Hiking a Certain Part of the Franklin Mountains Could Kill You
The Franklin Mountains can be treacherous and it's not just animals or falls that can take you out.
Franklin Mountains State Park is a wonderful place, loaded with nice hiking and biking trails as well as beautiful plants and many species of animals
On the Northeast face of the mountain, the Earth itself can become your enemy and, just so you know, there's also a slight chance you may blow up. Seriously.
The Northeast area, which, thankfully, is now a full-on, federally protected National Park is a wonderful place to spend a day.
The western slope has a ton of trails and some really stunning views.
Be careful though, on both sides of the mountain, as there are some dangers.
Some of the plants have spines, spikes and pointy ends that can really do a number on you if you're not careful.
The animals are pretty skittish and usually won't bother you but angry deer, desperate coyotes or unseen black widow spiders can absolutely ruin your weekend.
I don't think I need to explain the risks associated with these guys.
Climbing the mountain is a bit risky too.
The surface rock is fragile and unsteady which makes for a "slippery slope" from which many have fallen.
Others get caught on the mountain after dark when they can't see well enough to return and rescuers sometimes can't see well enough to find them.
The strangest, and probably the least likely, way the mountain can get you has nothing to do with the mountain itself but with things that happened to it almost 60 years ago.
Way back when, the Northeast face, aka Castner Range, was a gunnery range. The military used it for target practice and lobbed missiles and other heavy ordinance at it frim 1926 - 1966.
Not all of that ordinance exploded and, over the last 50 years or so, has been quietly covered over by Mother Nature. It's still there though. Still explosive and, pretty much, making that area one big mine field.
That's why roads and trails that were once accessible to vehicles are now blocked, fencing is up in other spots and warning signs are everywhere pointing out this unique danger.
There's no telling how much unexploded deadly-ness is left or where, exactly, it is. So, most of the Northeast slope is strictly for your viewing pleasure only. Keep off.
If you want to take the family to see the poppies, stay on the road. If you want to hike, stay on the west side and stick to the marked trails.
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