Soda Springs Trail Scouting

USFS volunteer coordinator Jennifer and Mike from NMVFO joined me on a reconnaissance hike on Soda Springs Trail, in preparation for a trail project in September 2021. Driving to the end of unpaved Buckman Road #77, past Diablo Canyon, the road ends at the Rio Grande near our parking area. Across the river is the community of White Rock, near Los Alamos. I had never been here before, but I did almost-cross the Rio a few miles further south near Bandelier on the NNML.

We hiked on two-track along the river, then headed on trail up towards the top of a mesa. A rock trail embankment had partially collapsed, but the remaining rock work is evidence of a good deal of effort creating the trail

At the top, we had lunch, and enjoyed 360 degree views, of White Rock, the Santa Fe Ski area, Pecos Baldy and Truchas Peaks.

Now we have to figure out the best way to arrange the project. Can we car-camp at the top, possibly with a 4WD shuttle, or backpack in two miles and camp at the river just before climbing the mesa, or some other method? Mike will test out a dirt road up to the mesa from the back side, and see if it is passable.

Segment 86 November 2020

I returned to my adopted section of the Continental Divide Trail for an overnight backpack to do final trail work of the year. First, I replaced a metal trail sign on NM13 between segments 84 and 85, at the request of the CDTC.

Then I parked at the northern terminus of my Segment 86 near Surprise Tank, and spent the day lopping, clearing 20 drains, and moving or sawing 13 deadfalls. The northern mile of the segment is getting overgrown with grass and rabbitbush(?), and I scraped the tread with a McLeod as time allowed, but much more needs to be done.

I camped near a water tank just beyond Erman Well, now dry. Darkness really comes early this late in the year, limiting my work day. The next day I finished surveying the last two miles of my segment, suffering from braided trail from cattle.

I hiked back the entire 11 mile segment back to my car to finish. For my next trip in the spring, I need to clear more grass on tread, and fix some ditched trail sections in the heights, and block more braided trail. Rolling dips need to rebuilt as well.

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