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are these really roads?

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Offline trtlrock

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are these really roads?
« on: December 21, 2006, 06:14:57 PM »
My USGS topo software seems to show oodles of "roads" that are not listed on the Trails Illustrated topo, aren't acknowledged by BBNP, and haven't been mentioned anywhere here, as far as I can tell.

For instance, USGS shows a "road" starting at Dugout Wells, heading directly to Hannold Draw, where another road follows Big Yellow Arroyo out to Tornillo Creek, where it ends.

Also, I see 2 different parallel roads heading up into Juniper Canyon...

You can see these black lines here & there on the map photos I posted here:  http://www.bigbendchat.com/portal/forum/index.php?topic=2591.0

I'm just curious -- are these ancient & non-existent?  Am I misinterpreting something on the topo?
John & Tess

"...and I'll face each day with a smile, for the time that I've been given's such a little while..." - Arthur Lee

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Offline presidio

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Re: are these really roads?
« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2006, 06:36:19 PM »
Quote from: "trtlrock"
My USGS topo software seems to show oodles of "roads"
I'm just curious -- are these ancient & non-existent?  Am I misinterpreting
something on the topo?


Not sure what software you are using but in looking at your map slices, as opposed to digging out my paper maps, all seem to be drainages (or are in drainages). They may represent old roads as well, as in deserts sometimes the easiest place to drive is/was the drainage. If so, they are the vestiges of the historic road network from pre-park days.

That they all appear to be drainage features is supported by the way the 'road' lines all cross the contours....at the little notches pointing upstream.
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<  presidio  >
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Wendell (Garret Dillahunt): It's a mess, ain't it, sheriff?
Ed Tom Bell (Tommy Lee Jones): If it ain't, it'll do till the mess gets here.
--No Country for Old Men (2007)

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Offline WL2

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are these really roads?
« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2006, 06:56:56 PM »
I have noticed the same thing and think they are old pre-park roads.  In fact you can see many of them on Google Earth.  I have followed a couple of them using my GPS and they were indeed old roads.

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Offline TheWildWestGuy

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are these really roads?
« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2006, 08:24:32 PM »
They are old roads and you can see (some of them) in Google Earth or by looking closely at the old maps in Ross Maxwell's book on big bend.   I have always been curious about the "Abandoned Rock Crusher" at the end of the old road to Big Yellow Arroyo near Tornillo Creek.   I can see a large cleared area with what look like flattened ruins in Google Earth near the end of the old road but it looks like the easiest route to it is via McKinney Springs or Roys Peak Vista.   It's on my Life List of places to visit someday and I don't know anyone (not even OKiehiker) who has been there... TWWG

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Offline RichardM

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are these really roads?
« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2006, 09:03:40 PM »
Quote from: "TheWildWestGuy"
I have always been curious about the "Abandoned Rock Crusher" at the end of the old road to Big Yellow Arroyo near Tornillo Creek.   I can see a large cleared area with what look like flattened ruins in Google Earth near the end of the old road but it looks like the easiest route to it is via McKinney Springs or Roys Peak Vista.   It's on my Life List of places to visit someday and I don't know anyone (not even OKiehiker) who has been there... TWWG

Got coordinates?  I found Big Yellow Arroyo.

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Offline WL2

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are these really roads?
« Reply #5 on: December 21, 2006, 09:12:18 PM »
I have found references to the 'Rock Crusher' in some articles on paleontology.  Seems Maxwell used the rock crusher as a reference point in some of his writing on fossil sites.  The map that comes with his book shows the location, but the coordinates are kind of rough due to the scale.

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Offline WL2

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are these really roads?
« Reply #6 on: December 21, 2006, 09:35:53 PM »
Quote from: "TheWildWestGuy"
I can see a large cleared area with what look like flattened ruins in Google Earth near the end of the old road but it looks like the easiest route to it is via McKinney Springs or Roys Peak Vista.  


It looks like you can hike southeast from the hannold draw camp site, hit the old road and it is less than two miles to the rock crusher.  This route seems fairly flat and since it follows the old road it would be an easy hike.

