We’ve been on our bikes so much lately that we haven’t done much hiking in this area. Luckily/unluckily Ross’s bike was out of commission for a weekend while we waited on a new throttle cable so we took the opportunity to catch up on some nature (that we weren’t passing at 15-30 miles an hour). We looked up the best hikes in the area and found a familiar name, just 15 miles away from the RV park.
Long ago, when we first started this whole RV life, we stayed at Oliver Lee State Park in the dead of winter. It wasn’t snowing when we arrived but we woke in the middle of the night to several inches of snow on the ground. We were pretty new to using the heater in our old Brougham Class C RV (two settings, off and cooking everyone inside) and we were going through propane fast. The snow wasn’t melted by the second day and we were nearly out, looking forward to freezing if we couldn’t escape to get more. Some time during the day the roads inside the park thawed enough for us to make a run for it, and we were off to El Paso. The tires on the RV were so bald, and the park so hilly, that we couldn’t have left unless they were pretty dry. We had already learned just before that that even in rain, that old beast would just slide down a hill if you hit the brakes. Nevertheless, we didn’t get to hike that time, but it was beautiful seeing snow on cactus.
When we visited this time, it was in the low 80s. As soon as we pulled up we recognized our neighbours motorcycles so we popped into the visitor center to say hello. After a bunch of motorcycle talk, we started on our way up the Dog Canyon Trail. The hike started and continued to be pretty much a constant climb til we reached a few hundred feet, short break of flat ground, then another hundred feet and so on. We only made it to milemarker 1.5 but had already climbed almost 500 feet getting there. We took our time looking at all the amazing cactus blooms and insects. We didn’t see much wildlife up there but it was mid day. The temperature dropped at least 10 degrees at we ascended, making it a little easier to keep going. We brought a camel back and nearly emptied it nonetheless.
By the time we got back down the mountain the visitor center was closed. We didn’t get a chance to read about all the skirmishes between soldiers and american indians that had gone on in that very canyon. It was hard to imagine anyone running around shooting at each other in there. I imagined soldiers mostly falling on cacti with 3 inch thorns as the local indians laughed and laughed. Since we may go back, we’ll definitely read more about it. From the giant painting of a majorly unfair battle in the entryway, I think I can imagine where it all goes.