Monthly Archives: January 2012
Sunday, January 29, 2012 – Mountains north of my house
Starting altitude: 6798 / Highest point reached: 7745 / Altitude change of 947 feet
What a wonderful day – I love to explore new places and be where I’ve never been before! Marianne took April and I (and Cisco too!), up to the north of our houses. We had a STEEP climb up through a trail onto a dirt road. Marianne gave us our options of possibly going left or right, we decided on left – but not until after we quickly explored to the right, where there is a mine that apparently is being actively worked. It wasn’t far and we snooped around and took a photo and off we went to the left – west.
This hike was certainly my hardest to date; there were several steep challenges! I am absolutely amazed at the differences in variety of the 37 hikes I’ve done so far – all within a few miles of home! From pine forest to desert landscape, riparian restoration sight, mines, rolling hills, snow-capped mountains, the list goes on and on! I’ve loved this area of the United States for about 12 years now. I feel deeply connected to it more than ever – really appreciating the rugged beauty of it.
5.01 miles / 3:00 hours
37 down / 63 to go
Frank was up for a hike, so we drove to the Pinos Altos Fire Department and walked north into the pine forest from there. Since he’s still a tenderfoot, we wanted to stay on roads and Bear Mountain Rd. is a good, nearby option. We quickly ran into someone Frank knows from Search and Rescue, Steve and his wife Sue (plus 2 white dogs). They told us of a trail that heads off from the road and is not as steep as the main road. They went ahead and we checked out a nearby side trail – to let them get a few minutes ahead of us.
This turned out to be a great opportunity for Frank to practice his tracking skills. We ‘followed’ them along the trail and through a lovely pine forest and past a few creeks for the dogs. Afterward we meandered through some of the side streets of Pinos Altos. It’s a neat little community with old, cool and/or funky sights. http://www.pinosaltos.org/
A Mexican lunch finished an enjoyable morning out with Team Ferrara.
3.47 miles / 2:10 hours
36 down / 64 to go
Saddle Rock Canyon Road – Riparian Restoration Area
According to Google: Ri·par·i·an – Of or relating to wetlands adjacent to rivers and streams
According to Linda: Riparian – Of or relating to fun in the desert, around water, ice and mud.
Steve from my office has unofficially started training for his challenge of hiking the Continental Divide Trail with his brother Dave. They were heading out to Saddlerock Canyon Road and invited me to join them. He mentioned a riparian area that was out there, and if it’s wet and in the desert, most people (and dogs) want to know about it.
We drove up the dirt road that was my hike a few back (see Friday, January 13, 2012 – Hike #33), and parked where the road was blocked, and frankly turned into a sandy arroyo. We traversed through an icy path where the sun didn’t hit very often and meandered up granite rock and up a wash until it opened up and we walked up through hills and among trees. Gradually the hills fell away and we walked the trail, getting glimpses of a variety of black fur flashing past us – 3 black dogs on a hike will cause that.
As we walked along, we hit a variety of areas that had water running on the ground. Not enough to call a stream. We checked out how it started oozing from the ground and then became a little braided stream. Cody, Rocky and Chaco had plenty of water to drink.
Steve showed us an array of other hiking options – this is going to be a fun area to explore. Eventually, we turned left and climbed the last hill of the day. Another left turn and we were headed back towards the car. We passed through two gates and saw a sign: Saddle Rock Riparian Restoration Area. Hmmm. Curiosity rises. We wander around a tree or two and see the natural entrance to a canyon. Immediately, the rock walls climbed above us. There were boulders piled precariously, as you will see in the photos. Water and sand and beautiful pink and grey speckled granite (I started redecorating my kitchen, but don’t tell my husband). We enjoyed a break among the water and rocks. The dogs enjoyed exploring the area.
Regrettably, we had to move on – this is the place to bring a picnic to. Note to self, be sure to return to this one!
I tried to look up this Restoration project up on the internet, but couldn’t find anything specific.
Another sign told us that this restoration project was paid for by the Habitat Stamp Purchase. So I looked that up too. Apparently, this is a stamp that a hunter or trapper would buy when they buy a license. The proceeds go towards maintaining these types of area.
3.54 miles / 2.15 hours
35 down / 65 to go
Tuesday, January 17, 2012 – Burro Mountains – FR 4246
Yesterday it rained almost all day here so I was expecting a muddy, wet mess out there today. I decided to explore the Red Rock Rd. area since I enjoyed nearby Saddle Rock Canyon Rd. so much. I was generally familiar with the Oak Grove Subdivision from my Realtor days and I know a few people out this way. After traversing some pot-holed roads, I found a good spot with Forest access and off Cody and I went.
