Rock climbing in the canyon

Socorro Travel Blog

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Canyon sign

I was going to try to fly stand by and get home today, but I thought I'd check out the San Lorenzo Canyon first.  Maybe kill an hour or so before I head to Albuquerque.  My directions were vague: a few miles NW of Socorro, exit at Lemitar, take the western frontage road about 5 miles, head west on gravel road.  Hmmm.  Well, I'll give it a shot. 

I follow the frontage road, but don't see any signs for this canyon.  Around 5 miles up, the paved road turns right sharply and goes under the interstate.  I decide to take the gravel road to the left.  There are many roads and river beds crossing this road, but I stick to the main road (or what I think it is) because I don't want to get lost out there.

Angular unconformity
  The road was fun - lots of washouts and wash boards.  Something you wouldn't want to drive in a small car.  Or after a heavy rain.  After a ways, I caught up to a pickup truck going slowly.  They stopped to let me pass and I asked them if this was the road to the canyon.  They confirmed that it was and that the road branches ahead and to take the right branch.  Yipee!

Fortunately there was actually a sign at the fork in the road, so off I went.  More windy road and washouts and dips and bumps.  How fun!  Its almost like off-roading, only on a road instead.  I pass a neat outcrop - an angular unconformity!  A little farther up the road I finally enter the canyon.  How awesome!  The road winds through the base of the canyon around huge outcroppings of rocks.

First glimpse of the canyon
  The sandy road went quite a ways into the canyon before it dead-ended at a big rock wall.  I jumped out of the car - I had 15 minutes to enjoy the canyon before I had to turn around and head to the airport.  I scrambled up an outcrop and looked down at my car.  Oh, how fun this is!  I could do this all day!  But down I went, sadly, and went back out of the canyon.

But I can't leave after only climbing one rock!  So I jumped out and went to climb another.  At first I just looked up and thought, there's no way.  I'll just rest here on this broken piece of rock and hope the rocks don't fall on me.  Besides, I need to leave soon.  And then I thought, wait - its sunny and 50 degrees.  Its going to be cold and snowy back home.

I like rocks
  What's the rush to get home?  Besides, I didn't any sort of tan at all in the week I've been out here!  I decided to stay!  So up the rock I went.

I layed out on a flat area up top, thinking I could work on my tan.  Well, 50 degrees is a little cool to be in a t-shirt, especially with the wind!  Brr!  And I was lying on a conglomerate - a rock made up of gravel - and the little rocks were poking me.  I sat up and looked down at my car, so far away.  Then I looked behind me - oh, I can go higher!  And then I found this nice little area on a sandstone (much more comfortable) in a little protected nook out of the wind.  The sun just beat down on me and the occasional breeze kept me cool.  And that is when I decided that this was my own little piece of heaven.

Relaxing on a rock
  Have you seen the Nature Valley commercials?  This is my hidden valley.

It was so peaceful.  And beautiful.  I could sit here all day - almost.  I worked on my tan and every now and then some people would walk down below me.  Occasionally they would notice me and wave.  I don't think they realized how their voices travel because I could hear almost everything they were saying.  I could even hear them coming before I could see them.  It was fun to listen to though.  One guy attempted to climb up and couldn't find a good route, saying, "you could almost climb up here".  Then the woman he was with pointed out that there was a person way up there.  (hee hee hee - I found a way up).  So I sat and relaxed and watched the birds and the bees and the people.

Relaxing up top
  Ah, life is good.

But all good things must come to an end.  In this case, a family brought their dirt bike out and ruined my peace.  Besides, I think my arms are burning.  I gathered up my things and climbed around the back side of my rock.  I went up and down a little side canyon and up another set of rocks looking back on my rock.  I found a couple of other places that had potential to rival my spot.  They were a little more secluded from the road, but in the wind more.  I probably could have sat out there all day, but I didn't bring any food (remember I thought I was only staying an hour?) and I had to call my parents to tell them not to pick me up at the airport because I wouldn't be there.  And of course, there was no cell phone reception in the canyon.  I decided to head out.  I had absolutely no idea what time it was - it turned out my 1 hour visit became a 5 hour adventure! 

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Canyon sign
Canyon sign
Angular unconformity
Angular unconformity
First glimpse of the canyon
First glimpse of the canyon
I like rocks
I like rocks
Relaxing on a rock
Relaxing on a rock
Relaxing up top
Relaxing up top
Hello little car
Hello little car
My secret hideout (in shadow in mi…
My secret hideout (in shadow in m…
Its windy up here!
Its windy up here!
Lots of fun rocks to climb
Lots of fun rocks to climb
Climbing up the canyon
Climbing up the canyon
Road through canyon
Road through canyon
The road to the canyon
The road to the canyon
Socorro
photo by: aerynn