HIGH PLACES

Bill’s Excellent Adventure

Local hiking group makes up names for every trail

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Oh, the Ocotillo hikers and their made-up names! There’s Cupcake’s Conondrum, Two and Three Dog Canyon (but no One Dog Canyon!), and so many more funny trail names that only the insider will recognize. Which might be one of the reasons they do this. Also, because they are a really fun bunch of people. And there is always a great story connected to those names.

They also come up with names for some of their people in the group. At some point, they had way too many Bobs hiking, so they proceeded to choose nicknames for them to keep them apart: Bad Toe Bob and Rob Bob, and some more I cannot recall. I am eternally grateful to be the only Gabriele in the group.

Finally, they have some weird tricks up their sleeves. To treat a knee, sore from hiking, they place a banana peel on the spot for a while. The potassium supposedly gives superhuman strength. Whoa! Who knew?

I started hiking with them again now that it got cooler. One of the first outings I joined was “Bill’s Excellent Adventure” – and a fun one it was.

Since the group is located in and around Las Cruces, most of their hikes are in that area. This one is no exception. We started out at the Soledad Canyon parking lot at the end of Soledad Canyon Road, which runs parallel to Dripping Springs Road towards the Organ Mountains. Very soon (a few hundred yards) into the hike, take the first trail that veers off to the right (south) away from the main trail towards the waterfall. Follow that way until you come to a gate which you climb and continue on the other side. As the trail/dirt road leads downhill, keep your eyes out for a narrow trail in the grass on the right. If you come to an old homestead, you’ve gone too far. But that might be an interesting hiking destination in its own right.

The narrow trail in the grass will lead gently up a wide-open valley, over some hills and finally drop into Achenbach Canyon (off Ladera Canyon Road), one valley over to the south from where the cars are parked. Smart people would stage a shuttle car there before the hike. So glad to hike with a smart bunch. Thank you, Jerry! It’s a quick drive back to Soledad Canyon from there and the whole hike took less than three hours. Home in time for lunch.

I have yet to find out who Bill is, but an excellent adventure it was. I will keep you posted when I find out more.

Hike on!

Of German origin, Gabriele Teich has called Las Cruces home for more than 20 years – and loved every minute of it, hiking the mountains in the immediate surrounding area and all over this beautiful state.