On Monday, Memorial Day, a couple of my buddies and I drove to Bishop’s Cap halfway between El Paso, TX and Las Cruces New Mexico for some bouldering, shooting guns, and off-roading in my Toyota Tacoma. Bishop’s Cap is a dominant rock feature that can be seen from I-10 to the East when headed North from El Paso.
After driving down the unimproved dirt road for about 20 minutes, we decided to start off our day by scrambling up to the top of the Cap to get a good view of the valley below. We had plans to go to Wet & Wild Water Park for the KLAQ Balloon Festival after bouldering, so we decided to save some time and not summit the cap and scrambled back down. On our way down we stopped to grab the crash pad. We were standing for a second and I started to take a step and noticed a baby rattlesnake, about 8 inches long, right underneath me. I smoothly, but quickly moved away from the rattlesnake as it proceeded to slither away until it got to the base of rock we were standing near. The snake turned around, faced us, and coiled into strike pose. You could tell the rattler had strong self-defense instincts even for being so young. We let the snake be and as we walked away we discussed how Bishop’s Cap had a reputation for having tons of rattlers, and that several people had been bitten there including a couple of friends of ours.
We started cruising around from boulder to boulder checking out the different problems. It had been weeks since I climbed or touched rock, because I had been dealing with finalizing work, my life in Austin, and preparation for traveling, so I did not have the most confidence. It had been much longer since my buddies had climbed also, so we were all pretty rusty. I was able to top out on a couple of problems despite getting burned pretty quickly. Overall, I felt good and was surprised that I had retained my finger strength after not climbing for so long.
One of the best things about Bishop’s Cap is that it’s free roam BLM public land where you are allowed to ride ATVs, shoot guns, have camp fires, etc. You know all the fun stuff you can’t get away with in a state or national park. So, I thought it would make a great place to test out my new .45 Smith & Wesson pistol. We proceeded to fire about a clip worth of rounds each at some beer cans we had emptied a little earlier.
After shooting, we decided it was time to head to Wet & Wild Water Park, a classic water park north of El Paso where the Balloon Fest was being held. By the time we got there all of the water rides had been shut down for the evening and the festival’s musical acts had started up. We hung out for a few, and eventually decided we should drive back to EP. We drove our buddy home to the East side and on the way we easily came to a mutual decision that Chico’s Tacos, was on the menu for dinner. Chico's was delcious as always.
Check out the photo I posted on Instagram.