I was in Las Cruces to meet with the people promoting a plan to preserve over 300,000 acres of Dona Ana County as open space and rangeland. The proposal started with ranchers but has now gained the support of some 600 businesses, organizations and respected professionals, like the past presidents of New Mexico State University. I came away impressed with the ranchers behind this effort and the integrity of their proposal.
The next morning I got up early to climb the Organ Needle. But federal employees sleep later than I and the gate to the trailhead at the Dripping Springs visitor center was locked before dawn. So I turned south on Baylor Canyon road and drove to the trailhead for Baylor Canyon Pass.
Every year trail runners race this trail to Aguirre Springs on the back side of the Organs, facing White Sands Missile Range. It's a good trail, but I had a fifty mile an hour wind for company up in the pass. It spun me around and the cold wind pierced my clothes and froze my face.
But I had the Organ Mountains to myself this day, beautiful nonetheless. The fierce wind was just part of the experience.
It is 6 miles each way to Aguirre Spring. This hike makes a good introduction to the Organ Mountains.