Friday, August 10, 2007

Ride n' Hike to Mount Ellen

I can see the Henry Mountains from my front yard but in the three years I'd lived here I hadn't made my way over there. They seem so remote and barren and most people that write about them use the word 'inaccessible'. Nonetheless there are several interesting facts about them, geologically they are a mammoform laccolith which is a feature where volcanoes have pushed lava up under them but not broken through the overlying sedimentary layers. The Henry Mountains were in fact the first range to be called a laccolith and are mentioned in every basic university geology book. They are also home to the largest free roaming herd of buffalo in the US, they were introduced in the mid 20th century and now number around 200. They range over a huge area on the mountain range and the surrounding deserts and have no restrictions, unfortunately they were nowhere to be seen on this day. The mountains are named after the secretary of the Smithsonian who helped Powell finance his expeditions in this area, they were the last major mountains to be named in the US (Powell actually called them The Unknown Mountains on his first expedition). The weather forecast called for a clear day so it was time to go an explore The Unknown Mountains. I decided to take the CRF because I had no idea what the roads up the mountain were like or what condition they would be in after all the recent rain, as it turned out the roads were good and the CRF definitely overkill. I also wanted to get to the highest point in the range which would involve a healthy hike between an altitude of 10,500 feet and 11,500 feet.

The Henry Mountains - Mount Ellen Peak is the obvious conical peak in the centre.
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That's where I'm hiking to...
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The full story is here
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