Now that the Forest Service trails are open again, it’s time to talk about cows. Mostly cows are gentle creatures, however at least one report of injuries from an attacking cow occurred in July. A nervous cow with a calf knocked two hikers off of a steep, narrow trail. The cow may have been doubly apprehensive because of unleashed dogs nearby. If you find cows on the trail, don’t attempt to shoo them away. Take a detour or wait until they’ve cleared the trail. The calves are getting older so cows should become less apprehensive as the summer goes on, but still, take care.
The recent rains opened up the national forests to hikers again, but also caused erosion damage. If you find a spot which needs help from trained trail volunteers, be sure to post observations on this website. The TAOSF always needs volunteers, so contact us via the website.
Due to several days of higher humidity and rain, the Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF) will lift the closure order and stage 2 fire restrictions on Monday, July 9 at 8:00 a.m. for the first time since entering full forest closure on June 1.
“We noticed conditions starting to improve two weeks ago when moisture levels increased due to higher humidity,” said James Melonas, forest supervisor. “The recent rain is the beginning of what we can expect to be a good monsoon season. The Carson and Cibola National Forests are closely monitoring local conditions to determine the safe timing for the lifting of any closures and restrictions.”
Due to high fire potential, all trails in the Santa Fe National Forest (details) and some trails in adjacent Santa Fe County Open Space (details) and are closed until further notice. If you want to read an interesting article on the USFS decision to close the forest click here.
All city trails and most county trails remain open. Actual closing of County trails as announced by the County has been piecemeal. Since there is not much awareness among the general public around which particular trails are managed by the City, County, or national forest, particularly in and around the Dale Ball Trails system, SFCT created a map showing the restrictions as announced.
we headed over to work on a trail in Santa Fe Estates that continues the alignment of the Arbolitos Trail to connect to the top of the paved Canada Rincon Trail – a significant link for the GUSTO initiative that was also prioritized as a natural-surface connection in Santa Fe’s Metropolitan Bicycle Master Plan of 2012.
We had been talking about fixing up this “informal trail” for a long time. It is in fact a formal alignment shown in subdivision documents but was ultimately created by users. The trail just needed a little tender loving care in the form of tread definition, pruning, and a short re-route. We also gathered rocks into the wheelbarrow to help create a better arroyo crossing near the bottom of the trail.
Tim met up with five volunteers at La Tierra Trails the morning of June 13, including three members of the Trails Alliance of Santa Fe and two new recruits. We removed loose rocks from the tread and improved storm drainage south and east of Junction 2 to Junction 6. …Just in time for the monsoons, we hope!
6 volunteers led by Tim Rogers showed up and did maintenance on the trail from the corner of Ridge Top road and Tano Road that connects up with the la Tierra trail system. Signs should be going up soon to show trail users where the new connector trail starts. The trail skirts the edge of the new development along Ridge Top road.
9 hardy souls put in some new signs and did a lot of rock work on the new trail from the parking lot to Dale Ball Central. The photo show some of the large rock work done by the group. The Santa Fe Fat Tire Society put the bridge across the might Santa Fe River last week and the trail is now open to all.
The event will be held at the Caja del Rio and the organizers are in need of 5-6 groups of 4 people to run aid stations on May 26. Any and all volunteers are most welcome and revered. If you want to learn more or volunteer send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Last fall I promised to check out the Chili Line Trail at the end of Buckman Road at the Rio Grande. A group of us did, but never found the trail. Instead we hiked south along the river on the Soda Springs Trail, a really spectacular route with views of the river from way above.
A note on the Chili Line Trail: the latest edition of the Sierra Club’s Day Hikes in the Santa Fe Area gives explicit directions to the the trail, but there are a confusing set of dirt roads and gates which led us astray. Another warning: we parked our cars on the river side of an open gate. Big mistake! When we returned a security guard had closed the gate and we were locked in until we figured out the gate’s mechanism.
This spring the volunteers of the Trails Alliance of Santa Fe are heading out to maintain and build area trails. For example, a trail from near the dog park to the La Tierra Trails is ready to hike and ride. Besides establishing the tread, volunteers cleared away bags of trash and debris. The La Tierra Torture mountain bike race is moving back to La Tierra so volunteers are working to get those trails in shape. The lack of rain and snow makes trail repair very much harder because the dirt can’t hold together.
The Santa Fe Conservation Trust is the guardian of Santa Fe’s trails and helps the Trails Alliance of Santa Fe organize the stewardship of our dirt trails.
Don’t tell anyone but the aspen’s transformation into golden glory has been slightly disappointing in the last couple of years. Blame caterpillars, fungus, and warm weather I guess. Another tree has been fantastic year after year for fall yellow: cottonwoods. They like water and lower altitudes so they are found in bosques, along arroyos or anywhere there’s a little extra moisture.
The trails at the southern end of the Galisteo Basin Preserve have some great cottonwoods and I found more looking down the views from the Cerrillos Hills State Park. Ojo Cliente Spa has trails near cottonwoods and, closer to home, they can be found on the Little Tesuque Creek Trail a mile or so north of 10,000 Waves.
Next week I’ll scout the Chili Line Trail at Buckman Road and the Rio. I hope to find some heroic old trees there. The leaves will be gone, but I’ll add it to my personal list of cottonwood trails for next fall.