8.29.2005

McCauley hot spring

Went on a hike Sunday, up in the Jemez Mountains. Although the volcano that made the Valles Grande Caldera — and the surrounding mountains — hasn't been active for 1.12 million years, there's still enough geothermal activity to create hot springs. We drove north, through Los Alamos, then up into the Jemez, past the Caldera.

The hike starts near the picnic area at Battleship Rock:



This was one of the more prominent rock faces in the canyon formed by the east fork of the Jemez River, which winds through the picnic grounds. The trail starts by the river, then climbs the side of the canyon, for about 3 miles and 500 feet elevation change. We could really see the different layers of rock as the hike progressed — grey pumicey stuff, white, then red sandstone. Lots of obsidian-looking black boulders throughout.



There were intermittent clouds, some sun, and brief showers upon reaching the hot spring.



Despite what the photo shows, there were many other people there, including one woman who told us that the water level used to be much higher. And a couple who hiked in from the Jemez Falls (about 2 miles in the other direction) with their 2 Corgis: Andy, a puppy, who, liked to swim, and Zephyr, his older "brother," who did not:



Not having brought swimsuits, we just soaked our feet. It's probably more accurately called a "warm spring." A little more rain on the hike back down. Here's another view of Battleship Rock, and the cliffs beyond, from the return trip. It's the light ridge about halfway down, right above the treeline:



On the drive out, more rain, making the Caldera look especially otherworldly:





Including this one view that looked like a castle on the Scottish moors, or something. Those little white dots farthest to the right are the visitor center buildings.



Back down the mountains into Los Alamos, we came through the leading edge of the storm, with lightning and hail! Clear again by the time we came off the mesa, and down to the Rio Grande on the way home.

4 comments:

jraphael said...

NOW I realize what you are up to, posting these pix and travelogues. It's to entice us to visit.

But I'm not doing any real hiking, let's get that CLEAR.

andy said...

Com'n on Raph. Get a pair of shorts like Bram has there and you'll do fine.

jraphael said...

Well, I'm just amazed with all that hiking, how skinny the boy's legs still are.

Mel said...

I am buying stock in Travelsmith, REI, Merrell and Orvis. Immediately. Or maybe I'll start a new mutual fund "Dri-Wick and Sturdy Shoes Fund 2005-I" - yes, that's it.