Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Rattlesnake Tails

Er...rattlesnake tales that people told me:

Someone's great-great grandmother died of a rattlesnake bite early in the last century. She wore tall boots that she kept outdoors.  One day when she was putting on her boots, she got bit by a baby rattller hiding inside.  She died of gangrene.

This one may be apocryphal:  On a ranch in Texas, post holes were dug to put up a fence but the project was delayed and the holes filled up with wind blown debris.  Much later, a cowboy was clearing the holes and got bit on the thumb tip by a rattlesnake.  He promptly cut his snakebitten thumb tip off with an ax.  (My remark was "Now why didn't I think of that??")  Moral is:  always carry an ax in rattlesnake country.

Man saw a large rattlesnake that had been run over - it even had tire marks on its back but was still alive.  He picked the snake up from behind its head, planning to swiftly move it off the road but the snake somehow twisted around and bit him on the finger.

Woman saw on the floor what she thought was a toy.  She picked it up but it turned out to be a rattlesnake that bit her.

Several near misses when hikers were "visiting a bush", preparing to "drop their drawers", then heard the rattler's warning and saw it coiled, uncomfortably close, in a striking position.

Another Texas rattlesnake story:  After a large rattler was killed by chopping off its head, a man picked up the head and the rattlesnake promptly sank its fangs into his finger. Dead men may tell no tales but dead rattlesnakes can still bite you bad!

Family walked back to their campsite in the dark.  Women stepped over what looked like a log but, instead, was a huge rattlesnake that bit her leg.  Her leg became enormously swollen.

Woman golfing at golf course got bit badly on leg by rattlesnake that popped out of one of the golf course holes.

Man was walking with his kids when they saw a rattlesnake.  He wanted to appear brave so he marched over to the rattler, to "deal with it".  As he neared and saw the coiled snake and heard the buzzing rattle, his heart began beating rapidly with fear.  He said "Let's go kids!" and they made a wise and speedy retreat!

Monday, August 20, 2012

FR181: What a Mess

The forest service will eventually repair FR181 (aka American Spring Road) - they are awaiting additional funding to fix this and other forest roads damaged by the Las Conchas wildfire.  In the meantime, FR181 is a "rough road to travel" where it crosses Water Canyon.

FR181 at Water Canyon.  The non-functioning metal culvert is much more exposed than in June and the upstream log structure gets more undercut with each storm.

Looking downstream.  The road has become amazingly rubble-filled since June because all the runoff goes directly over the road and into Water Canyon.  The upstream log structure has been breached and no longer holds back debris.

Looking downstream into Water Canyon.  The gaping hole above the culvert was once the edge of the road.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Yet Another Photo of Redondo Peak

This taken on a group hike up Rabbit Ridge Road.  I must be getting old because I was content to eat my lunch at the first felsenmeer while many went further in search of more views.  The cross country ski trail to this first felsenmeer is obliterated, courtesy of the Las Conchas wildfire, but still very walkable because the burnt trees have not yet fallen. These burnt aspens will not provide fall color but the walk and view are worth it anyway. Redondo Peak is on the Valles Caldera National Preserve.  The Rabbit Ridge Road hike is also but is a free hike, one of only two, accessed from the Coyote Call Trailhead on NM4.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Deer and Hazard Tree

Walked Camp May Road Trail today, from the Ocean to FR2998.  It's surprisingly trash-free which is pleasing!  Saw another walker near Paint Ball Road.  The trail tread is holding up reasonably well, i.e. not too rutted and easy to follow, even through the weedy parts.

 Deer:  "You looking at me?" 

Hazard tree marked with red flagging this past May in preparation for Jemez Mountain Trail Runs 50K race on Camp May Road Trail.  Several hazard trees were marked thusly along the trail.  Why did they mark them only to leave them standing months later? Maybe so when it falls on you, the flagging confirms it was a hazard tree!

The if-it-falls-on-you-they'll-name-the-trail-after-you tree!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Civic Palaces of White Rock, NM

On Friday, walked the paved path along newly redone NM4 in White Rock.

White Rock Visitor Center grand opening will be September 28 at 11:30 am. Hopefully, the new location won't be as prone to "runaway"cars as the old visitor center on Rover!  

Fire Station No. 3 - purportedly the largest fire station west of the Mississippi River.

Once a Tree

This past Thursday, walked up Pajarito Mountain Ski Area's Zero Road East to the south side of the mountain.  Took a few photos of hillsides of darn yellow flowers (i.e., I was too lazy to identify them).  I don't know how it does it but Pajarito Mountain always lifts my spirits. Maybe it's the heavy breathing!  I kept telling myself "POWER UP!!" on the uphills.

From the number of big trailers in the lower parking lot, the filming of the Lone Ranger (with Johnny Depp as Tonto) may still be going on but they were on the west side of the mountain while I was on the east.

Charcoal totem was once a tree.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Big Muddy Rio Grande

The Rio Grande  is a big muddy river today.  A cloud blocks the sun over Buckman Mesa, transforming it into a "Black Mesa".

Saturday, August 4, 2012

FR181 Severe Erosion Damage at Water Canyon

Since my last visit on June 5 to this section of FR181, there has been a lot more erosion damage to FR181/American Spring Road where it crosses Water Canyon.  The upstream log structure, which presumably slows water runoff, has been undercut, causing water to be diverted underneath, thus creating an incised channel.  I don't know the ways of the Santa Fe National Forest but it seems that, until they are ready to permanently repair the road, some temporary repair should be done before this section of FR181 is completely destroyed.

FR181 at Water Canyon. Each time I visit, FR181 is more undercut by storm runoff.

The undercut upstream log structure.

Close-up of log structure showing that debris now flows both over and under.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Clouds Building and Rain Actually Falls

This, taken before noon, is from the North Perimeter Trail, near the Mitchell Trail.  We've had days and days of cloud buildup without any rain.  When I finished my walk without seeing a drop, I assumed these clouds were as unproductive as all the rest.  Boy, was I wrong! This afternoon, we've already had two wonderful rains in the Eastern Area.  Real rains where lots of water pours down unlike our proverbial, southwestern "10" rains" - a raindrop every 10"!  The first had thunder but not frighteningly overhead.  The second was a heavy cloudburst with a smidgen of hail.  I thought our summer monsoon had disappeared but maybe there's still hope!