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Offline trtlrock

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are these really roads?
« Reply #7 on: December 21, 2006, 09:58:26 PM »
well...this is getting quite interesting.  I'm using the Nat'l Geographic Topo software (version 4.24 -- current).  I have the Mid-Atlantic, Texas & Arizona discs.  I also have about a dozen USGS paper quads for BB.  I also have the Trails Illustrated for BB.

The only maps that show these roads are the NG maps.

This actually explains a surreal experience we had while dropping caches for a portion of the Arizona Trail north of Tucson.  We were using the topo software, in my laptop, along with a GPS unit, as we drove our Subaru Outback from cache to cache.  At the end of the day, we headed out the road to our last cache.  According to our NG Arizona topo software, it should've taken about an hour to follow this last road to a cache spot & then beyond to a small highway.  Instead, the road got fainter & fainter; we also had (by now) maneouvered beyond a few tight spots that really didn't encourage turning around & going back.  Besides, acc to the map we were over halfway there.

So...ON we went!  The road entirely disappeared, darkness fell & then turned into nighttime.  The laptop battery was getting really low...and, of course, the GPS unit had to be held out the window to see where we were.  So...for the next two hours we drove our Subaru in and out of old washes & drainages, down into sandy arroyos, through herds of cows (no lie)...in the pitch dark w/the brights on, going about 5-10 mph, stopping every 3 minutes or so to hold the GPS out the window, get a reading...and compare it to the "ROAD" we were supposedly on by looking at the laptop.  Very quickly, I might add...since the battery had about 5 cumulative minutes left before it died & would've left us with nothing but a Subaru wagon & a GPS in the middle of a herd of cows in a sandy wash in the starry nowheresville of the Arizona Trail...somewhere (theoretically, anyway) in Arizona.

We finally came to the end of the road, which turned out to be several smaller washes converging into a larger one which went under a railroad bridge and into a river.  Seriously.  BTW...it was about 11pm by now.  There was a way up from this large wash onto a feeder dirt road which in turn eventually led us back to civilization, and the Subaru made it.

We were never in any real danger.  Worst-case scenario was we slept in the car until daylight came to show us where we were, but it was incredibly freaky nonetheless.

Also, I have never been one to get very attached to cars, but I would've re-enacted that whole thing & made a commercial for Subaru -- FOR FREE!  <and it would've been a GREAT commercial too!>.  That Outback conquered the Arizona outback like it was nothing!

Anyway -- where was I.  

OK -- so...the NG BB maps show a vast array of "roads" that don't exist anymore.  The vast majority of them out of use for at least 60 years or so.  The NG Arizona maps had us driving X-C in the middle of nowhere, on some vestigial "road."  And the NG Mid-Atlantic maps show portions of the Appalachian Trail (right near our house) that are at least 10-15 years out of date, if not 20 or more.

I wonder where NG is getting all this archaic information.  It's actually pretty cool, since otherwise there appear to be few or no sources for this info, at least in the case of BBNP.  And I really can't fault the accuracy of the NG maps from a hiking p.o.v...they never failed us in some tough AZ terrain where the GPS/map combo was the ONLY way to navigate the trail.  OTOH, that was pretty much a bushwhack hike...having the AT be so out of date is just plain embarrassing.

Anyway...you'll see from my map pics that there is little or no differentiation between current roads (Paint Gap, Grapevine, etc) and these other older roads.  Generally, the black lines are the same thickness...

WL2 -- it would be pretty cool to follow some of these w/the GPS!

John
John & Tess

"...and I'll face each day with a smile, for the time that I've been given's such a little while..." - Arthur Lee

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Offline Roy

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are these really roads?
« Reply #8 on: December 22, 2006, 07:08:14 PM »
There was settlement along Tornillo Creek between McKinney Springs Draw and Black Peaks, including a wax works and a school; the school building was later relocated to Dugout Wells, and then eventually to old San Vicente(??).  The settlement had no official name, but there are maps and references to it that show several roads leading through the area, including the original Old Ore Road (the Rock Crusher Road was a spur off of this road);  and the Marathon-Boquillas Stage Road that ran through McKinney Draw and Dugout Wells.  Talk to the Rangers, or the park archeologist if you can track him down.

McKinney Springs is a good route in;  Roy's Peak isn't.  Following Tornillo Creek from the Fossil Bone Exhibit is probably a little longer but easier.

