Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Notes to Self on Burnt Mesa Eagle Traps

The Monday group hiked to the Burnt Mesa Eagle Traps. There were 8 of us - the group is growing! I recently conscripted a friend to pre-hike to the Eagle Traps with me and what a good idea that was! On the pre-hike, I kept prematurely looking for what I call the bonus deer trap, which is a package deal along with the 2 eagle traps. Today, though, I knew just where to find it! (This somewhat relates to a cartoon that a hiking member sent out recently - "What do we want? Better memory! When do we want it? Want what??") But I know that by the next time I hike to the eagle traps, I will forgot again where the bonus deer trap is.

So, here are notes to jog my future memory (assuming I still have one): The important part is that the bonus deer trap is almost 2 miles into the hike - you are very close to the eagle traps at that point. The deer trap is located on a shelf just below and south of the mesa ridge. At its eastern end, the shelf is easily accessed by a short downhill on what looks almost like a wide, rocky road. Be careful not to trip on the metal stake that marks the deer trap as an archeological feature. My hiking friends call it a deer trap since it's wide and shallow. After visiting the deer trap, continue a little east of south and uphill. You will see almost a path at times, created by past visitors to the eagle traps. At some junipers, go downhill, over rocks, to the pair of narrow, deep eagle traps perched at the edge of Frijoles Canyon.

Friday, March 6, 2015

And the Winner Is...

This morning, the senior hiking group unanimously voted for the Powerline Point Trail. I managed to squeeze in a mere little adventure: Instead of going straight uphill to our usual overlook of the powerlines crossing high above the Rio Grande, we turned off onto the Ancho Rapids Trail. I took them to a small mesa that looks down on that steep, rough trail as it continues to Ancho Rapids, far below on the Rio Grande. On the way back, one of the hikers pointed out what he thought was an indigo bunting flying away. I'm no birder but the feathers of that bird were such a bright blue - beautiful!
Jemez Mountains and Los Alamos from Powerline Point Mesa

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Tromping in Pueblo Canyon

Checked out the Sewer Plant Road, starting from the bottom of Main Hill Road (NM502). Intention: see if the first 2 miles have dried out enough after our recent snows to recommend it to a senior hiking group.

About a mile and a half in, I detoured to check out a side road known as the Pueblo Canyon Trail, although it's really just another dirt road. The group never takes this but always sticks to the main road, walking only as far as the Los Alamos Wastewater Treatment Facility and turning around.  I thought this could be a chance to do something different!

It was OK at first but my shoes soon collected thick mud in the shady parts so I eliminated it as an option - not their preference. Since my shoes were already muddy, I decided I may as well continue up canyon!  To do this, I'd have to cross the treated wastewater  effluent stream. In the past, this involved finding a place narrow enough to jump over or a rock to step on and then continuing on the Pueblo Canyon Trail. It's more complicated now because part of the effluent stream has jumped downhill from its bank,  eroding a steep-sided, muddy channel in the middle of the road; so now, you're leaping over onto very treacherous footing. Seems like a setup for a mud bath with bodily injury! I managed to find a place to step across further upstream, thanks to a thoughtfully placed rock, but then had to bushwhack through dry weeds and shrubs to get back to the road. Thoughts of ticks and rattlesnakes flashed through my mind but I dismissed them - too early in the season...I hope!

I continued up canyon just to where the Pueblo Canyon Trail joins the maintenance road and looped back there, following the thankfully dry road - past the wastewater treatment facility, past the composting station, past where I had first turned off onto the Pueblo Canyon Trail and back to my car. I went further than the group would but it was a fun - a mere little adventure, even the crossing of the effluent stream and tromping through mud. The Sewer Plant Road itself was fine - nice and dry! Yesterday, I walked the Powerline Point Trail and it is basically dried out as well - we'll see which the group picks!

Tent Rock Rooted in Pueblo Canyon