Monthly Archives: March 2014
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Susan and Tom Lynch
My first impression when I met Susan and Tom Lynch was that here are two happy, in love people. They live south of town where they grow much of their own vegetables, raise chickens and enjoy retirement. They are creative people who hand painted their walking sticks and knitted their own warm, wool hats. When not busy in the garden, you might find them playing pool at the Senior Center or hiking on Boston Hill with their dog, Gus.
They also hike often in the Burro Mountains south of Silver City and since it’s one of the areas I want to learn more about, I was eager to get in touch with them through mutual friends. When I asked about one of their favorite trails, they offered this option if I agreed to keep the trail’s namesake a mystery and encourage hikers to get out and discover what it is for themselves.
Intrigued enough to go for this hike yet? Read on………
Describe one of your favorite hikes that you’d like to share with the readers:
Name: Flying Saucer Trail, Burro Mountains
Distance: 2+ miles round trip
Difficulty: easy to moderate
Directions: Starting at the corner of Broadway and Highway 90 (a.k.a. Hudson St.), take Highway 90 south 11.3 miles to Tyrone Thompson Road (if you pass MM 30, you passed it). Make right on to Tyrone Thompson Road and drive 7.6 miles. On the left you will see a Forest Road sign for Forest Road 4090C. Pull into parking area on left.
Hike Description: Take Forest Road 4090C for 1 mile to see the Flying Saucer. Please note that at the .66 mile mark, there is a road to the left labeled FR4248Y. Stay to the right for this hike and shortly pass by a green wildlife water tank. From there the road veers to the left and uphill. At the .96 mark there is a bifurcation (okay, I’m showing off the new word Tom taught me, it’s a fork in the road). Stay to the right here also. Soon afterwards you will see the “Flying Saucer” on your right.
The trail is a shaded, mildly sloping walk on a dirt road through pine trees and other low brush. You will enjoy glimpses of long range views and interesting rock formations along the way.
Notes: If you would like to take a longer hike, there are several side trails to explore, or you can continue past the ‘Saucer” and hike further up the hill.
What piece of equipment can you not hike without? Tom explains, “Our 2 year old dog, a Coonhound / Catahoula mix named ‘Gus’ always wears a “Sport Dog” brand GPS Tracking System when we are out in the woods. It consists of a handheld wireless device that allows us to see where and how far he is from us, and a collar unit that is waterproof. It has a range of up to 7 miles, has rechargeable batteries and a variety of stimulation levels and types for training. We like it for our piece of mind. If he gets too far away, we can call him back verbally or with a tone transmitted through the system. We can see if he is stationary which would indicate he may be in trouble and we can get to him to help, like the time he got tangled up in some fencing.”
I did some investigation into this product and find that there are numerous brands, options and price points for these. It can be as simple as a beeper system (price around $100.) to a deluxe system with beacon lights, expansion packages for multiple dogs, waypoint storage capabilities and more for $400-500. There are smart phone apps also available. These units are used for training a dog, tracking a dog and hunting with a dog.
Want to know what the Flying Saucer actually is? Come to: https://100hikesinayear.wordpress.com/ on May 1, 2014 to find out. It will also be printed in the May 2014 “Desert Exposure” at the end of my 100 Hikes article.
The reveal of what the “Flying Saucer” from my April 2014 column really is: Russell Ward of the Gila National Forest explains, “The fiberglass dome is actually a water collection and disbursement device called a ‘Wildlife Guzzler’ [picturd below left]. Many were installed in the late 1980s and early 1990s in the Gila National Forest, mostly in remote areas that are extremely dry. Rain or snow hits the fiberglass top and runs down the sides and collects in a tank under the dome. Water is then disbursed to the trough on the side where animals may drink.”
Now don’t be jealous, fellow trekkers, but this lucky hiker got to spend a sunny winter day with Marc Levesque hiking a stellar trail, hearing stories about adventures in Maine, New Hampshire and Antarctica, and listening to firsthand accounts of local area search and rescue missions.
