Canyons are inherently risky. Flash floods occur without notice on sunny days. Technical skills & surrounding topography knowledge required yet does not eliminate risk.
It's the Pits!
There are a number of shorter canyons to be found in the front edges of the mountains immediately east of Alamogordo… this is one of the nicer surprises.
Tucked away at the east end of the old Marble Quarry near the mouth of Marble Canyon, at first glance you imagine this drainage to be little more than a pour over fall climbing steeply and immediately up to the ridge on the north side of Marble Canyon.
It does climb to that ridge… but it is neither steep nor immediate. This turns into a very pleasant “eventually” hike, mostly walking over bedrock with the occasional small falls thrown in for minor entertainment.
You access the canyon by hiking up, into and through the old quarry. Once to the upper east end of the rock processing, it is an easy bit of scrambling up into the drainage, up a small falls to the paved walkway.
As you walk this narrow bottom the drainage appears to draw to a close time and again… yet at the top of each successive end… it continues to wind around an up.
Eventually… the cut is so shallow you feel as if you are hiking up a ridge, but then a surprising site/sight awaits.
Just as the cut rounds out into a bare slab of bedrock, you will notice an unnatural piles of rubble. 20 tons of excavated rock have been neatly piled in rows… from the three small quarry pits drilled and cleaved out of a natural fault line.
It’s the old gold mine off trail T119 around the 5700’ elevation level!
So… the canyon is defined top and bottom with this man altered feature. Interestingly, there is an old drill and splitting wedge snugged into the rock at both sites.
The easy access back to your car is likely T119... Just a few hundred yards to the north.
Don’t remove the historic relics… don’t fall off the ledges… don’t fall into the pits.
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WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.
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