Dark Canyon

Where does one hike when one's car has a problem and may need to be towed home?  Nearby of course.  And where is the nearby-est hiking place from Carlsbad, New Mexico? The little canyon one routinely drives through to get to faraway locations like Dog Canyon and the Tejas trail on the Guadalupe Mountains.

I did a Dark Canyon hike once before, a very dry place, and found myself in a small watershed claimed by the City of Carlsbad as a water source.  Made me feel guilty about taking a shower!

So this time, on two separate Wintry but nice days, I did some little nondescript hills.  

The first hill was this one, selected only because there was easy parking along the second dirt road to the left off Dark Canyon Road.  Note that this is not the car with the problem, but it is my wife's car and I am not allowed to beat it to death on dirt roads (by mutual agreement that is what my car is for, so it is having its steering and several other key front-end stability components replaced).

That is a photo from the end of the walk, but at the beginning, as I was looking for and following deer trails up the side of that hill, the sun and clouds were playing nice games with bright sunshine below me coming through a little hole in the overcast:

 

Always a pleasant surprise when a deer trail is a veritable deer highway, but that never lasts long, deer are going to places to eat, not to places with the best views:

So what was there to see along these many interconnected deer trails?  Very little really except that the next side canyon over is the one hiked a year ago this same wintry time, the one with the cave and Carlsbad city watershed linked above.  The people in the truck barely visible on the dirt road below were shooting at targets (I assumed) making a worrisome noise:

Walking completely around the hill at this level (because it was easy) brought me to look down on Dark Canyon Road just a bit beyond where I had pulled off it:

Enough laziness, time to go over the top and home again, up this west side and down this east side of the hill, some of it without benefit of any obvious deer trails (note that the target shooters are gone now, no more worrisome noise from below):

 

Driving to the second dirt road off Dark Canyon Road to walk up this hill made me realize there is also a first road that I could have pulled off on.  

So I vowed to do that first-road hill the very next weekend.  See the first link below to go there with me.

Go to Second Dark Canyon in Winter walk

Go to 2104 Winter walk in Dark Canyon

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