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On Walkabout On: North Franklin Mountain, Texas – Part 2

Prior Posting: North Franklin Mountain – Part 1
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Narrative (Continued)

The trail on Texas’ North Franklin Mountain hit a fork where I either had the option of going left to a old tin mine or going to the right which would take me to the summit of the mountain.  I headed right because my goal was to hike to the top of the mountain today, but I did take a look down the mountain where the tin mine was and decided that on a future hike that I would hike down there and take a look at the mine some day:

Picture from North Franklin Mountain, Texas

The trail was soon ascending up the mountain which gave me even better views of the surrounding Franklin Mountains:

Picture from North Franklin Mountain, Texas

The trail continued up the mountain in a series of it seemed endless switchbacks:

Picture from North Franklin Mountain, Texas

There was some parts of the trail that were actually pretty primitive due to rain washing out the trail:

Picture from North Franklin Mountain, Texas

This trail at one time was navigable with a four wheel drive vehicle, but those days are long gone considering the condition of the trail in some areas as pictured above.  Apparently someone still tried to drive a vehicle up the road as evident by this four wheel drive vehicle that rolled down the side of the mountain:

Picture from North Franklin Mountain, Texas

The views as I ascended up the mountain got better and better and even the Organ Mountains in New Mexico off in the distance began to come into view:

Picture from North Franklin Mountain, Texas

Something else that came into view was this prominent peak along the trail that was capped by some kind of shrine:

Picture from North Franklin Mountain, Texas

I will have to hike over to this peak as well some day in order to see what this is that on top of the peak:

Picture from North Franklin Mountain, Texas

As I walked up the steep switchbacks there really wasn’t much to see besides cactus:

Picture from North Franklin Mountain, Texas

Hiking in the desert of Texas is no where near as scenic as hiking through the Australian Outback, but it is still scenic in its own way.  Finally after about an hour of walking up the switchbacks I came to the mountain’s summit ridgeline:

Picture from North Franklin Mountain, Texas

From this ridgeline I had only a short walk to reach the summit of the 7,192 feet (2,192 meters) North Franklin Mountain.  The first thing that a hiker to the top of North Franklin Mountain sees is the weather station that sits on the summit:

Picture from North Franklin Mountain, Texas

Besides the weather station the only other thing on the summit of the mountain is cactus:

Picture from North Franklin Mountain, Texas

Picture from North Franklin Mountain, Texas

So with nothing else to look at on the summit that is why it is best just to sit back and take in the views.  Here is the incredible view of northeast El Paso:

Picture from North Franklin Mountain, Texas

Here is the view looking to the south towards the 6,791 feet (2,069 meter) South Franklin Mountain:

Picture from North Franklin Mountain, Texas

Also towards the south I had a view Mt. Cristo Del Rey, which is quite possibly one of the most dangerous hikes in America:

Picture from North Franklin Mountain, Texas

Here is a view of the west side of El Paso:

Picture from North Franklin Mountain, Texas

If you look closely in the above picture you can see the swathe of green trees in the desert.  This is in fact the mighty Rio Grande River that flows through El Paso and eventually becomes the international border between the US and Mexico.  In this picture you can better see the Rio Grande River:

Picture from North Franklin Mountain, Texas

From the summit I could also look far into Mexico and noticed this large peak in the distance that looked pretty impressive:

Picture from North Franklin Mountain, Texas

It looked like a mountain I would love to hike up, but since it is in Mexico and in particular near Juarez, it would probably be a suicide hike if I tried.  Some of the other things I could see from the summit of the mountain was the Ft. Bliss Army base in El Paso:

Picture from North Franklin Mountain, Texas

To the northeast out in the distance I could just make out the Sacramento Mountains on this day since it was a bit overcast, but a good portion of the Tularosa Basin I could make out:

Picture from North Franklin Mountain, Texas

I also had an even better view of the nearby Organ Mountains outside of Las Cruces, New Mexico:

Picture from North Franklin Mountain, Texas

I could also see from the summit the near entirety of Trans-Mountain Road that connects east and west El Paso.  Here is the road as it crosses in between North & South Franklin Mountains and heads to the west:

Picture from North Franklin Mountain, Texas

Here is Trans-Mountain Road as it heads to the east and traverses the Ft. Bliss military reservation land out in the desert:

Picture from North Franklin Mountain, Texas

Conclusion

It took me about two hours and thirty minutes to get to the top of North Franklin Mountain and I ultimately spent about an hour on the summit before heading back down the mountain.  It took me about an hour to walk down the mountain thus making my hike about a four and a half hour outing.  This hike was longer than hiking up South Franklin Mountain, but even though the North peak is higher the views are about the same from each mountain.  Either hike though is a great day out so if you are thinking about hiking in the Franklin Mountains make sure to enjoy hiking up both mountains.

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