34 • FEBRUARY 2017
HIGH PLACES • GABRIELE TEICH
It’s a Bumpy World
Rock house mine hike in the Organ Mountains
f you take Baylor Canyon Road from the south side (Dripping Springs Road) for about three miles, about 1,000 feet after the road changes from dirt to paved, a road turns off sharply to the right and you cross a cattle guard. Immediately, the road turns rocky. You might dare continue if you have a high clearance old Jeep. Otherwise pull over and follow the road on foot. The way leads to an old rock house (Google Maps calls it Mine House Spring), which sheltered miners who worked the mine farther up the trail. One corner still shows signs of open-pit fires, which might stem from more recent times. Behind the house you can make out the remnants of a garden or probable pasture for animals. A big tree offering shade completes the idyllic scene. Follow the trail farther and it will lead you to the mine. It is a fun site to explore with kids but keep a close eye on them. While some entrances below have been closed with metal doors, on top of the hill are several wide-open pits without rails. Throw a rock in to see (or rather hear) how
deep these mining tunnels go. For an even bigger (and much longer) adventure you can continue from the top of the mine and follow the ridge trail towards the mountains, which later curves left (north) and leads up to a canyon full of giant boulders and, eventually, the Rabbit Ears Plateau. On one of our outings a few years back we had to call the Search and Rescue Team to aid some rock climbers who got stuck on a cliff face there. We had heard them earlier, gleefully hollering, but were too far away to actually see them (note to self: bring binoculars next time!) and the afternoon was getting windy and cold, so we turned around. That’s when their cries suddenly sounded more frantic and with a lot of yelling back and forth we finally determined that they indeed needed rescuing. We called 911 and gave them our coordinates (it’s good to have a GPS or smart phone with you). They connected us to the State Police who sent out an officer and also informed the Search and Rescue Team. We still chuckle at how our son yelled to the climbers: “We called the police and they
will come and GET you!” He meant well. At the bottom of the trail by our car we met the police officer and later we found out that the climbers had been brought to safety. Too-cold fingers had made it impossible for them to get either up or down, but once off the wall they were able to walk out. This is no news, but the mountains can be dangerous if you don’t come prepared. So, as always, go out, have fun, enjoy the outdoors, but remember your sunscreen, hat and sturdy shoes! Hubby has taken to bringing a hiking stick along for additional stability and support. They make collapsible ones now that can be easily stashed in your backpack. Of German origin, Gabriele Teich has called Las Cruces her home for the last 18 years — and loved every minute of it, hiking the mountains in the immediate surrounding and all over this beautiful state.
The rock house at the Mine House Spring in Baylor Canyon, once provided shelter for miners in the canyon. (Photos by Gabriele Teich)
Old mining equipment can still be found in the area of Baylor Canyon Road.
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Dr. Everett earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery at Texas A&M University Baylor College of Dentistry. He also completed a Master’s Degree in Oral Biology and Periodontics at Texas A&M University. Originally from further north in the Texas Panhandle, Dr. Everett was born in Amarillo to a great family of ranchers and farmers, and called the nearby town of Stratford, Texas his home. We are pleased to welcome Dr. Everett to Silver Smiles.