It wasn’t so muddy; the trail was hard, wet sand. I call this hike a Dog’s Triathlon since Cody did three impressive sprints while chasing first a rabbit, then birds and lastly deer. As these hikes go on, I see her backside getting smaller and smaller – I wish the same thing was happening to my backside!
Wandering along a trail, I soon came to a dirt road that was well used. I could track a few ATV’s, another person’s footsteps, and lots and lots of cattle prints. I was very surprised that we didn’t run into any cattle – the prints seemed very recent to me, considering the rain yesterday. At length I saw a marker – FR 4246. I enjoyed many long range views toward the Tyrone Mines and north towards the Mogollons. It was a hilly area with a gradual upward slope; I calculated I went up about 300 feet in altitude. After walking about 45 minutes, I noticed the terrain changing somewhat. Pine trees were intermingled with the scrub oak and more rock outcroppings sprung up. A few roads and trails branched off the road I was on; I look forward to exploring more.
Back at the car, I decided to check out further down the road. Since I saw ATV tracks, I wondered how they got onto my road. The entrances I had seen were walk-thru options only. Down the road, it curved and started down a hill. A sign for FR 819 (on the FS map) and several other trail heads. And now I have some options for future hikes!
Note: Today I hit the 100 mile mark!
4.7 miles / 2.25 hours
34 down / 66 to go
Where to go? Where to go? Shelley and I couldn’t decide where we should hike. I check out my map over my morning oatmeal and realize that I haven’t gone over to the west side of the Burro Mountains on this challenge. At first I thought we’d try something off of Red Rock Rd, and then I saw Saddlerock Canyon Rd. Boy, how long has it been since I’ve been out there? And so we head to the west. After passing a few hacienda-style homes, we hit the forest boundary and park. Cisco is fired up and ready to go!
This area is obviously used by ranchers for cattle; we see and smell plenty of evidence. We see a side trail that heads up through the hills. Off we go to check it out. Cool rock outcropping are everywhere – the photographs do not do this area justice. After a few hundred yards, we realize we are not going far; it’s a box canyon; a beautiful one. A few fire rings and shell casings show its popularity with the locals. At first we attempt to climb up one side and go over the edge. But me, Chicken Little Ferrara, talks Shelley into an easier trail. Hey, Frank is just recovering from a broken foot on a similar attempt; I have no desire to take my turn. We wrestle past a bunch of Cats Claw and head back up the main trail/road.
Shelley has lived in Wyoming for many years and has told me many great stories of her outdoor activities up there. Now she spends her winters in New Mexico and her summers in Wyoming. On our hike today, she describes an interesting observation of the difference in the outdoors here and there. She sees that the wilderness here is ‘harsher’. In Wyoming, you have shade and water and soft grasses. In New Mexico, you have the drying sun, sharp cactus, cats claw, loose rocks and firm grasses and seeds that get stuck in your boots and socks. It’s so true!
We walk up the canyon and enjoy pointing out interesting rock outcroppings to each other. Finally, we need a break and look for a few boulders to sit on. I find a grove of trees that looks inviting but once under there, we see that there’s a lot of weeds and no where good to sit down. Shelley suggests we keep looking. We move a few feet more and find another little grove with a huge boulder wall to sit under. As we are getting settled, Shelley sees a poster on a tree a little off. It says something along the lines of “Who has lived here before? Please do not damage the Pictographs so that others may enjoy them too.” Our necks whiplash up the rock face looking for pictographs and we point out several to each other. NOW we have a place for lunch! A restaurant with good art on the wall is the way to enjoy lunch! We see that rock climbers have been using this face for climbing; we can see their pitons (sp?) up the wall. I laugh out loud realizing that if we stayed in the first location, just a few feet away, we would have completely missed out on this!
I just noticed that this has been my longest hike – by 0.27 miles.
5.27 miles / 3.25 hours
Helen, Elsa, Cody and I drove out Highway 152 to Georgetown Rd. There are plenty of forest roads out there to explore. This is a nice, hilly area on a cloudy, chilly day. We were able to watch the Santa Rita mines in the distance a good part of the way. We saw interesting rock formations on the trail. We walked over smooth, flatter rock/boulders that had other rocks stuck in them. A geologist would be able to explain how these formations got here. Tonight I’m going to my first Rockhound meeting, so I may get a few clues then. I am going to bring some of the rocks I collected to see if anyone can tell me what I’ve got.
