Monday, September 21, 2009

Westside Rd in the Sacramento Mountains

Sheryl was sleeping after a night at work, it was about 11:00 am and a spur of the moment decision found me at Westside Rd at around 12:30. The day was cool and overcast here at 7500 feet. Westside Rd. runs along the western ridge of the Sacramento Mountains, from the small mountain town of High Rolls for 35 or so miles to it's end just north of Timberon. Once off the main highway US 82 you turn south onto Westside Rd, it's round two miles through privite land befor you hit the Linclon NF and FS 90. Once in the NF the road is pretty open with sweeping views of the surrounding mountains and the basin below.

The road winds around the mountain sides and back into the canyons.

The upper mountain tops were blanketed in the clouds.

After several miles, you can turn off Westside road and head west on FS 90B (Joplin Ridge Rd.) for approx 2 miles to the Dog Canyon Trailhead.

Joplin Ridge Rd., is considered one of the rougher roads in the forest (per the ranger) and it was quite rocky, nothing to large, but just enough to make for a pretty bumpy ride.

The Dog Canyon Trail is 5.5 miles long and streches from the Lee Oliver State Park up to FS 90B. At the half way point the is an old stone cabin and that was my goal for a side hike during the trip.

The trail begins down some steep switchbacks

As your first view of Dog Canyon comes into view.

Once down the switchbacks the trail takes you through a beautiful mountain meadow for a mile or so.

Of course you have to have the token self portrait

Once through the meadow,the trail begins a steep downward decent. I followed it down for around 1/2 mile, and the trail just disappeared into a deep rocky washout between the to mountains. I bushwacked for a bit trying to find the trail, but to no avail. Do to a time constraint I put on myself (ok, actually a dinner date with my honey) I decided to give up and try another day and make the trail a main goal.

While headed back I found this interesting cactus growing out of a crack in the boulder.

After returning to the Jeep, I put out alittle shelter and enjoyed the shade for a bit before heading out.

Once back on Westside road, I ran across this grave site, had it not been for the bright flowers you would miss it all together. It is a small fenced in area with just two crosses and a couple of stones as markers. The are no names, just the crosses and stones. I paid my respects and continued on.

The farther south you travel, the deeper into the mountains the road goes, the sweeping vistas give way to the forest lined road.

Approx. 3/4 the way, you will run across and abandon corral, the area is pretty big and it must have been quite an operation in it's day.

Not much farther south of the corral, the road begins to emerge from the deep forest and back out to the mountain sides with grand vistsas coming into view again. The views are mainly southwest toward El Paso and Las Cruces.
The road is nearing its end and begins a steep ascent along several shelfs before turning into the forest again and it's end just north of Timberon. All toll, the trip lasted 6 1/2 hours including the side hike. It was a great day out and I highly recommend it to anyone wanting a southern NM getaway. By the way, the dinner date with Sheryl just made a good day a GREAT one.
Thats all for this adventure and as always Love your Life, it's the only one you have!!!!

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