Scissors

Saturday, May 28, 2016
Grand Enchantment Trail section hike Polvadera NM to Tijeras NM, starting here
Day 7
Start waypoint 37019 Segment 36 mile 33.0 on Turkey Trot Trails south of Tijeras
Stop waypoint 37170 Segment 37 mile 12.8 Sandia Forest Service Ranger Station and transport back to civilization
Miles walked 12.8

The trail goes right along Department of Energy land set-aside with dire warnings.

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Soon the forest looks much better than yesterday, more balanced somehow, with less discard limbs from recent thinning and better plant diversity.

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I had made arrangements yesterday with family to meet at the Ranger Station today at 11AM, but am embarrassed to see that I mis-read the map and have a lot more hiking to do this morning than expected.

The road and network of trails south of Tijeras (scissors in Spanish) is heavily used by mountain bikers, road cyclists, rock climbers, and day hikers this fine weekend morning.

I skip the winding Tunnel Canyon Trail and stay on NM 337 for a fast road-walk to make up for my mistake…

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and arrive nearly on time, within 10 minutes or so.

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Now to get ready for CDT Montana!

[no audiobook on this short day]

 

Road Walk

Friday, May 27, 2016
Grand Enchantment Trail section hike Polvadera NM to Tijeras NM, starting here
Day 6
Start waypoint mile 3.8 of Segment 36, near Tajique Campground
Stop waypoint 37019 Segment 36 33.0 on Turkey Trot Trails south of Tijeras
Miles walked 33.0 – 3.8 = 29.2

My goal for the day is to complete a 27 mile read walk through private lands before getting to public lands where I can camp.
A fire had come through the area along the road down to Tajique, and this is what the recovery looked like.

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Ray’s One Stop in Tajique was a welcome sight after several days on the trail, with junk food my body craved.

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Some of my family had actually gone to Ray’s in years past, as it was the closest store to their remote summer camp.

My phone could not find a signal in Tajique. Note to myself for my future through-hike.

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My stroll through Tajique land grant had a good bit of dirt road, easier on the feet than pavement. I was starting to get Plantar fasciitis in my left foot by mid-morning, which I had not ever had before. No choice but to keep on walking, and symptoms did not get worse during the day.
The paved road had a narrow shoulder, and often a narrow strip of gravel that I tried to walk on to lessen wear on my feet.
This attractive niche in Chilili land grant was built from a metal stock tank.

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Tajique land grant had several real estate “for sale” signs, but Chilili land grant was a different matter.

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Another sign in Chilili asked for no photography. No idea if that was a consensus opinion or just the opinion of one lone sign writer, but I stopped taking photos and you do not get to see the village and have to go there yourself.
My map warned of only two stores with water on this stretch of road,  but I was delighted to find another general store past Chilili at Ten Points.

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Which meant another break for snacks.
I got back on public lands with time to spare, among a network of hiking/biking paths with recent thinning and lots of discarded limbs left on the ground.

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I was able to get a cell signal and text family a request for pickup tomorrow morning.

[completed audiobook The Emperor’s Edge, by Lindsay Buroker]

 

Manzanitas

Thursday, May 26, 2016
Grand Enchantment Trail section hike Polvadera NM to Tijeras NM, starting here
Day 5
Start waypoint 1 mile past 35175 Ojo del Indio spring, Segment 35 mile 16.8
Stop waypoint mile 3.8 of Segment 36, near Tajique Campground
Miles walked [Segment 35] 27.1-16.8 + [Segment 36] 3.8 = 14.1

Still following the Crest Trail, sometimes we have to climb down and then back up, like here at Comanche Pass.

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Here is another view looking down the pass from the heights.

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To the east, we can see White Sands in the distance.

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After a time the trail passes a huge open meadow, shown here with the Sandia Mountains in the background.

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On the approach to Fourth of July Campground some large buildings came into view far down below, which appeared to be a summer camp.

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Later, road signs confirmed it is a Baptist camp.

