PART 2: FOREST ROAD 9553
So where is Forest Road 9553? It is the pink line on the left and the green line on the right:
On the left we walked as far as the green line. On the right the pink line. Do they not match exactly? Navigation on foot is an inexact science.
Why did we not push on to the end? We will, next time. Be patient!
FR 9553 branches off FR 540 here:
This is how we got this far (yes, Audrey did this walk with me, as did Trixie our little black Chihuahua):
Two vehicles passed us on this road, we could have driven much of it too, but the whole idea is to walk! To exercise in the great outdoors!
Maybe it is not so evident in the photos of satellite photos above, but this road/trail follows a ridge-top, one of many semi-parallel ridges divided by steep and deep canyons once one gets to the eastern edge of the Guadalupe mountains:
Moving toward the northern edge of this ridge it is possible to look back to the ridgeline on the left of the next photo, we drove along that ridge on Forest Road 540:
Just a little later and looking northeast we see a magnificent cliff face on one of the parallel ridges, that may actually be Lonesome Ridge, a ridge we will definitely walk sometime this year (but if you are on top of it, you don't get this view)!
Just a bit further down the road, this views opens up to what may seem like the end of Lonesome Ridge, but I have been assured by the Larry Paul, the Guadalupe Ranger District (Lincoln National Forest) Wildlife Biologist, that it is not the end, it is an elbow, Lonesome Ridge continues in a different direction allowing an overlook of both Black and Big canyons--fantastic! In Mr. Paul's words: "That particular part of Lonesome is the “Elbow” of Lonesome. Lonesome Ridge goes on due east for 2 more breath-taking miles! I cannot describe the view. Just stunning. Way more so than Big. I know that sounds like hyperbole but it is not. The rock structure of Black Canyon is totally different than Big. The walls are almost black and all of its forks are massively finned. Big has a small amount of that type of structure in its southern fork which is visible from the 'Pinnacle'."
What is this Pinnacle? The terminus of Trail/Forest Road 9553 (WHICH WE DID NOT GET TO THIS TIME), where a rock ledge platform overlook has been given that name. (We will get there the next time we do this trail, promise!)
Larry Paul, the aforementioned Forest Service Wildlife Biologist, whom I requested look at my web page and suggest corrections, informed me that the west-facing cliff in the photo above has a cave in it: "Yes! That is the west face of Lonesome Ridge, it overlooks all 3 of the Big Canyon drainages. (Oh, by the way, there is a cave in the vertical middle of that cliff, it takes a 400 ft. long rope to get to and you have to swing on the 400 ft. rope to get into the overhung cave! It’s called “Pucker Factor Cave” for that reason! They say it is even worse when you come out, you swing way out over that part of Big Canyon about 1000 ft. below! Whoa!!!"
These two views are the highlight of the walk we did on this trail. So then why are there two more pages? Obsessive-compulsive disorder?
PART ONE PAGES
Go Back to First Black Canyon Lookout Page
Go Back to Second Black Canyon Lookout Page
PART TWO PAGES
NEXTGo 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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