Subscribe!Get all the best of On Walkabout by subscribing.

On Walkabout On: Anthony’s Nose In the Franklin Mountains

This past fall I attempted to climb the last major peak I haven’t summitted yet in the Franklin Mountains just outside of El Paso, Texas.  The mountain is called Anthony’s Nose and is the second highest peak in the mountain range at 6,927 feet:

anthony's nose

Here is an image of the east side of Anthony’s Nose after a recent dusting of snow this winter:

Readers may remember my prior hikes in the Franklin’s up it other two prominent peaks:

Back in the fall I didn’t have any snow to worry about, but rather the heat to contend with.  Because of the heat that is why I began my hike to the summit of the peak early in the morning.  The trail to the peak begins at the Tom Mays picnic area that is part of the Franklin Mountains State Park fee area on the west side of the mountain range:

2009_0815MiscPics0001

Just a short walk from the parking lot is this park bench for those that don’t want to wander to far into the desert wilderness:

2009_0815MiscPics0003

From the bench it is possible to see a wide variety of Chihuahuan Desert plant life that encompasses the Franklin Mountains State Park such as this large yucca tree:

2009_0815MiscPics0006

This plant known as a ocotillo or Jacob’s Staff looks like cactus but it is actually an entirely different plant species:

2009_0815MiscPics0007

During the wet seasons in the Chihuahuan Desert the thorns on this plant actually sprout green leaves:

2009_0815MiscPics0008

During the spring the ocotillos will actually sprout red flowers on them.   The ocotillos may not be cactus, but there is still plenty of real cactus to see:

2009_0815MiscPics0011

2009_0815MiscPics0024

Anyway I continued north up the trail that runs parallel to the base of the Franklin Mountains towards the distant Anthony’s Nose that can be seen in the distance below:

2009_0815MiscPics0009

Along the way there was a number of dry river beds known as arroyos in the southwest that I had to cross:

2009_0815MiscPics0010

From there I continued hiking to the north towards the distant Anthony’s Nose:

2009_0815MiscPics0012

I took a quick break to drink some water and admire the desert scenery that I had crossed looking towards the south:

2009_0815MiscPics0013

Looking to the west I could see the green scar across the desert that is the Rio Grande River Valley out in the distance:

2009_0815MiscPics0014

Looking far to the north I could also make out the spectacular peaks of the Organ Mountains:

2009_0815MiscPics0016

I continued on with my hike along the base of the mountains and eventually came upon a fence line:

2009_0815MiscPics0026

I have no idea what this fence line represents but I think it may just be an old fence that remains from a now discontinued cattle ranch:

2009_0815MiscPics0027

As I continued down the trail

2009_0815MiscPics0048
After about two hours of walking I finally came the trail that leads to the base of Anthony’s Nose:

2009_0815MiscPics0028

This trail leads into a valley with steep rocky walls:

2009_0815MiscPics0031

The trail eventually turns into an arroyo that becomes increasingly difficult to climb up due to the large boulders and thick brush:

2009_0815MiscPics0034

2009_0815MiscPics0040

Due to the difficulty of hiking up the arroyo I decided to try and go cross country up the steep rocky sides of the mountain:

2009_0815MiscPics0036

As I ascended up the mountain the summit of Anthony’s Nose was a constant presence in front of me:

2009_0815MiscPics0035

The more I ascended up the mountain the better and better the views towards the west became:

2009_0815MiscPics0039

My ascent up the mountain even cross country was increasingly difficult because of the thick brush I had to work my way through:

2009_0815MiscPics0041

Due to the heat and difficulty of the hike I went through all the water I had brought with me and I wasn’t yet to the top of the mountain.  I had to turn around knowing that I had about a two hour hike to get back to the picnic area where I was parked.  I would have to bring much more water with me the next time I try to climb this peak as well as hike during a cooler time period than the early fall.  So I turned around and headed back down the mountain.  On the way down I noticed what look a old mine of some kind:

2009_0815MiscPics0042

It looks like a coal seam that was being mined at one time from this location:

2009_0815MiscPics0044

Going down the mountain was much quicker than going up and soon enough Anthony’s Nose was well behind me:

2009_0815MiscPics0045

It front of me lied the long walk back to the Tom Mays picnic area and I had run out of water:

2009_0815MiscPics0047

I wasn’t worried though because I have walked much further than this without water and about a little over an hour later I was back at my truck and on my way home.  The summitting of Anthony’s Nose will have to wait to probably spring time when the weather is cooler and I will definitely bring more water for this difficult hike.

10 Comments

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *