About my blog

Welcome to my trail running site. I enjoy being on the trail where I can take in nature and clear my mind. I prefer running in the mountains, but anywhere rural will do. I have completed four 100 mile trail races and many other ultramarathons. I'm a member of Team Red, White and Blue. "Enriching the lives of America's veterans."

Monday, January 25, 2010

West, East, West Traverse

This morning I’m on my way to the tin mines in Franklin Mountains State Park. I would start my run from the park, but it doesn’t open until 8:00 am and I like to get an early start. It’s below freezing this morning and my fingers, ears, and face feel numb. I can’t wait for the sun to come up over the mountains to warm my bones.

I start running from a trail head on the west side of the mountains and run through the desert to a highway. On the way, I run what I call the “rollercoaster”; a straight dirt road with very steep climbs and descents. I reach the highway and then start a very long ascent. The next 5 miles will have me climbing to an altitude of 6000 feet. I’m on my way to Mundy’s gap where I will then descend to the east side of the mountain.

Soon I reach the park and can see the snow covered Organ Mountains of New Mexico. This is a strange sight since we don’t get much snow in this area. It looks as if I’m in Mongolia instead of W. Texas. After taking a few photos I continue on to the Mundy’s Gap trailhead and start a very steep rocky climb. Part of the “trail” is a pile of loose softball to bowling ball sized rocks which make the footing a bit tricky to say the least.

After much effort I reach Mundy’s and take a few pictures. Then I continue down toward the mines. The road is steep, switchbacking down the mountain, but the footing is good. I’m able to pick up my speed and get into a groove for a while. Finally I reach the mines which are just ruins now since they were disbanded in 1915. This is the site of the only tin mining operation in the US. Ore was only mined for about six years and the operation was unsuccessful. However, rumors abound of the Lost Padre Mine hidden in the Franklins. It is believed that Juan de Oñate left silver, gold, jewels, and Aztec codices buried in a mine shaft. I will be looking for that on my next running adventure.

I enjoy the mines, scenery, and views of N. Franklin Peak and then continue on down the mountain. I see the N. East neighborhoods of El Paso, TX in the distance and then turn around to make the climb back up across the mountain range. After getting across the mountain I take a short detour to W. Cottonwood spring, a small seep near some cave like rocks. Several large cottonwood trees are growing here, as they can only grow along the river or near springs in the desert. I enjoy the spring and have a quick snack and then down I go.

Soon I realize that something doesn’t look right. Have I been on this trail before? Is this the way I came? No, I have somehow strayed from my route. I’ve only gone about a quarter mile out of my way, though, and can see the main trail below. I back track and get on the right path which leads me out of the park and onto the highway. At least it’s downhill from here except for the “rollercoaster”. After a six hour adventure I finally make it back to my car for a total of 20 miles. See you on the trail.

Ruins from mining operation

Switchbacks to Mundy's Gap


  1. Very nice pictures. Makes me want to get back out to the Texas/New Mexico area for a run.

  2. Thanks John, we have some great trails here in the Franklins. We need a 50K ultra out here. I will see what I can do.