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

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Adventure on the Winsor Trail

Winsor Meadows
Had an interesting outing on the mountain bike this summer. Up at the crack of dawn with the plan of motoring up Winsor for the first time this year. Arrived at the Chamisa trailhead, rockin’ some Aerosmith (great band or best band?)*, when it became clear that a key piece of equipment didn't make the trip - my mtb shoes. Generally speaking, this wouldn't be a huge deal if I had been wearing shoes of some other type, however this was not the case. No, I had left the house wearing flip-flops for some strange reason. Effin’ flip-flops. FLIP-FLOPPPSSS!! [KAHHHNN!!] Desperation and denial stabbed at my mind: Can there be any imagined scenario in which Aerosmith wears flip-flops? No. fuck no. Not one. Well, there’s a lesson there. 

This is how this works - I have a sleeping 2yr old at home, so I have a short window at the break of dawn to run/ride/(ski sometimes) or, with searing remorse and regret I can rollover and go back to sleep. This being the case, driving back into town to get my shoes meant no long workout and probably no ride till the following weekend. An hour of running would have to replace cycling the Winsor as option A, and my mind that day was not calibrated toward running it was geared-up for cruising in the mountains on the summer’s first ride along the creek up the Winsor. 

So this happened…  >>>
There is literally a skull on my sock and a bell on my handlebars

Can’t possibly be the first time this has ever happened to someone heading out for a ride, am I right? This must happen all the time! How do folks generally resolve this kind of problem do you suppose? I reasoned that they probably just hope for the best, ignore the discomfort of missing gear, and ride - very carefully keeping an eye on toe-crushing rocks and tree branches. A very real danger that I'd simply never considered since it would otherwise be reckless to ride Chamisa/Winsor in open-toed shoes. (Sidenote: I have biked around at a party shoeless before. This is such a bad idea. I cannot caution strenuously enough how this should not be tried). 

Below Pacheco Canyon
Back to the current shady cycling story...Aside from potentially seriously injuring myself, my secondary concern was the possible embarrassment of seeing people see me riding along like a jagger in socks and flip-flops. Not a real danger, I calculated. Nobody’s going to be out this early on the middle stretches of Winsor. Wrong. I saw 23 people that morning [KAHHHNN!!]. 15 cyclists, 6 hikers including a woman who stopped me to ask if there was water up-trail for her dog, and 2 runners. I’m certain of this figure because I counted each one, my face screwed-up in a sideways cringe of awkwardness at each addition. 

It all worked out for me in the end, although I couldn't handle the steep climbing that leads up to NORSKI. I did see two ptarmigan (grouse) in one section, got too excited then veered off trail crashing into some bushes. There were also a few slips in technical sections where I pedaled out of my flop and had to avoid the pedal-whip-into-the-shin hazard. A very acceptable level of harm, all things considered. And it all makes for a good story as well as an important takeaway to share with others - that a cavalier attitude toward footwear has the potential to ruin your entire week. You’re welcome.

Old crossing at Bear Wallow, now much improved
Guerrilla-built drop above Pacheco. Since removed by the NFS
Firecracker penstemon
* I kid, i kid. Zeppelin will always be the best band, Halen a distant second.

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