Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Lincoln National Forest: Horse Canyon Hike

I woke up this morning. Ate some breakfast and walked Parker, before hitting the road in a dense fog. It had been a while since I had hit the trails and I desperately wanted to go for a hike. I drove up towards Queen, broke through the fog and parked at Red Lake ( which is neither red nor a lake). From there I hiked along the rough forest road down into Turkey Canyon.

From Turkey Canyon I made my way up onto a ridge before dropping down into yet another canyon. The vegetation was typical of the higher elevations of the Guadalupe Mountains with lots of agaves and pinyon pines.

The canyon bottoms were a bit different than those you would normally see in the Guads. They were of smooth, pavement-like limestone. In some areas the rock had been eroded to water-filled tinajas.
As I explored some of the canyon walls near water sources I began to find some rock art in the form of red pictographs.
Man Horse and Sun
I followed some forest roads to a trail marked on the map as T208. This trail led me up a steep slope before I crested a high ridge. Then I made my way back down through Horse Canyon. The trail was difficult to follow. It was marked mostly with cairns and flagging tape attached to trees along the way. Occasionally, the trail was marked with metal signs attached to tree trunks.
Hiking Trail Sign
Horse Canyon exhibited a lot of the smooth limestone that had been carved by water. There was lots of iron staining to be seen in the rock as well.
Iron Stained Rock

Eventually I made my way to the intersection of Horse Canyon with another unnamed canyon. Here I found a rock shelter with lots of interesting pictographs inside.
Eric and Rock Art

Line Pictographs

Abstract Pictographs
After I left the shelter I could see the fog starting to close in. The temperature dropped and I started to get cold.
Distant Fog
I started to worry about the fog and the impending darkness. I would have to hustle to get back to my car before it was pitch black.
Getting Worried
Luckily, I made it back to the car just in time. If I had taken even 15 minutes longer I would have had a difficult time finding my car. It was a foggy drive out of the mountains, but I had a great day hiking in the Guadalupes!


Amish Stories said...

Greetings from an Amish community in Pennsylvania, I'm just checking out different blogs and thought id leave a comment. Happy holidays to everyone as well. Richard from Amish Stories

shaunoftheguads said...

Hey there, really enjoying your blog here. I have done a lot of hiking in the Guadalupes and you have gone to a lot of the same places that I have! I hiked Horse canyon once and we tried to find the large pictographs you photographed here, but we had no luck. Though we did find some really nice pictographs in Turkey Canyon, not too far away. Its cool to finally see them. Keep up the good work!