West of the town of Los Lunas a huge dark flat rectangle comes into view, here partially obscured by cloud shadow. (Later research reveals this is a huge solar array.)

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A word about the trail… overgrown. Scrub oak and thorny plants often encroach into the Crest Trail and takes some getting used to pushing through for miles at a time.

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The tread is often faint, and cattle trails confuse the true path.

However, I often grumble at this point on hikes, and then eventually my eves adjust and can pick out faint tread more easily, so don”t mind me.

Coming into Fourth of July Campground, we see what gives it its name.

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A large stand of maple trees thrive here, and no where else in the state. All our other tree leaves turn yellow in the fall, but these turn brilliant red, which someone compared to fireworks at the Fourth of July. People come from miles around to visit the trees in color.

I pass by this campground and head down to Tajique Campground a few miles down the road, and see this.

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Oh well, it is National Forest land across the road, so fair game for stealth camping by backpackers.
I need to stop here, causing a short hiking day, because the next 27 or so miles is a road walk along private land where camping is not allowed, so must be walked in one go. (There are unofficial routes that do stealth walking on private land, but having some idea of the feelings of the land grant families in this area, I would not dream of stepping foot on private property around here.)
I will not hitch, but accept a ride on NM 337 if offered. Which I do not expect.

[no audiobooks today]

 

Ridgeline

Wednesday, May 25, 2016
Grand Enchantment Trail section hike Polvadera NM to Tijeras NM, starting here
Day 4
Start waypoint 35030 Segment 35 mile 2.3, a few miles from the summit of Manzano Peak
Stop waypoint 1 mile past 35175, Ojo del Indio spring, Segment 35 mile 16.8
Miles walked [Segment 35] 16.8 – 2.3 = 14.5

Approaching Manzano Peak, one can make out the thin green strip of vegetation along the Rio Grande far below.

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At the top, we are rather high up.

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Glorious panoramas stretch out in all directions.

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More than my little cell camera can handle.

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Later, I spy a remaining patch of snow, and see several more throughout the day.

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The crest trail goes along the ridgeline of the Manzanos all day, full of impressive views.
The Trigo Fire causes some peaks to be naked in their majestic beauty.

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And more views.

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A good day of challenging hiking along the ridgeline.

[finished audiobook Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery]

 

Sixty to Manzano

Tuesday, May 23, 2016
Grand Enchantment Trail section-hike Polvadera NM to Tijeras NM, starting here
Day 3
Start waypoint north of 33470 Section 33 mile 39.6, a few miles south of US60
Stop waypoint 35030 Segment 35 mile 2.3, on Pine Shadow Trail a few miles from the summit of Manzano Peak
Miles walked [Segment 33] 42.5 – 39.6 + [Segment 34] 15.3 + [Segment 35] 2.3 = 20.5

In a few miles I reach US60, where a food cache was hidden under a tree. I had taken a photo when hiding to remember which tree.

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Water bottles and goodies were included in the cache box to offer as a surprise treat for other hikers, known as “trail magic”.

I had tested when hiding the cache how far down US60 until a cell signal could be found, so I could signal Base Support of my continued health.

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But after walking much further down the highway, more than a mile, I still not send a text, even with several bars.moral of the story: don’t rely on a signal meter to test for cell reception, but instead actually place a test call or text to see if it goes through!

The trail follows a rocky arroyo for several miles, enclosed enough to provide some shade.

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Surrounding cliffs become tall and rugged.

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When the arroyo joins another larger arroyo, pools of water were found, welcome since all seasonal springs along the route have dried up.

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The arroyo passes under train trestles.

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Leaving the wash, the route goes along a two-track road which climbs for a number of miles.

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Formidable rocky mountain faces start to appear in the distance.
After going on a forest  service road, one arrives at the trailhead for Pine Shadow Trail, going up Manzano Peak, the first actual man-made trail of this trip.

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I find a rare flat spot a few miles down from the peak, to escape wind and exposure, and rest up for good climbs and scenic views expected tomorrow.

[completed audiobook The Wizard That Wasn’t, by Ben Rovik]