South Sandia Backpack 2019

Five volunteers with New Mexico Volunteers for the Outdoors, NMVFO, hiked in from the Canyon Estates trailhead along the South Sandia Crest Trail to a basecamp near the intersection with the Embudito Trail on Friday, May 17. This turned out to be a dry camp, as the snow had very recently melted, so we hauled water 0.8 miles from South Sandia Spring, still running.

We cleared logs and lopped brush along the trail for several days, as far north as the intersection with Barts Trail, hiking out again Monday afternoon, May 20.

Here is a before/after shots of trail after clearing the corridor of brush:

At elevation 9320 feet, base camp was rather cold the first night, but improved later with overcast nights.

The Sandia Mountain Wilderness is very near a metropolitan area (Albuquerque), atypical for a wilderness area. City streets are visible below.

Warm thanks to Jenny, Mark, Melany & Sam for a fine adventure.

Related Post: Grand Enchantment Trail 2017: Sandia Crest

Gila River CDT Alternate, 2019

Volunteers organized by the CDTC (Continental Divide Trail Coalition), with help from the NMVFO (New Mexico Volunteers for the Outdoors), Heart of the Gila, and Back Country Horsemen Gila Chapter, worked to improve trail on the Middle Fork of the Gila River from May 3 to May 8. Most arrived on May 2, camping at the Upper Scorpion Campground near the
Gila Cliff Dwellings, or nearby Woody’s Corral. We hiked in about 7 miles to a base camp near Jordan Hot Springs, and did work for several days along the river, lopping trees to widen the trail corridor, building cairns to mark river crossings, and doing some tread work.

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Morphy Lake 2019

The NMVFO returned to Morphy Lake for a second year to build trail at this man-made lake near Mora. Sixteen volunteers were the only campers at the state park, still closed for reconstruction of the outlet dam.

Joined by three staff from the state park, we continued to build a new trail around the lake, for use by fishermen when the park reopens later in the summer.

Related post: Morphy Lake 2018

Guadalupe Ruin 2019

South of NM Hwy 550 between San Ysidro and Cuba, atop a narrow sandstone pedestal 200 feet high, lies the Guadalupe Ruin, the one eastern pueblo outlier of Chaco Canyon, occupied between AD 900 and 1000, and later occupied by Mesa Verde migrants.

A dozen or so NMVFO volunteers, joined by BLM staff Jackie Leyba, placed sandstone blocks on the narrow steep trail to the summit, for better footing.

At the summit are remains of several ruins, and two excavated kivas now covered with metal roofs. Several others kivas, still buried, are visible from the top, and pottery shards and matates and other remains are easy to find.

Cabezon Peak from a window opening at Guadalupe Ruin