Doggin’ El Paso, Texas: 14 Cool Things To See While You Hike With Your Dog
By Doug Gelbert
“If your dog is fat,” the old saying goes, “you aren’t getting enough exercise.” But walking the dog need not be just about a little exercise. Here are 14 cool things you can see in greater El Paso, Texas while you hike with your dog.
Part of the hike through Box Canyon borders Las Cruces City Airport where you can observe vintage bi-planes and two-seaters droning past.
The lined paths and grassy areas of Chamizal National Memorial are a delight for dog walkers, as is Our Heritage, the mural painted on the outside wall of the Chamizal. It is a fine representative of Chicano/Hispanic art, and is one of the better preserved murals in the city. It depicts the historical blending of cultures along the United States and Mexico border.
Caballo Lake is a great spot to scan the skies for Bald and Golden eagles while your dog enjoys a rare desert doggie dip.
One of the most spectacular beaches in America is hundreds of miles from any ocean or lake. The white gypsum sand dunes at White Sands National Monument are the largest in the world. Visit at night in the summer when sand is cooler to the paw and the dunes are hauntingly beautiful.
The movement to build a dam on the Rio Grande started as early as 1896 but the plan was fraught with difficulty, not the least of which was the international implication of diverting water from Mexico. A water rights treaty was worked out on both sides of the border in 1906 and the Elephant Butte Dam, now a state park near Truth or Consequences, was completed a decade later. The concrete dam is one of the earliest and most important linchpins in the Bureau of Reclamation’s overall plan for water in the West. Not as ornate, but a few years older, is the Leasburg Dam.
Camp Furlong, in the border town of Columbus, New Mexico, was the staging ground for General John “Black Jack” Pershing and his 10,000-man Punitive Expedition to hunt down Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa in 1916. Pershing invaded 400 miles intoMexico but never caught Villa. Several buildings remain from Camp Furlong in Pancho Villa State Park: a rec hall, camp headquarters and the judge advocate’s office among them.
The Robdelo Mountains contain an abundance of well-preserved vertebrate and invertebrate tracks from the Early Permian age 286 million years ago. Marine fossils are common on Crazy Cat Mountain trails.
Concordia Cemetery contains 65,000 of them and you are welcome to tour this historic ground with your dog. The most famous gravesite, of Texas gunslinger John Wesley Hardin, wasn’t even marked until 1965 – 70 years after his death.
The entire town of Lincoln, New Mexico is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, a survivor of the bloody Lincoln County Wars. You and the dog can trace the events that turned an ordinary, unimpressive 17-year old William Bonney into the immortal “Billy the Kid.”
The only tin mines on the North American continent can be found in Franklin Mountain State Park. You and the dog will stand and peer into these historic treasure troves. More dangerous are the abandoned mines on the east side of Bishop Cap.
Mt. Cristo Rey is the spot where two countries and three states come together and the summit is graced with the largest limestone cross in America, carved painstakingly for a year on the top of the mountain.
Rockhound State Park encourages you to collect and keep samples of rock you discover on your canine hikes here. This includes an abundance of beautiful red Jasper, a form of fine-grained quartz. You may be lucky enough to find white Opal, Agate, quartz crystals or thunder-eggs, which may be cut open to reveal spectacular minerals and formations inside. There is a fifteen-pound limit for rock fishermen here.
A hike to the top of Tortugas Mountain in Las Cruces will bring you and the dog to a 61-centimeter telescope reflector in use for the last 25 years, creating one of the largest planetary archives available in the U.S. It is currently being used to monitor storm systems on Jupiter.
Hunts Hole and Kilbourne Hole are “maar volcanoes.” They formed as a result of volcanic explosions, resulting from hot magma coming into contact with ground water or shallow surface water. This contact changed the surface water into steam, causing an explosion that blew volcanic glass and other material out of the ground. The black rock you see as you hike around the rim or descend into the crater is lava rock called Afton basalt.
I am the author of over 20 books, including 8 on hiking with your dog, including the widely praised The Canine Hiker’s Bible. As publisher of Cruden Bay Books, we produce the innovative A Bark In The Park series of canine hiking books found at http://www.hikewithyourdog.com During the warm months I lead canine hikes as tour leader for hikewithyourdog.com tours, leading packs of dogs and humans on day and overnight trips. My lead dog is Katie, a German Shepherd-Border Collie mix, who has hiked in all of the Lower 48 states and is on a quest to swim in all the great waters of North America – http://web.mac.com/crudbay/iWeb/Katies%20Blog/Katies%20Quest.html I am currently building a hikewithyourdog.com tours trailer to use on our expeditions and its progress can be viewed at http://web.mac.com/crudbay/iWeb/Teardrop%20Trailer/Building%20A%20Tour%20Trailer.html
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