Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Santa Fe Multi-Use Trails Update

Santa Fe Rail Trail at the Railyard Plaza
As published in yesterday’s Santa Fe New Mexican, the City Public Works Committee voted to recommend to the City Council that the proposed bike/pedestrian underpass at Alameda and St Francis by shelved in favor of budgeting the roughly $2 million in bond funds for an assortment of other improvements to the trails system.

All of these various additions are queued up in the current Santa Fe Metro Bicycle Master Plan (yes, some of us do actually read these things). As an avid trail user, old and new, this shift in spending priorities looks to be a very favorable exchange. The following are the projects under current discussion:
1) $300,000 for at grade improvements at Alameda/St Francis (in place of the underpass)
2) Canada Rincon multi-use Trail. connecting the neighborhoods near Zocalo to Calle Mejia (better access to Gonzales Community School) .32miles/ $132,000
3) Arroyo En Medio Trail. connecting Gail Ryba Trail at Zia Rd. to Sawmill Rd. .25miles/ $200,000 (access for Capshaw Middle School, Little Earth School and SF Girls' School)
4) Arroyo Mascaras Trail. connecting the Mascaras to west San Francisco St. / $150,000
5) Tierra Contenta Trail (n. arroyo chamiso). connecting Buffalo Grass to South Meadows. .38miles/ $300,000 (safe routes to school access for Sweeney, Ortiz and others)
6) Acequia Trail at Otowi Drive .10miles/ $80,000
7) Acequia Trail at S. Meadows to County River Trail(end of Agua Fria) 1.0mile $660,000
8) Infrastructure improvements: City way-finding, $30,000 and Safety infrastructure (focusing on dangerous railroad crossings), $10,000
A thank you goes out to Stephen Newhall for relaying these project details. Thanks Stephen!

Update: Take two minutes of your time to fire off an email to your City Councilors (two for each district) and cc: Councilor Bushee (who chairs the city Bicycle and Trails Advisory Committee [BTAC]). Let them know you're a trail user, that you vote, and what your stance is on the city's trails network. My email referenced the above along with an emphasis on - MORE TRLS PLZ. 

Related Posts:

View Acequia Trail - Santa Fe, NM in a larger map

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Rogue Accountants

Chama River - few hundred yards south
of the CO/NM border
So I put up a new personal record this week that may stand unbroken for years to come.

I spent an evening during the holiday weekend outdoorsing, camping, and emptying a few barley-pops with another CPA. In an uncanny chain of events I got out later in the week for some mtb on Dale Ball with another friend of mine, visiting from out of town, who also happens to be an accountant.

Three accountants, doing dope stuff, all in the same week. A fleetingly rare occurrence, duly documented for the memory banks.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Chamisa Trail - Santa Fe, NM

Schroeder and dog cruise the aspen meadow
Got up early and ran out Chamisa last weekend with Schroeder and Therese, plus dog. We were the first truck at the trailhead, there were more than a dozen when we returned yet we saw only two hikers the whole morning. Such is the enduring mystery of trailhead math.

Chamisa is the most convenient summer trail in these parts. It's the nearest trail to town that's forested, so it's cool and shady when the summer temps peg above 85. The trailhead is only two miles up the road from Dale Ball and Little Tesuque, but that's enough to jump bio-zones from high desert to alpine forest. Importantly this includes tree cover, flowing water (Big Tesuque creek), and birds chirping in the canopy above. Lovely stuff.

The running and biking up there is rewarding but not without a challenge. Climbs and descents the whole way with very few flats. It's an easier go than the steeps of Little Tesuque and La Piedra a mile down the road but you've got to bring your climbing legs. 600+ ft climb from the trailhead to the saddle with Sidewinder. A marvelous descent down to the Winsor meadows, then another 650+ft of climbing up to the Bear Wallow/Borrego triangle. Only one creek crossing compared with the dozen or so below Chamisa, and there's generally very few folks out in this mid-section of Winsor, sometimes only a bicyclist or backpacker. The run back is pleasant until the climb back up to Sidewinder ridge, but it's relatively short and sweet after the long rest.

