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Aug 04 2012
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 Guides 1
 Routes 131
 Photos 21,691
 Triplogs 997

74 male
 Joined Feb 28 2003
 Tucson, AZ
South Baldy Peak, NM 
South Baldy Peak, NM
 
Hiking avatar Aug 04 2012
rwstormTriplogs 997
Hiking2.00 Miles 1,000 AEG
Hiking2.00 Miles
1,000 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
After getting a look at the situation on the top of the mountain Thursday afternoon, I went back to my motel room in Socorro and hung out in town for a couple of days. I also gave NM Tech a call to see about the locked gate and access to the Langmuir Lab. They informed me the gate stays locked almost all the time, but that the area beyond was open to hiking. So that meant I was going to drive back up Saturday morning to check things out before heading home. I parked at the small lot for the Crest Trail and walked the road past the new observatory over to the lightning lab. I have a good memory from my first visit to the lab back in 1993. I walked in, signed the visitor log, and began talking with the receptionist. She said she was from Wyoming and was working there for the summer. I told her that a friend, David Shaul, back in Tucson was associated with the Shaul and Grams ranching families in Wyoming. Imagine my surprise when she informed me that David is her uncle! :o Small world indeed. 8)

On this day, there were people inside the lab, but I didn't go in, just content walking around. I first found out about this place from a NOVA TV special on lightning research that was partly filmed here. Being a weather geek I of course had to visit, plus being on a high mountain made it even better! :D

After walking to the lab, I headed back down the road to finally hike to the top of South Baldy. You wouldn't want to be doing that if thunderstorms were around! Then it was back to the car and a short drive down the road to do a small portion of the Timber Peak Trail. Thus ended four days in the Socorro area, one of my favorite places in New Mexico.

Back in 1942, a B-17 bomber crashed into North Baldy Peak just short of the top, while on a training flight.

B-17 Crash http://www.caminorealheritage.org/PH/0107_b17.pdf

Langmuir Laboratory http://langmuir.nmt.edu/

Magdalena Ridge Observatory http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magdalena_Ridge_Observatory_Interferometer
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Moderate
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Aug 02 2012
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 Guides 1
 Routes 131
 Photos 21,691
 Triplogs 997

74 male
 Joined Feb 28 2003
 Tucson, AZ
Copper Canyon Trail #10, NM 
Copper Canyon Trail #10, NM
 
Hiking avatar Aug 02 2012
rwstormTriplogs 997
Hiking6.00 Miles 2,000 AEG
Hiking6.00 Miles
2,000 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Partners none no partners
Drove over to hang out for a few days in the Magdalena Mountains and Socorro. First night I camped at Water Canyon Campground, followed by two nights in a motel in Socorro. I have camped there several times over the years, but this was my first time at the relocated campground. The former location was primo, but is now just for day use. The primary objective this trip was to drive up to see the new telescope up on Magdalena Ridge and visit the Langmuir Lightning Research Lab, which dates to 1963. I last was to the lightning lab back in 1993 and the last time I drove the road to the top was in 2003 to do the South to North Baldy hike. There is new construction going on up top associated with the observatory. Otherwise things are much the same as years ago, except the gate has been beefed up and remains locked pretty much all the time now. The gate is a short ways beyond the parking area for the North Baldy trail. Though you normally can't drive all the way to the lab anymore, walking in is allowed. You just don't want to be doing this during times when lightning research including balloon and rocket launches are happening (into active thunderstorms)! :scared:

After camping, I drove a short way to the Copper Canyon trailhead for the hike. This trail goes all the way up the canyon, heading in a south to southwest direction toward the Crest Trail near South Baldy. It starts out around 7000 feet and eventually reaches about 10,300 feet where it hits the crest. I went about 3 miles up, turning around at 9000 feet, just before reaching an old miner's cabin and fork in the trail (the real steep part starts there). Since it was a pretty hot day, I was glad to be hiking in the shaded canyon.

At the beginning of the hike, the trail skirts by some private property and old buildings and meadows associated with mining and ranching from days gone by. About 2 miles in you encounter periodic water in the canyon as it climbs toward the crest.

Following the hike I drove up the road to the locked gate by South Baldy to look around and take some photos. Thunderstorms were sparse today, but they finally started putting down some rain as I drove down the mountain. This is an awesome narrow road with fantastic views! It is well graded, but you should have high clearance (and preferably 4x4). Probably wouldn't be much fun during a downpour. :o

Once down, it was off to the motel in Socorro. I decided I would come back up the mountain Saturday morning on my way home to Tucson and walk the mile or so from the gate to the lightning lab, plus check out the new astronomy stuff. Also, I wanted to finally bag South Baldy Peak (10,783 ft), which is a short side trip off the Crest Trail.
 Fauna
 Fauna [ checklist ]
[ checklist ]  Ladybug beetle
 Culture
 Culture [ checklist ]
[ checklist ]  Wooden Dwelling
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light
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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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