Tuesday, February 19, 2008

San Lorenzo Canyon

Kara and I spent the federal holiday traipsing around San Lorenzo Canyon.  This is BLM recreation site reached from the I-25 Lemitar exit.  You go about five miles north on the western frontage road until you reach a tee where the roadway turns to dirt.  Take the left fork and head west, paralleling the border to the Sevilleta Wildlife refuge.  There is one sign and one arrow along the way to steer you right. This view shows the canyon looking east across the Rio Grande to the start of Chupadera Mesa.  That is Sepultura Canyon in the shadows on the western slope, where mexican gray wolves have been kept before release in the Gila.

Unlike the arroyos in the Quebradas on the east side of the Rio Grande, San Lorenzo Canyon was cut from only sandstone.  The bottom is very sandy and passable by motor vehicle.  We tried biking this day, but the sandy bottom made movement extremely difficult.  So we ditched the mountain bikes and hoofed it.  The BLM land dead ends at a basaltic/granite rock dam across the canyon that marks the start of the Sevilleta refuge, where human wanderers are not permitted, on foot or wheel.


Friday, February 8, 2008

Steve Ilg

I owe my stamina and injury-free history of outdoor activities to this guy.  I picked up his book "The Outdoor Athlete" fifteen years ago.  Its training regimen helped me manage a hike from Kingston to Glenwood, across the Aldo Leopold and Gila Wildernesses, five mountain ranges, river fords, and snow storms, averaging over 26 miles a day with a full load.  Or my birthday hikes taking in the full length of either the Sandia or Manzano ranges in time to get home for a great celebratory meal before sundwon.  

"The Outdoor Athlete" offers suggested training routines for every activity, from mountain biking to kayaking.  I have particularly benefitted from his "2-WayIlgs" and adaptation of some ballet moves, with weight added for building strength.  I heartily recommend Steve Ilg as a model and teacher to anyone who finds spiritual rewards in the challenges of strenuous outdoor athletics, and who wants to keep at it their whole life.   Check him out for yourself.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Hiking the Organ Mountains

I was in Las Cruces to meet with the people promoting a plan to preserve over 300,000 acres of Dona Ana County as open space and rangeland.  The proposal started with ranchers but has now gained the support of some 600 businesses, organizations and respected professionals, like the past presidents of New Mexico State University.  I came away impressed with the ranchers behind this effort and the integrity of their proposal.
The next morning I got up early to climb the Organ Needle.  But federal employees sleep later than I and the gate to the trailhead at the Dripping Springs visitor center was locked before dawn. So I turned south on Baylor Canyon road and drove to the trailhead for Baylor Canyon Pass.
Every year trail runners race this trail to Aguirre Springs on the back side of the Organs, facing White Sands Missile Range.  It's a good trail, but I had a fifty mile an hour wind for company up in the pass.  It spun me around and the cold wind pierced my clothes and froze my face. 
But I had the Organ Mountains to myself this day, beautiful nonetheless.  The fierce wind was just part of the experience. 
It is 6 miles each way to Aguirre Spring.  This hike makes a good introduction to the Organ Mountains.