Saturday, 30 April 2011

McKittrick Canyon: Easter Weekend 2011 Part III

Easter Sunday we woke up in our tent to pleasant temperatures. The only discomfort was that our air mattress was a wee bit too small, it was made to fit in the bed of my truck where you can lay up against the sides of the bed. We packed up and broke camp then departed Pine Springs Campground to do some light Geocaching and one last trail hike in McKittrick Canyon.

The previous evening we had been stargazing and seen some smoke coming over the Guads, today that smoke was much more ominous so I asked in the Visitor Center about it and was told it was called the Last Chance Fire and was likely started by hikers making a campfire. (Why are people so ignorant sometimes?) After a brief chat with the Rangers about a lost campground host that had been found Friday night before we arrived we departed Pine Springs. The McKittrick Canyon Visitor Center is an unusual one as there are no Rangers stationed here, and the displays are outdoors in a covered pavilion. We looked these over a bit, and from the pictures I've decided we will likely return in the fall to see the trees change. I wanted to get the McKittrick Canyon Nature Loop Earthcache but there were signs the trail was a bit steep in places and both of our legs were Jell-O from our hike to Guadalupe Peak the previous day. So I made a quick backwards loop on the trail to gather the needed information while Steph filled water bottles and packed some snacks. Then we hit the trail to Pratt Cabin.

The cabin was built by Pratt as a getaway in his own private oasis in the desert. He had all the supplies brought in by horse and mule to prevent needing to harvest the trees and stone in the canyon and wreck the natural beauty. It is extra-unusual as the whole cabin is made of stone including the roof!

The trail there is about 2 miles (4 round trip) and is mostly flat so we made the trip in just a couple hours although it was still pretty painful to be honest. But to sit on the back porch of the cabin and feel the breeze blowing through the trees is an experience that is hard to duplicate. We made it back to the car just as the wind really started to kick up and then began the drive back to Midland. Overall, it was one of the best getaway weekends we've had in a long time, maybe since we left Colorado and I look forward to a return trip. (Probably in the Fall).