Distance:  7.7mi
Min Elev:  ~7,700ft
Max Elev:  ~8,480ft
Net climbing:  ~1,700ft

Daybreak on Sidewinder ridge (courtesy Google images)

Climbing Winsor into the day's first sun
Related Posts:
 - Chamisa Trail Loop (mtb)
 - Little Tesuque Trail
 - Lower Winsor

View Chamisa to Winsor Trail - Santa Fe, NM in a larger map

Elevation profile - roundtrip Chamisa to Borrego

Friday, June 13, 2014

Moon Mountain Trail - Santa Fe, NM

Moon (l) and Sun (r) Mountains stand above the St. John's campus
In recognition of National Trails Day (Sat. June 8), I'm using this week to post write-ups and maps of a few lesser-known area trails. Unlike the more remote settings of the previously posted south-side trails, Moon Mountain and the route up to its summit sit hiding in plain sight among the nearby trail systems of the Santa Fe Foothills.

Moon mountain sits just south of Sun Mountain and just west of Atalaya but gets little love from hikers and trail runners. In fact, those two hikes are the most trafficked within city limits yet across the way on Moon one generally has the whole summit to themselves. One explanation may be that the hike to Moon is a bit longer (than Sun), but the obvious problem is that the trail is a lot less defined, un-marked, and requires a bit of adventure and route-finding to get where you're trying to go. I've never seen a map of the area before, printed or otherwise.

Picacho Peak as seen from the approach
Atalaya as seen from the Moon Summit
Moon summit - just a bunch of rocks until you put some shoes on them
Sun Mountain from the steep west descent off Moon
I prefer to hike/run Moon from the St. John's College trailhead, stretching out on the approach up the Arroyo Chamiso before motoring up the switchbacks to the summit. The trail up Moon's north face really doesn't switch all that much, meaning there's some steep direct climbing and the trail is often in various states of eroded wash-out. That said, roundtrip distance is only about 4mi without extenders.

One such extender is the convenient linkup with Sun Mountain, though combining the climbs can be a tough effort over the ~5mi distance. The trail runner's prize is a four summit linkup of Sun/Moon/Atalaya/and Picacho. Fun, but quite a bit tougher than it sounds.

Distance:  ~4mi loop
Max Elev:  8,085ft
Net Climbing:  ~900ft

View Moon Mountain - Santa Fe, NM in a larger map

Related Posts:
 - Apache Canyon Trail Loop
 - Eldorado Community Preserve Trails
 - Picacho Peak Summit

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Eldorado Community Preserve Trails

Trail 101
In recognition of National Trails Day (Sat. June 8), I thought I'd spend the week posting write-ups and maps of area rec. trails. Continuing with the theme of less well known south-side trails here are the Eldorado Preserve Trails, just south of NM 285. A caveat with these lovely routes is that they're not public, they're owned by the Eldorado HOA and use is limited to Eldorado residents and their guests. If you've got a friend south of town. best to invite them out for a run then buy a round afterward at the Santa Fe Brewing tap room for recovery.

When I run out there I prefer to head out on the east loop (TR 101) which climbs to the ridgeline then banks west-southwest. Lots of sustained but manageable climbing to start with, I feel it's similar to Sun Mountain, plus a lovely controlled descent with views of Hamilton Mesa to the east and Galisteo valley to the west. The ECP trail network isn't huge like La Tierra or nearby Galisteo Basin but it's enough for a solid run of up to 60-90min with effort on the climbs.

Looking south to the Cerrillos Hills and Sandias beyond
Looking west to the trails high point and Glorieta Baldy beyond

Winding back to the trailhead - and needed hops/recovery
Related Posts:
 - Apache Canyon Loop
 - Arroyo Hondo Open Space
 - Craft Beer in New Mexico

View Eldorado Preserve Trails - Santa Fe, NM in a larger map


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