out near the Calcite Mine area and thru one of the slot canyons. I returned back down thru Palm Wash and more slot canyons.

It was a great trip and I can see tons of great hiking possibilities all thru the Santa Rosa Mtn areas. I also decided to borrow a Canon DSLR from a friend on this trip. Without this camera I would not have been able to photograph the Bighorn sheep.

Here are a few pics from the trip

Clark "Dry" Lake, the road was not passable in my truck

Tinaja, one of the Natural Rock Tanks in Smoke Tree Canyon
Bighorn Sheep scat and bedding area
Herd of 5 Bighorn Sheep
The 5 Bighorn Sheep starting to mosey off up the hill
Old Native American trail near Coachwhip Canyon

Slot Canyon near Calcite Mine
Calcite minerals near Calcite Mine area
You can see some of the deep gouges left in the earth by the early mining operations
View of Travelers Peak from Calcite Mine road
Night Sky picture at Arroyo Salado Campground

Another night picture at Arroyo Salado Campground

Sunrise picture at Arroyo Salado Campground

A cactus and rainbow on the way home

My sweet new Trangia backpack stove, works awesome!
GPS route of my Smoke Tree Canyon Hike (click image to enlarge)


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