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Offline mediopelo

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are these really roads?
« Reply #9 on: December 23, 2006, 04:46:39 PM »
Quote from: "Roy"
There was settlement along Tornillo Creek between McKinney Springs Draw and Black Peaks, including a wax works and a school; the school building was later relocated to Dugout Wells, and then eventually to old San Vicente(??).  The settlement had no official name, but there are maps and references to it that show several roads leading through the area, including the original Old Ore Road (the Rock Crusher Road was a spur off of this road);  and the Marathon-Boquillas Stage Road that ran through McKinney Draw and Dugout Wells.  Talk to the Rangers, or the park archeologist if you can track him down.

McKinney Springs is a good route in;  Roy's Peak isn't.  Following Tornillo Creek from the Fossil Bone Exhibit is probably a little longer but easier.
I remember noticing a federal government license plate (Geological Survey) in the junk pile of the old Tornillo Creek settlement; the year on the plate was the early 1930's. I suppose it is still there. The former San Vicente school was transported from San Vicente, Texas on skids to Dugout Wells where it was in operation for several years more. The present San Vicente district school is the one at the park headquarters.

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Offline TexasGirl

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are these really roads?
« Reply #10 on: December 27, 2006, 02:07:02 PM »
Quote
park archeologist if you can track him down.


BIBEArch, Tom, on this board is the park archaeologist.  PM him--he responded quickly when I did so with a question.  

TG
As a matter of fact, I _do_ have an opinion on that....

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Offline BIBEARCH

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Re: are these really roads?
« Reply #11 on: January 10, 2007, 08:38:06 AM »
Quote from: "trtlrock"
My USGS topo software seems to show oodles of "roads" that are not listed on the Trails Illustrated topo, aren't acknowledged by BBNP, and haven't been mentioned anywhere here, as far as I can tell.


There ARE oodles of old roads crisscrossing the park that were closed when the NPS began considering which parts of the park to include in wilderness status. A major factor in determining wilderness suitability is expanses of land must be greater than 5,000 acres. Anything less does not qualify. So, many roads were closed to create large segments of the park that could qualify for wilderness status.

Today's "official" open roads follow in great part, original pre-park roads. For example, Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive was originally staked out by Ross Maxwell to provide views of some of the most spectacular geology in the park. Ross took advantage of the original ranch roads in his design, but deviated at locations where modern road engineering provided a safer or more scenic drive (and lower construction costs).

My first overflight of the park was enlightening because the network of old roads showed me how extensive was the evidence of human use of the landscape. Google it. It's amazing.
The opinion expressed above is my own and not that of the National Park Service or the Federal government.

"Government of the people, by the people, for the people . . . people hey, that's us!"? - Swami Beyondananda

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Offline Bobcat

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are these really roads?
« Reply #12 on: January 10, 2007, 08:51:10 AM »
Yo Alex.  Who actually ordered the Sears home which was transported on these roads?
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Offline BIBEARCH

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are these really roads?
« Reply #13 on: January 10, 2007, 10:26:31 AM »
Quote from: "Bobcat"
Yo Alex.  Who actually ordered the Sears home which was transported on these roads?


"Mother told me it was ordered from Sears Roebuck and shipped by train to Marathon, then loaded in marked pieces onto wagons and hauled north of Study Butte for assembly. A man named Rooney took it down and moved it here." (Beneath the Window: Early Ranch Life in the Big Bend Country. Patricia Wilson Clothier)

Francis Rooney
"The Rooneys owned and operated several ranches in this area, the last being in the Chisos Mountains, in what is now Big Bend National Park. The West Window in the Basin overlooks the old Rooney Ranch at Oak Springs. " (The Magnificent Marathon Basin, AnneJo P. Wedin)

Francis Rooney originally set up the house on Nine Point Ranch and then moved it to Oak Spring when he took over the ranch that later became Homer Wilson's.
The opinion expressed above is my own and not that of the National Park Service or the Federal government.

"Government of the people, by the people, for the people . . . people hey, that's us!"? - Swami Beyondananda

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Offline Bobcat

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are these really roads?
« Reply #14 on: January 10, 2007, 01:01:00 PM »
Thanks for the info, Alex.  I always thought Homer Wilson placed that order.
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