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