Caldera Rim Trip Report Hilton Gate Wander

North Rim

Date: August 21, 2007 Purpose: Investigate the actual rim across the northwest corner of the Baca Location. USGS Topographic Map: Cerro del Grant, Valle San Antonio Participants: Dorothy Hoard, Yvonne Delamater, Ed Jacobson, Ken Kutac Equipment: Garmin Global Positioning System Model GPS 12; digital camera Olympus Camedia C-3000; notebooks. Methodology: I obtained a permit to enter Valles Caldera National Preserve (VCNP), agreeing to give two weeks notice for proposed field trips, to write a final report, and keep a time list for their volunteer log. We then walk the rim as closely as possible looking for points of interest. Conclusions: The northwest corner of the Valles Caldera National Preserve is a high plateau above the Valle San Antonio. The rim itself is a low, heavily wooded line of hills running northeast/southwest across a gentlysloping plain. In most places, it is difficult to discern the actual ridge line. The entire area was heavily logged in the past. Logging roads lace the area. In summary, we were interested in finding viewpoints along the rim. The area is heavily wooded despite the logging and views were always restricted. We previously felt that the view from Hilton Gate is not particularly good. We found only one viewpoint on a grassy slope above the Hilton Road that was better. In general, the rim does not offer much over the Hilton Road itself. We did not complete the rim between Knoll 9880 north of Hilton Cabin to the pass at Hilton Head where we stopped on July 9, 2007. Trip Report: Introduction: The north rim of the Valles Caldera west of Indios Pass consists of massive Tschicoma Formation dacite-latite flows. Small lumpy hills cover the landscape. Many, such as Cerro Pelon and Cerro del Grant, were volcanic vents. This pattern, so prominent on the north rim, is modulated at the northwest corner of the VCNP, which is more of a high plain with rolling hillocks. It slopes moderately from the true rim south down to the rim of the Valle San Antonio. Any change in bedrock geology is hidden by the thick vegetation. The hillocks are heavily forested and had been heavily logged.

We parked often at the gravel pit at the intersection of FRs 99 and 144.

Description: We parked at the gravel pit at the intersection of FR144 and FR99 and proceeded westward on interconnecting logging roads to the rim. Following the rim on more logging roads, we came upon several views to the south, the best we found in this area. Following the rim down the gentle slope, we came to a meadow where we encountered the VCNP boundary fence at Hilton Gate. At the gate is a benchmark for the 1966 Dunigan/Forest Service sale. We crawled under the fence to follow the rim southwestward. The view from Hilton Gate is not outstanding, but offers more than logging roads and spruce forest.

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Logging roads on the forest show signs of vehicle traffic.

North Rim

Logging roads traverse the broad caldera rim on the forest service land above Hilton Gate.

Hilton Gate.

Logging roads of all descriptions lace the forest at the northwest corner of the caldera. Benchmark at Hilton Gate 2

North Rim

We followed the Hilton Road westward but proceeded west where the road turned south. In retrospect, this was not a good route because the rim more closely followed the Hilton Road. We followed logging roads, some quite wide, tacking west and southward. I realized I had taken off my pack to crawl under the fence and not put it back on. Ed and Ken went back to find it, but we had cut across dense forest and they could not retrace our route. In the meantime, I went over to the true rim, tripped and fell on my face, slamming my glasses against my nose. The $300 glasses survived well, but my face was quite bloodied. The friends fixed me up with water, cleaning rag, first aid cream, and bandage (and lunch) and we proceeded on the walk. The rim is so subtle, with slight ridges running both north and south around the headwaters of the Rio Cebolla. We blundered around using GPS coordinates to determine where to go to stay on the rim. In this manner we spent a fair amount of time crossing dense timber between roads. The only good viewpoint that we found was on a grassy slope just above the Hilton Road.

Hilton Road passes logging debris atop the knoll on the rim.

We pass another sawmill site on our return trip.

On the return trip we tacked northwest back toward the VNCP fence line. The logging roads were not contiguous in our chosen direction so we had to cross through the dense timber, some with significant deadfall. We even sloshed through a bog of the Rio Cebolla headwaters. Unfortunately, we had to return to Hilton Gate to pick up my pack; I had hoped to see more of the forest roads north of the fence.

The best view we found to the south over to San Antonio Mountain. Hilton Road lies just below the nearest trees.

I hoped to find the passes between several small lumps, but only found one. At last we came to the small 9880-foot knoll north of Hilton Cabin. Hilton Road runs through the grassy meadow over this knoll. This had been a sawmill site; logging debris is still stacked about. Here we turned back, leaving approximately 1.5 miles of rim unexplored. The Hilton Road closely parallels this remaining rim.

Despite our vicissitudes, we all agree that these are informative and pleasant hikes. Informant: Dorothy Hoard. Time - 8:00 to 7:00 total; 9:45 to 5:15 hiking.

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North Rim

Wandering around the Hilton rim, August 21, 2007. Rim = red; Fr144 = purple; bright green = our route.

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VCR N3 Hilton Gate.pdf

Equipment: Garmin Global Positioning System Model GPS 12; digital camera Olympus Camedia C-3000;. notebooks. Methodology: I obtained a permit to enter ...

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