Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Nordic Skiing in Chama - Edward Sargent Wildlife Area

Winter trip to Chama this last weekend. Drove up to spectate some of the racing at the annual Ski Classic. Originally planned to do some racing myself but this happened to be my first outing of the year so that plan went out the window.

Instead we toured around at the Edward Sargent Wildlife Area. They manage the area in winter giving the west side of the WFA over to skiers and snowshoes and the north/east side to the snowmobilers. It was nicely signed and tracked-out, and we navigated across and along the Rio Chamita in a 6km loop, leaving other loops to explore for future visits.

We chatted with a group of snowshoers that were part of a Ski Classic tour I believe. Saw a half dozen other skiers including a friendly guy from Santa Fe who tells us he has a place in Chama and happened to be putting up several of our friends from Santa Fe/Los Alamos for the weekend's race. Saw plenty of animal sign, but no actual animals other than eagle calls from across the valley. There may also have been a low snoring/growling sound, possibly coming from the small child in our tow-sled. Fascinating insight into the human condition.

Panoramic photography skills courtesy of the Desert Babe (not to be confused with the Desert Toddler)

Related Posts:
 - Nordic Skiing, Cumbres Pass
 - Chama Chile Ski Classic
 - Neff Mountain Yurt Trip, Chama NM

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

2015 New Mexico Trail Running Calendar

I spent some time bringing the Race/Outdoors Calendar up-to-date (see Tab above). One addition for the year is the new trail relay in Angel Fire, a Ragnar type event. I can't figure out the distances involved or even how you win this event, but I imagine it will be a nice addition to the area race scene.

The week/weekend I'm most fired-up for is in May. Santa Fe Bike & Brew is coming back for an expanded 2nd year. More of a beginning of summer festival than a race, but it's bike-centric, there is an element of good beer (in fact, it's my understanding that this entire event was the brain-child of Chris Goblet of the NM Brewers Guild), and the timing coincides with the Santa Fe Run Around on Sat (May 16th), and the Santa Fe Century on Sun (May 17th). Big week. Biiiiggg fuuuuun outdoorsy week.

As it happens, I was absent for Bike & Brew last year due to travel, but one new event I made was XTERRA Glorieta which was first-rate. Really hoping the organizers bring that one back for a second go.

Two great events that always come and go before I can get my bearings set for the new year are the Chama Chile Ski Classic and Santa Fe WinterFest (beer fest). Fast approaching as I type. Need to get on it.

Related Posts:
 - 2015 Outdoors Calendar
 - Calendar update 2013

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Another Year of Drought for Santa Fe - 2014

Santa Fe and surrounding areas had a terrific monsoon season this year, but as has been the case for much of the last decade our year-end precipitation totals fell well below the long term average. As measured at the airport, we ended 2014 with just more than 9.5" of rainfall/snowfall compared with the average of 13.5". Snowfall in the winter and spring months just hasn't kept pace.

Santa Fe Precipitation Chart - 2014
The chart above was provided by John Fleck, UNM water resources faculty and ABQ Journal contributor. John originally posted the precipitation chart for Albuquerque below, noting that it's the 7th consecutive year below average for the Albuquerque area.

Albuquerque Precipitation Chart - 2014

Related Posts:
 - Arroyo Washout (Oct. '14)
 - Frijoles Canyon in Recovery
 - River Gauges and Fall Floods

Saturday, December 20, 2014

50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act

This year now nearly gone past was an interesting historical marker for public lands, especially here in the western states. The year marked the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act, illustrated beautifully with a timely piece of legislation passed by Congress just last week to permanently protect the Columbine-Hondo Wilderness north of the Taos Ski Valley. This year was also the 90th Anniversary of the Gila Wilderness, east of Silver City, the nations first, hand-picked by Aldo Leopold himself. And it was the 20th Anniversary of the Santa Fe Conservation Trust here in Santa Fe. For this last reason I made it a point to attend this year's annual SFCT Gala Dinner. Officially it's the Stewart Udall Legacy Dinner which is rad because Udall is and was a giant.

