Inventory the Pinks

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Pinks Inventory with HGRP
Location Pink Dragon, Pink Pallette
Author William Tucker
Date Saturday, October 23, 2010

On Saturday, October 23, 2010, a small team of enthusiastic HGRP participants were assigned the task to record basic inventory information about Pink Dragon and Pink Pallette. Tammy and I were assigned to lead and Keiffer, Stephanie and Garrett joined us for the trip.

We left New Mexico Camp in our Xterra at 10:30 AM and had no trouble crawling along to the Pink parking area. Since Tammy and I were the only ones of the group who had ever been to any of the Pinks, I gave the step log to the newbies and we followed their direction with a few hints from me when the trail seemed to disappear as it is wont to do. The wind was gusty (I estimate up to 30 MPH) and the temperature was cool but not uncomfortable with the wind at our backs most of the time and blocked almost completely while in the arroyo.

When we arrived at the top of the arroyo where we were to leave any semblance of a trail, I decided to try something new. Instead of trying to negotiate through the bottom of the rough and overgrown arroyo, I instructed the team to try to work down the right side staying up out of the bottom as much as possible until the last moment. On past trips, we had tried the bottom and the left side and both proved to be difficult. The right side was no better, just different. It was less overgrown; but, there were numerous small cliffs to negotiate.

We had little trouble finding the cave with Garrett leading the way. Total hiking time on the way in was 1 hour 50 minutes. We paused in the entrance to eat some lunch and begin the inventory. Tammy brought a digital thermometer/hygrometer which she used to record temperature and humidity at various locations through the cave. Others spent time recording any signs of wildlife; trail conditions; overall cave conditions, etc. We had been provided with several detailed inventory forms to complete which we dutifully and diligently completed.

After spending several hours recording detailed information in the cave, we set out to make a quick trip to Pink Pallette. It was getting late so I decided that we only had time for a short visit and one shot at finding it. Upon exiting the cave, it was obvious that the wind had picked up considerably. It was now difficult to talk to someone even standing nearby without raising your voice to be heard above the wind.

We worked our way around the ledge to a point where even the goats would have turned back. After spending a few minutes looking around without success, I called it and had everyone work their way to the top of the ridge for the trip back to camp. We did not want to risk running out of daylight.

Everyone made it to the top of the ridge with effort but few difficulties except Garrett. He had decided to find his own route and ran into a cliff which forced him to double back and try again. The rest of us waited for a few anxious moments until we saw him working his way up just below us.

On top, the wind was gusting hard (I estimate gusts occasionally of up to 50 MPH) making walking difficult and communicating except for short distances, impossible. We made it back to the car exhausted and drove back to camp arriving there at 6:30 PM. All of the completed inventory forms, signed permits and signed safety forms were placed in an envelope and given to Jennifer Foote when she returned to camp.

Though we ran out of time and were unable to find Pallette, we were successful at completing all of the inventory information on Dragon. Thanks to Tammy, Keiffer, Stephanie and Garrett for a great trip and thanks to HGRP and the USFS.