Marc and his wife, Susan Porter, have been exploring the trails in this area since they moved here in 2005, and have been avid hikers for over 40 years, mostly in the mountains of northern New England. Marc was a member of the Appalachian Mountain Club, where he was involved in winter ascents, rock climbing, leading hikes and directing the AMC Mountain Leadership School in 1979-1980. Here in Silver City, he is a battalion chief with the Pinos Altos Volunteer Fire Rescue, teaches “Fundamentals of Search and Rescue” at WNMU’s Outdoor Program, and is president of Grant County Search and Rescue. Was I a little intimidated hiking with the president of Search and Rescue? Sure was. Did I have a ball hiking with him? You bet I did!
He suggested we hike a newly created trail that he described as “a gem.”
Name: Table Mountain Trail, City of Rocks State Park
Distance: 2.0-6.0 miles
Difficulty: 70% easy, 20% medium, 10% difficult
Directions: Starting from the intersection of 32nd Street By-Pass and Hwy. 180 in Silver City, drive 24.8 miles southeast on Hwy. 180 until you reach Hwy. 61. Turn left onto Hwy. 61 and drive 3.0 miles to the entrance of City of Rocks State Park.
Hike description: I suggest you stop into the Visitors’ Center and check out the history and geology of this wonderful park. Be sure to chat with park volunteers, who are extremely knowledgeable, helpful and pleasant. They have a map of the park that will assist you. Here is more info about the park for those of you who want to do some homework before you go: www.emnrd.state.nm.us/SPD/cityofrocksstatepark.html.
For a shorter hike, park in the northeast corner of the park near the Pegasus Campground. Walk 0.22 miles on the trail that heads east. Turn right (south) onto Hydra Trail and then turn left (east) onto the trail that takes you up to Table Top Mountain.
For a longer hike, park at the Visitors’ Center Parking lot and take the Hydra Walking Trail for 1.0 mile. Turn right (east) onto the trail that heads up to Table Top Mountain.
When you go through the gate, the trail starts the ascent uphill toward the first bench of the mountain. It gets steeper still until you finally reach the top. Look down and see the 557 feet you just climbed. Now walk around the mesa top, have fun boulder jumping, and enjoy the scenery. Return the way you came.
Notes: This is a newer trail that volunteer Tim Davis has been working on for the past few years. We met Tim on the trail; perhaps you will, too! City of Rocks State Park requires an entrance fee of $5 per car. Gates are open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Why not bring a lunch and spend the day? Enjoy this trail in the morning, check out the rocks in the early afternoon, and then head over to Faywood Hot Springs for a soak to end the day just right! Or bring camping gear and explore for several days.
Tell us about a particularly memorable hiking experience:
“I was 34 years old and had just returned from a contract job at South Pole Station in Antarctica, where we had set a temperature record during the year I was there of minus-117 degrees,” says Levesque. “I had lost 22 pounds during that time and had virtually no body fat. Upon returning, I decided to get out and enjoy the White Mountains of New Hampshire on a solo day hike in 20-degree February weather. My body had not adjusted to the loss of body fat, and when I reached a spot just below the summit, I realized I was deeply shivering. I knew this was the first stage of hypothermia and probably should have turned back. But sometimes one’s testosterone level exceeds one’s intelligence quotient, so I just stopped, ate something, put on all the clothes I had with me, and continued on towards the summit.
“It all turned out okay, but between the clouds, the wind, the deep snow and the temperature, I could have easily found myself in serious trouble.” The rescuer in him comes out as he adds, “It’s really not a great idea to hike alone in such winter conditions.”
In closing, Levesque has a final comment: “Always let someone know where you’re going on a hike. It will make it much easier for us to find you if you get lost or injured.”
For more information about Grant County Search and Rescue, go to: gcsar-nm.org.
This is a repost of an article that originally appeared in Desert Exposure.
Check them out at: http://www.desertexposure.com/100hikes/