A small part of what drew me to the event was that I really wanted to see the interior of the National Park Service Building. My trail-running takes me past this beautiful place on a weekly basis. It's an absolute marvel of a structure, clearly adobe, early pueblo revival style. Turns out the building houses a tremendous collection of art and artifacts. It was fascinating. Mom was my plus-one on this evening and she was in full agreement, we exchanged hi-fives.

National Park Service Building - Santa Fe
The primary reason I attended (other than to support a first-rate organization) was to unabashedly rub shoulders with the many outdoors luminaries and icons I knew would be there. Dave Foreman and Jack Loeffler were walking around; Margaret Alexander and Bill Johnson were two of the award recipients, Bill deBuys and Don Usner were signing books (as was Jack) alongside Dorothy Massey the owner of Collected Works; Kent Little formerly of Sangre de Cristo Mountain Works was shaking hands and doing the rounds as a board member; Rod Tweet of Second St. Brewery was presenting a partnership with the Trust through the development of their new beer, Boneshaker Bitter; Tim Rogers who pulled together the Santa Fe Metro Master Bicycle Plan was there; Charlie O'Leary of course; I sat at a table with Mark Allison and Tisha Broska of the NM Wilderness Alliance. I am a huge nerd for these kinds of things, and to meet and talk to the very people that have built this culture and its guiding ideas was something I thoroughly enjoyed.

Many of these fascinating people write books. I highly recommend reading them, or gifting them, or name-dropping them. Here is some help:

Related Posts:
 - The Colorado River and the Politics of Water
 - The Columbine-Hondo Wilderness Act
 - The NM Pika Monitoring Project

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

End of Year Charitable Giving to Area Outdoor Organizations

SFCT and the Trails Alliance - Since 1993
Several of the organizations that take care of our area trails and around northern New Mexico are tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organizations, meaning, that if you're looking for a few end-of-year tax deductions (or are just feeling generous) you ought to consider sending a few $$$ their way before end-of-day on the 31st.

The two organizations that (far and away) provide the most improvements and volunteer days on our trails are The Santa Fe Trails Alliance (the volunteer arm of the Santa Fe Conservation Trust), and The Santa Fe Fat Tire Society. Both terrific groups that could use a Saturday of your time as well as your financial support. In a joint effort this summer, these two groups along with the Santa Fe National Forest installed at least five new bridges along the Winsor Creek. If you've used a trail in the Santa Fe area over the last 20 years, The Conservation Trust is who you want to give thanks and appreciation.

SFFTS - Since 2011
As far as the running community and support for running programs and events in and around Santa Fe, the most active organizations are the Santa Fe Striders, Girls on the Run, and WINGS of America. Most of the overflow revenue generated by the Striders is directed to the latter two organizations so you might consider just contributing to them directly.

The Santa Fe Watershed Association has taken an active role in beautifying the Santa Fe River and in turn the Santa Fe River Trail which now includes several miles of trail with more planned for next year.

The Southwest Nordic Ski Club is the engine that powers nordic skiing opportunities in the state. Most of their work goes into grooming and maintaining the track up at Pajarito. They also promote and help organize large events including the Chama Chile Ski Classic, the Mt. Taylor Quad, and various events at Enchanted Forest.

Most (All??) of these organizations are setup to accept funds electronically via the links below. I'm certain they accept checks by mail or in person too. Give them a boost and do your part to support the outdoors in Santa Fe and northern New Mexico:

  - Santa Fe Girls on the Run
  - Santa Fe Trails Alliance and the Santa Fe Conservation Trust
       (also supported by the Banff Film Festival; La Tierra Torture, XTERRA Glorieta, 2nd Street Brewery)
  - Santa Fe Fat Tire Society (via membership)
  - WINGS of America
  - Santa Fe Watershed Association (manages the SF River Greenway)
  - Southwest Nordic Ski Club (nordic ski trails in Los Alamos)
  - The Santa Fe Striders (via the button below)

Related Posts:
 - Drink Beer - Support Local Trails (and the SFCT)
 - Local Trail Improvement Updates - New Tab!
 - Trail Improvements to Winsor and Galisteo Basin


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