Rito Quemado Trail 2021

NMVFO gathered for an overnight camping project to work on the Rito Quemado Trail #157 in the northern Pecos Wilderness. The project was scaled back from a 4-day to one day effort because recent monsoon rains had swollen the Rio Medio, so we did not try crossing and limited ourselves to the one mile segment from the trailhead down to the river.

We camped at a primitive group site on along FR306 on top of Borrego Mesa at 8.5k elevation, with good views of lowlands below, not far from the somewhat invisible and hidden trailhead. Dave and Rifka provided savory dinner and breakfast.

We split into two work groups, one doing crosscut sawing of ponderosa pine, and the other lopping Gambels oak.

By 1PM the afternoon monsoon thunderstorm had started, just as we completed our mile, so we hiked back to the top and headed home along the scenic route High Road to Taos back to our normal lives.

Thanks to leader Mike, with Dave & Rifka, Jeff, Mike G & Megan R, Cecily, Lynne & Patrick, Danielle, Charlie, Duncan, Ralph, and Mark for a good adventure.

Sierra Mosca Trail Scouting 2021

My previous scouting for the Capulin Trail for an NMVFO project showed an impassable route, and the USFS recommended we switch to a different nearby trail in the northern Pecos Wilderness, the Sierra Mosca #156. Today I hiked in to check it out.

The short road from FR306 to Borrego Trailhead is too eroded for me to drive comfortably, so I parked at the intersection with FR306 and hiked 0.7 miles to the trailhead. Google Maps does not show a reasonable route to the trailhead, so it is better to follow the route to the Borrego Mesa Campground, and then turn off at the sign to Borrego Trail.

Borrego Trail seemed frequently used with good visible tread, and few downed trees. A log crossing across Rio Medio kept feet dry. After 4 miles is the intersection with Sierra Mosca Trail, a bit further south than my map showed.

Tread continued to be visible on Sierra Mosca, with several cut blowdowns along the side of the trail to help mark the way. There were no recent signs of a recent burn, so these downed trees seemed to be just an ongoing replacement process. The trail follows along a gentle climb alongside Rito Con Agua for about two miles. At first, near the junction with Borrego Trail, the number of blowdowns were infrequent, but closer to the two-mile mark the blowdowns became more common, often clustered with several together. Beyond the 2 mile mark the tread became more faint, but old saw marks marked the route of the trail.

I did not scout beyond 2.2 miles, but counted 60 blowdowns, with the promise of many more beyond. Diameters of downed trees ranged up to 2 feet in diameter, suggesting a two-person crosscut saw may be needed.

The trail is not especially brushy, but several aspen saplings near the trail need to be lopped, along with patches of Gambels Oak.

Sierra Mosca intersects with Rio Molina Trail, which the NMVFO has a project with later in the year, which should offer loop opportunities. Mosca also connects to Capulin, if we can ever reopen that section of trail.

Socorro to Box Trail 2021

The NMT Bike Club led a 30-strong group of volunteers to work on a segment of new trail between The Box (popular among rock climbers) and the Socorro rodeo grounds, supervised by Mike Comiskey from the BLM, and joined by a group from Rocky Mountain Youth Corps. We met for an early 6:30AM start at eastern Black Canyon trailhead, to get some work in during cooler temperatures.

The route had to make some turns to thread between private land and state land.

This was my first trail project with this group, and I hope to return. Good folks.