Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Guadalupe Mountains National Park: "Mount Pratt"

Today Noelle went down to Roswell to do some maternity clothes shopping. I wanted no part of that and so I headed down to Guadalupe Mountains National Park to hike up the trail-less 8,000+ foot mountain unofficially known as Mount Pratt. I drove through some drizzle on my way there, but as I parked the car near Frijole Ranch the sun started to poke through the clouds a bit.
Guads and Clouds

It was nice and cool as I started my hike. By the time I made it to Bear Canyon I was working hard and sweating.
Bear Canyon
The hike went surprisingly fast. The canyon was very green and there were lots of wildflowers in bloom.
Blue Flowers
The rain of the previous days gave the desert a wonderful perfumed smell. Soon I was on top of the ridge where I picked up the Bowl Trail.
Bowl Trail
I followed the trail to the point where it makes a nearly 180 degree turn and stopped there for a lunch of leftover bean burritos.
Lunch in the Bowl
My time on a nice manicured trail would be over for a while. I hiked through a meadow and then started an ascent of Pratt Ridge.
Pratt Ridge
The going wasn't as difficult as I had imagined. I passed a weather station and then dropped down into a small saddle. After the descent I made another ascent. Soon the summit of Mount Pratt was in view.

The last ascent up to the summit was up a gently sloping dome. The top was relatively flat. I thought there might be a cairn marking the summit, but I didn't find one. I went to a rock outcropping that appeared to be the highest point and built a small cairn of my own there.
Mount Pratt Summit
I rested, took my photo and then started to make my way down. It drizzled a bit as I made my descent.

Eventually I got bored retracing my steps, so for some variety I decided to hike down into a grassy drainage that I suspected was part of the same drainage I crossed when I first made my way off the trail. Soon, I discovered an old cabin in some tall ponderosa pine trees.
Fire Cache
I had to check the cabin out, of course. It looked to be part of the old McAlpine Ranch operation as there was a tank labeled with that name.
The cabin itself had a sign that read Fire Cache. The door was unlocked so I took a look inside. It smelled skunky in there, but was quite interesting.
Inside Cabin

After exploring the cabin for a bit and relaxing. I started back to the Bowl Trail where I ascended to Frijole Ridge and then headed down Bear Canyon. It was an interesting hike, thanks to the unexpected find of an interesting old cabin!          

No comments: