Outings reports: May 2016-January 2017

Painted Cave

Saturday, May 7
From leader Larry Hughes:
The Painted Cave did not disappoint. The cave itself is much larger than one would expect from seeing photos, and the petroglyphs are numerous, varied and very vivid. All of us had the same first impression — WOW! As a side note, from the Dome trailhead, the round trip distance is about 13.5 miles. (Larry also advised to watch for falling trees on Dome Road and hike, especially on windy days.)


Turkey Springs Trail Maintenance

On May 16, three volunteers joined Ranger Kevin Stillman for a five day backpack to begin the Turkey Springs Trail reclamation effort in Bandelier National Monument. The group camped at Turkey Springs and started work on the trail from the park boundary. Work included removal of vegetation overgrowth, lopping, establishing drains, and tread reconstruction. Wednesday was an off-day and Kevin led a hike to Puebloan ruins, petroglyphs, artifact tools and archeological sites. Approximately 2/3 of a mile of trail was completed. The group worked hard but the results are very rewarding (see before/after photo). Turkey Springs is a very nice area and the spring flows quite nicely. Further projects are planned for the remainder of the Turkey Springs Trail continuing to the intersection with the Boundary Peak Trail.

Irene Owsley and Kathleen Burch. Photos by Tom ChymborIn

Memorial Day weekend backpack trip to Pecos Wilderness

From leader Larry Hughes:The trio known as “L cubed” (Lolina, Lily and Larry), enjoyed the Memorial Day weekend in the Pecos Wilderness. The weather was beautiful, the rivers vigorous, the views spectacular, and the early wildflowers exquisite. Our first camp was along a stream just before the “no camp zone” near Pecos Falls, and our second was at Mora Flats, along the Rio Valdez.

Jicarita Peak

Saturday, July 9
From leader Larry Hughes: Four of us were on the trail by 7:45 headed to Jicarita Peak. The weather was exceptional and the sky was “New Mexico Blue,” with not a cloud to be seen, as we reached the top just after noon. We shared the summit with several bighorn sheep. On the return, we saw a group of wild goats along the Santa Barbara Divide.

Santa Barbara

Sunday (July 10?)
From leader Daisy Levine:It was a perfect day to escape the heat in Santa Fe and hike the Santa Barbara West Fork. The log crossing is gone, but with water shoes and poles we waded across the knee-deep water.

Weiminuche Wilderness Backpack

July 8-11
From leader Larry Hughes: As might be expected, the Continental Divide Trail in the Weminuche Wilderness could have many different names. You might call it the magnificent wildflower trail, or the spectacular panoramic vista trail or the great wildlife (chipmunk, elk, mule deer, marmot, squirrel, beaver and even mosquitoes and horse flies!) trail. Our four day backpacking trip provided examples of all of these and more. The trip was strenuous but, I think, all the participants (even Lily), agree it was well worth the effort.

One-night backpack to Kit Carson Peak (14,194′)

Saturday, July 23
From Leader Mark Dunham: Well, we did it, despite some well-warned mosquito hordes lower down, and a marathon day yesterday up and down to Kit Carson, then back out 6200 feet down, including 7 miles with our packs on. See the pictures, we’re all glad we did this, but the mountain is getting quite dangerous due to loose and moving rock from all the climbers. But where else can you find this much vertical to sober you? Coming over the Prow on Kit Carson Avenue, the vista down across the knife ridges of Columbia Point, with Crestone looming in the back like some outstretched bat, is a view I’ll not forget.

El Cielo

Sunday, July 31
From leader Alan Shapiro: Seven hikers tried my exploratory route up to El Cielo Mountain north of Las Vegas. Turned out to cover about 9 miles with 2750 ft. of elevation change.

The official National Forest trail 218 is really just mostly abandoned road heading towards the old Harvey ranch. We turned off to climb the peak way before the ranch. Our route passed through sections of private land. Some parcels were posted, though not full legal postings. Others had unreadable old signs. We walked around the first locked gate we came to via a signed horse bypass. The next gates were climbed over or under.

There were no signs of anyone having used the roads for possibly decades. We did a short section of off-trail on our final ascent. Quickly we were hurried and chased down by storm activity. We did get some rain, but it wasn’t a downpour and eventually tapered off and stopped for our final hour of hiking back to the start.

Eldorado Preserve

Sunday, November 13
From leader Dag Ryen: A fine crew, newbies and veterans, youngsters and old-timers, all savored the companionship of the trail and the glory of Indian summer in northern New Mexico on Sunday. Just a hint of autumn in the air, and a sun playing hide-and-seek with high clouds made the five miles around the Eldorado Preserve refreshing and invigorating. Lunch at the East Line Camp and a quick peek at some unusual pictographs made a perfect finish to a leisurely day.

Here’s most of the lucky dozen. Photo by Lajla.

Window Rock Area

Saturday, December 3
From leader Aku: A very enthusiastic, experienced group of hikers toured the badlands near Medanales, starting in cold weather and then enjoying a perfect day and a scenic, off-trail loop through badlands that rival any scenery in New Mexico for beauty.

Nambé Lake

Saturday, January 14
From Leader Larry Hughes: Despite a weather forecast predicting a snowy day, a group of seven snowshoers were treated to a relatively mild and mostly sunny day for our outing to Nambe Lake. We started up the Winsor about 8:30, with Microspikes, and switched to snowshoes near the junction to Nambe Lake. We arrived at the lake around 11:00 and were back at the cars by 1:30.

L to R: John, Bojan, Helen, Alan, Lolina and Olivia at Nambe Lake


Saturday, March 4
Tobin was joined by Stefan and Robert from Santa Fe for a picture perfect, calm day described as “fresh, fresh air, contrasting deep white and blue, clean, quiet, and restful exercise, too.”

La Vega

Saturday, March 4
From leader Larry Hughes: All in all, it was a good day for snowshoeing — relatively warm, sunny, with very little wind. We even had some trail breaking, once we got off the Winsor Trail. By late morning, the snow was starting to melt and at times it felt that with each step we were lifting several hundred pounds of snow, which was sticking to our snowshoes, but perhaps I exaggerate a bit! The round trip took about five hours, including our lunch break at La Vega.

Outings reports: May 2016-January 2017
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