Guadalupe Forays '16

PART 1:  BLACK CANYON LOOKOUT

First Page

Just put some All Terrain tires on our twelve year old Huyndai Santa Fe, 4WD, with 225,000 miles on it, for the very first time and decided to check it out in the Guadalupes.  On Forest Road 540, the Guadalupe Ridge Road,  I had always passed up this side-road at Klondike Gap into Dark Canyon, FR69, because I feared for the well-being of my street tires:

  

So now having sturdy shoes on my Hyundai's feet, we plunged down into and back up the other side of Dark Canyon to poke around Guadalupe Ridge and the Dark Canyon Fire Lookout area, following the pink on the next two photos:

  

The photo of the satellite photo on the right shows a transition from the "Klondike Gap Road" to the "Ussery Trail."  (Note that there is some contradictions between the names on these maps and the signed names.)  There is a pink between two instances of the Ussery Trail labeling, that is where the Dark Canyon Fire Lookout is.  We parked and walked down the Ussery Trail just a little way and at the first branch walked a bit in both directions, a little up and back on the Ussery Trail and a little up and back on the continuation of the Klondike Gap Road.

Once out of the rather steep Dark Canyon we stopped and took a look back and could see the road (FR69) coming from the Guadalupe Ridge Road intersection at Klondike Gap into and through Dark Canyon (where there is still some private property, a ranch, as you can see):

Trixie checked out the new tires and found them to be in good enough shape to continue:

Once on the ridge again the road was pretty decent, coming up out of the canyon?  Not comfortable.  But it is time to start paying attention to where we are when we meet an intersection with FR201, FR 69A has just ended:

One of the ways to get to Lonesome Ridge (which we can see from Forest Road 9553, linked below) is to make a right turn at this point on 201.  I asked Guadalupe Ranger District-Lincoln National Forest Wildlife Biologist Larry Paul about which way was best to take to get close to where I can walk the Lonesome Ridge Trail (T56), and this was his discouraging advice:

. . . "there are 2 routes to Lonesome Ridge from Klondike Gap, both routes are just plain mean: ONE is via Forest Road (FR) 69 then on FR69A then take a right at the 1st intersection of FR69A and FR201 (Guadalupe Ridge Road is what FR201 is labeled on our topo maps) (the photo map you use has Guadalupe Ridge Road labeled as Klondike Gap Road, I have no idea why, 201 has no connection to Klondike Gap what-so-ever).  Then follow 201 west to FR 3010 and FR3010 to T56 Lonesome Ridge Trail.  The OTHER route is to follow 540 on south to the intersection of FR201 (we call this site “the 540 Turn-Around”) and go east on 201 to the intersection of FR 3010.  Both routes are insanely difficult.  The part of 201 west that you saw from FR69A was the GOOD part.  No joke.  It gets WAY worse!  I will NOT do FR69A to FR540 any more on a 4 wheeler!  Too hard on my back and knees!  Which is sad because the Lonesome Ridge Trail 56 is the most spectacular on the Forest Service part of the Guadalupes because of the views of both Big and Black Canyons… at the same time! 

So, I will do Lonesome Ridge walking from the FR 540 turnaround at some point this Summer.  That is my goal anyway.  But let's get back to the minor adventure of THIS day: Just past this intersection we take another look back to where we started from:

And we find ourselves on the actual ridge called Guadalupe Ridge, where the Dark Canyon Fire Lookout stands:

  

From the steps of the lookout station this is the view south to the highest points of the Guadalupe Range, the higher part of the wall to the left is the wall of McKittrick Canyon:

We will look in some other directions from this vantage point on the next page.

PART ONE PAGES

NEXTGo to Second Black Canyon Lookout Page

PART TWO PAGES

Go to First Forest Road 9553 Page

Go to Second Forest Road 9553 Page

Go to Third Forest Road 9553 Page

PART THREE PAGES

Go to First Pinnacle Page

Go to Second Pinnacle Page

Go to Third Pinnacle Page

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