Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Valles Caldera National Preserve: X Marks As Far As You're Welcome

Spouse and I walked Valle Grande Trail today.  It's one of only two free trails offered by the Valles Caldera National Preserve out of miles and miles of trails and logging roads, of their total 89,000 acres of publicly owned land.
View toward Redondo/Redondito from endpoint of Valle Grande Trail.  The X reminds you that if you didn't bring your wallet, you're not welcome to go any further - go back home!

The Valles Caldera National Preserve recently released a Draft Environmental Impact Statement on Public Access and Use.  You can comment on it at their website or at the two public meetings planned.

Quemazon Trail Regrowth

On Monday, hiked up Quemazon Trail to its intersection with Pipeline Road.  The trailhead sign says it's 6 miles roundtrip and 1,400' elevation change.  I didn't realize until I'd started uphill that it was a bit windy.  Glad no trees crashed down!  A little past the Knapp Trail turnoff, saw elk track, both large and small.  Wonder if it was a mama and baby? Didn't actually see any animals, though, four-legged or otherwise.
There's a part of the trail, maybe 1 1/2 to 2 miles uphill, where there are acres of aspens that have grown since the 2000 Cerro Grande fire.  It should be even more beautiful when the colors change.
The penstemons are waving in the wind.  The red ones are Scarlet Bugler. The purple penstemons look a lot like the Rocky Mountain penstemons growing in our backyard.
More regrowth since 2000.  A cavalcade of young ponderosas, planted by volunteers after the Cerro Grande fire, march up a hillside along the trail.
View toward Pajarito Mountain.  The non-green trees got scorched in last summer's Las Conchas wildfire.  The Las Conchas burn area, like Cerro Grande's burn scar, which the Quemazon Trail is part of, will recover.