Dog Canyon Trail – oliver lee memorial state park

On Sunday I decided it was a good day to hike up the Dog Canyon Trail.  This trail has been used by native people to move from the Tularosa Basin into the Sacramento Mountains for thousands of years.  There was a little cloud cover and the day was not too warm.  Plus I was sure there would be others on the trail as well.  The trailhead starts at the Visitor’s Center and the first 6/10th’s of a mile it has an elevation gain of 600 feet.  I am not used to hiking in areas with such elevation gain but I did make it to the saddle at Spring Canyon last week, but not sure about the elevation gain there.  But I was going to give it the old college try anyway.

This is a pic of the trail and what I was suffering through. LOL!!

Be sure to click and then click again to enlarge all photos.

You actually enter the Lincoln Forest at the beginning of the trail although you are still in the desert.

After much huffing and puffing and numerous breaks, I finally mad it to the first bench at 600′.  What a thrill.  I almost couldn’t believe I made it.  This is the view looking back toward the campgrounds.

From here the trail flattened out for a while.  I met other hikers coming down who had made it to the end of the trail.  Good for them!

You are continually getting higher and higher and the RV’s are getting smaller and smaller in the campground below.

At the 1.5 mile marker you could look down into the canyon on the left and view the sheer cliffs rising 1500′ on the right.

I had set a goal of climbing until it reached 2:00 pm.  I wanted to give myself plenty of time to hike back down through the steep section at the beginning of the trail.  I now regret my decision since the “Line Cabin” was only .9 of a mile further.  But there were switchbacks leading up to it as you climbed steeper.  So at 2:00 I reached the 2 mile marker, took a break and then headed back down.  Thinking back, I know I could have reached the cabin and had plenty of time to get off the trail.

These are some views from the 2 mile marker.

As I am almost down I pass out of the Lincoln Forest and through the old gate that was put in many, many years ago.

I made it down without mishap although going down was almost as hard as going up, just less huffing and puffing.  Next time I am through this area I will see about making it to the cabin and back or maybe even to the top.

Oliver Lee State park

My next stop in my Southern New Mexico State Park tour led me to Oliver Lee Memorial State Park.  It is about 12 miles south of Alamogordo, NM.  It is a beautiful park located at the base of the Sacramento Mountains.  I set up camp in a site with no hook-ups.  The weather was beautiful – no wind and lots of sun and great scenery as you will see.  This is a pic of my site.

Be sure to click and then click again to enlarge all photos.

It is really a great place to hike.  My first few days I hiked in Dog Canyon where a stream was still flowing.  It is a wonderful area with lots of large trees.  Lots of shade!!

On Saturday I hiked further up Dog Canyon almost to where there is no water.  I discovered lots of beautiful flowers and even an orchid.  I used to grown lots of orchids at one time so really enjoyed the beauty of this one.  Here is a pic of the Helleborine Orchid I discovered.  What a beauty!!!

Also a pic of the Yellow Columbine.  They were everywhere on the canyon walls.

I took a few more pics of the canyon area.  It was very beautiful.  I was going to go to the very end, where the water stopped, but glad I didn’t.  The park ranger told me that there was a huge clump of poison ivy back that.  OUCH !!

This is a pic of Frenchy’s cabin.  Frenchy in conjunction with Oliver lee built the aqueduct that carried water through the canyon to his orchards and Oliver Lee’s cattle.  They found him dead with a bullet in his chest.  Oh Well !!!!

On the way back to my campsite I found this prickly pear cactus in bloom.

In the afternoon a group of us took a tour of Oliver Lee’s original home when he lived in this area.  He was a rancher, cattleman, and later went into politics and was elected to both houses of the New Mexico State legislature.  The house had been completely restored after much wear and tear over the years.  It was even used in a Disney film called Scrupulous John.

This shows the barn.  It has completely deteriorated.

I really like the Oliver Lee Memorial State Park.  Especially the Dog Canyon are with all of it’s growth.  Even lots of trees.  I will be here for a week so will get to see it in depth.