I was very pleased that Helen noticed that I am getting in better shape, stopping less, less out of breathe. I, too, noticed that a few hikes back. And my leg muscles are tight and strong. I am ready to do a few longer hikes – 4-6 hours or more. In a few weeks I’ll put that plan into action.
4.32 miles / 2.25 hours
32 down / 68 to go
Gretchen from Coldwell Banker Enchantment Realty is getting ready for a hike this spring with her kids so she wanted to get in shape. I wanted to check out a road I heard about that has lots of trails off of it – Sheep Corral Canyon Rd off of Highway 15 in the Gila National Forest. Off we went.
The first thing I noticed when I picked Gretchen up at her house was that the temperature was 52. It should be a great day. Then, as we went up into the mountains, the temperature fell to 37. Perhaps I should have brought another layer. When we reached Sheep Corral Canyon Rd (by the way, the forest service map does NOT show all the twists and turns of Hwy 15!) it was well iced over so we parked near the highway and walked up, slipping and sliding the whole way. I teased Gretchen that if she fell, I would be sure to get a good photo of it. Well the joke was on me when I landed on my butt towards the end of the trek. No injuries to report – except to the ego!
The first part of the walk was up hill and beautiful. There are lots of evergreens and the snow that is on the ground made it pretty. It leveled off for a bit and then started down a hill. I saw several marked trails to explore at a later date. It’s a largely shaded trail which explains the snow and ice. At only one spot did I get a hint of a long range view. Unfortunately, we saw no animals or people.
All in all, an enjoyable hike with pleasant company.
2.09 miles / 2.5 hours
31 down / 69 to go
I was in the middle of vacuuming when suddenly, I had the urge to stop. I said to Frank, “either wine at Diane’s tonight or a hike now”. A spontaneous hike broke out to the joy of 2 dogs (sorry Diane!).
We walked the dirt road of Dos Griegos Phase I and quickly noted that since it is not developed, the road is gradually becoming a path. There’s a lot of grass and cat claws growing there now. Cody even ended up with a bleeding tongue; hey girl you shouldn’t run through a tussle of cat claw with your tongue hanging out! Much of this part of the hike was spent watching two black and white blurs fly back and forth across the path – the dogs were fired up today!
I’m so glad to live in the hills so that we can hike right in our neighborhood. It makes for a fun Friday afternoon. We crossed over the road back towards our house and then descended into the next arroyo, to the east of our house. There we found water from the past snows, a bunch of bear scat, and a good work-out as we climbed up the arroyo. We made it to the top of our street, circled around and walked the east ridge south towards our house. This is one we have done many times before; but not during this challenge. With Frank joining me more often, you’ll be seeing more neighborhood hikes; he’s a homebody that one! Luckily, we have plenty of options. The arroyo on the other side of the house, a variety of climbs to the east, and Mary Ann promises to show me the area to the north (this time of year we can see a road cut up there!).
2.0 miles / 2.0 hours
30 down / 70 to go
Today was the first day that Frank was able to join me on my hiking challenge. He broke his foot on a hike we did in August and is finally mended enough to go (He broke the foot sliding down a steep slope in the Mimbres!). Since we walked 4.52 miles, I’d say he did great! It pleases me to see him getting active and feeling better; he’s had a HELL of time over the past 14 months! We stayed on dirt roads so that he didn’t have to strain that foot over loose rock and such.
We walked up the Forest Service Road from Fort Bayard Historical Sight for about 1.7 miles. It’s a nice stretch of rolling hills with mountains in the background. Good ranch land with some streams and trees about. We checked out the ruins of the old Fort Bayard; an old foundation, some concrete debris, a mysterious lone chimney in the distance, and of course, the ever looming water tower which is visible from most places in the area. The road is named Forest Service Nursery Road because there are fenced in areas along the road with trees growing in them. A research project for sure!
When we got back to the car, we decided to check out the cemetery and pay our respects to our fallen soldiers. I enjoyed taking photographs and of course got yet another one of the “Kneeling Nun”.
Hey! I just realized that 11 different people have joined me on my hikes; this is wonderful!
4.52 miles / 2.0 hours
29 down / 71 to go