Part 6: El Paso and the Hueco Tanks


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The Trip

We spent the night in a hotel in El Paso because it was too hot to (willingly) camp in the un-air conditioned camper. We had a nice thunderstorm during dinner, but it did little to reduce the overall temperature. Next day, we departed late due to posting photos. We ate nearby at the Cracker Barrel restaurant and saw some interesting equipment in the parking lot. Then we headed to Hueco Tanks to spend the night and see petroglyphs. Or at least, that was the plan. The photos below are what we saw.

The boys from Fort Bliss had equipment at the restaurant on display as part of some thing that they were supporting. So, naturally, since all guys want to know "who's is bigger", I decided to find out. The Oshkosh on the left is an 10X10 vehicle used for container transport. 4 steering wheels in the front, 6 in the back.

Above, you can see the cargo lifting assembly. The Hummer was chained to the cargo pad for demonstration purposes. I mean, it is not like they break.

This is an 8X8 wrecker-recovery vehicle. Later, the operator would put out the outriggers and raise the crane.

The soldiers loved the mog. One was even from the San Diego area. When we finished showing off, we headed up to the El Paso Tramway for a view of the city.

The view from the top of Ranger Peak was very nice. The air quality to the south was bad, but otherwise nice. Cuidad Juarez is the sister city of El Paso and is very large as we will see in several photos below.

Juarez in the distance.

Looking to the northeast, past Ft. Bliss. I am sure that Bliss is anything but blissful in the summer. Visible above is the tramway and a large aggregate mine on the flanks of the mountain.

To the east, you can see the El Paso regional airport. In the hills beyond, lie the Hueco Tanks, our next destination.

There was quite a large petroleum processing and storage facility close to the center of town.

As you can see above, the air quality degrades as you look farther into Juarez to the south.

Significant folding and warping of the mountains was visible from the peak.

To the southwest, the now-abandoned ASARCO mill is visible. I am not sure what they will do with the existing structures, if anything. It is quite an eyesore. After we got off the hill, we headed east toward Hueco Tanks. We suffered significant traffic in El Paso as it was rush hour. So, it took much longer to get to the tanks than we planned. And it was hot enough that the A/C in the mog was unable to keep up, baking us like biscuits in an oven.

There had been plenty of rain in the area making it muggy and buggy. This ocotillo is very happy and is sporting a full set of leaves.

We came to spend the night and see the local petroglyphs. But, the campground host had quit so it was closed. And, the good petroglyphs, as we found out, were only visible on guided tours. And since it was summer, there were no tours. But, the ranger gave us a map and sent us on our way. Above, you can see the nice green grass that is the result of the recent rain.

Hueco Tanks is really a catchments for water. It has provided a reliable water source for tens of thousands of years. which is why the indians lived in the area.

Kathleen heads up into the hills to attempt to locate the petroglyphs.

The view from the top was nice.

The many depressions provide water storage for the local animals. And insects. Did I mention the insects?. Before we were done at Hueco, we had degraded into walking serum banks to feed these insects. This was a full service place - mosquitoes, gnats, flies and other blood sucking, buzzing annoying bugs.

We discovered after a substantial hike that the close petroglyphs had been covered with "recent" graffiti.

At least back then, they had some class. Graffiti today is lame and done with spray paint. Due to the bugs and the heat, we had little patience for a longer walk. Plus, since we could not camp here, the next closest place on our route was over a hundred miles distant, so we decided to bag it and leave.

The day was uncomfortably hot, but we survived. We were both a bit cranky by day's end, but we survived. When we finished at Hueco, we headed toward the Guadalupe Mountains and stayed in the park's camp ground. Tomorrow, the objective would be to visit Carlsbad Caverns.

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Photos and Text Copyright Bill Caid 2008, all rights reserved.
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