Category: Hiking

Canoncito Trail/Arroyo Seco, NM

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

A lady in one of the shops had recommended the Canoncito Trail just outside Arroyo Seco. It’s a bit strange because it goes across private property, and you have to pay $10/person. That’s unusual, but I understand the problem. For one thing, there is very limited parking. People will also leave trash, bottles, clothing and other things, so someone has to go and clean up. I’m sure it got to the neighborhood’s nerves, so the $10 deters some people. But, hey, I never thought I would pay to go trout fishing.

Field of sunflowers leading to Sangre De Cristo Mountains

The trail follows a very small stream that you must cross a number of times. Someone has put down logs and rocks to cross this 4-inch deep stream so no one gets their feet wet. Being a trout fisherman, I have said many times – it is much safer to get your feet wet than trying to balance yourself on slippery rocks and logs. 

On the fifth crossing I was looking down at the logs as I pulled myself to land, holding onto a pine tree. Well, a broken snag of a limb jabbed me on the top of my head. It hurt a bunch, and I quickly started bleeding, well, like a stuck pig. I kept pressure on it with a bandana while muttering a few expletives. Martha took a look and said, “Oh my!” 

As the pain subsided, I left the bandana on my head and put my hat over it. I realized it would have been a lot worse if I hadn’t been wearing a hat. We continued the hike, but I walked through the water at every crossing the rest of the way. This is one of the 16 reasons to carry a bandana:

  1. Wipe sweat
  2. Clean up blood
  3. Blow your nose
  4. Sweatband
  5. Make a sling for a broken or hurt arm
  6. Tourniquet
  7. Neck gaiter to protect from old or sun
  8. Pot holder
  9. Dry your hands after washing
  10. Mark a trail or trout stream
  11. Emergency coffee filter
  12. Clean your glasses
  13. Padding under straps
  14. Lens cover if you lose yours
  15. Make an ice pack
  16. Tie brightly colored bandana to tools or people to keep track of them

It was a nice hike. I guess there are some pretty views further on, but we didn’t make it that far. Back at the truck, I pulled out the emergency kit and we cleaned up the wound,

We drove down the road to Arroyo Seco and explored the shops. We had a very nice lunch at the Sol Food Cafe. Next door they had an excellent, little grocery that was packed with all kinds of good stuff. In a small town like this, people came in steadily. There are a lot of artists in the area. One Art Gallery in particular had an impressive collection from many artists. They also had a unique approach to selling art. We have some incredible art on this trip, but how many things can you buy? This gallery turns the art into very nice greeting cards. Arroyo Seco is one of my favorite places of the trip.

Further down the road, we went to the Millicent Rogers Museum. From the brochure: “The Millicent Rogers Museum was founded in 1956 by Millicent Rogers’ youngest son, Paul Peralta-Ramos, as a lasting tribute to his mother. Born in 1902, she originally hailed from New York high society and was the granddaughter of Henry Huttleston Rogers, the cofounder of Standard Oil Company. Millicent came to Taos in 1947 and immediately fell in love with the rich Native American and Hispanic traditions of northern New Mexico. A philanthropist and life-long collector of fine art and antiques, she began to focus on the variety of arts unique to the Southwest and developed relationships with the local craftspeople, artisans and cultural communities. Millicent’s own creativity flourished in Taos as reflected in the merging of southwest cultural design elements within her own creations. The collection that Millicent developed became the core of the Museum’s exhibitions after her son, Paul, donated it upon the Museum’s founding.”

She had rheumatic fever as a child and suffered multiple heart attacks and pneumonia. Her left arm became debilitated. She died in 1953. She was known for unique style, her own fashion designs and for designing jewelry.

Dale Ball Trail

Monday, August 22, 2022 

We took this 4.4 mile out and back hike that goes beside an old irrigation duct and the old reservoir. It was a very nice hike with great views at the top of Santa Fe. After being in so many small towns, it surprising to see Santa Fe covering the whole valley. 

Devil’s Bridge Hike, Sedona, AZ

Thursday, August 18, 2022 

From AllTrails:

Try this 3.9-mile out-and-back trail near Sedona, Arizona. Generally considered a moderately challenging route, it takes an average of 1 h 39 min to complete. This is a very popular area for hiking and off-road driving, so you’ll likely encounter other people while exploring. Dogs are welcome, but must be on a leash.

A lot of this hike is on a dirt road that is used for off-road driving. The rest of it is pretty good, some parts challenging with steep steps. A lot of people use this trail. Then everyone gets their pictures taken out on the bridge.

With over 200 trails covering more than 400 miles, Sedona is a hikers destination. It seemed every trailhead parking lot was filled. There are lots of restaurants and stores, so it is a popular outdoor destination.

My Vasque hiking shoes are pretty worn out, and it was time for new ones, so we went to The Hike House. I have loved the Vasque shoes. They are light, comfortable and they have great grip on any surface. I think I could trout fish in these. Unfortunately, The Hike Shop didn’t have these. A nice, young lady helped me, and I ended up buying a pair of light weight Oboz for easy hikes and a pair of Kenes for rocky, more challenging hikes. The Kenes are heavier and sturdier.

We went back to Judi’s for dinner. Two guys were singing all my favorite songs.

Hike Soldier’s Pass Loop, Sedona, AZ

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

68 degrees at 6:00, high of 86

Rated 4.5, it is a 4.5-mile loop trail. We turned it into a 6-mile hike with a few diversions. Sedona is a huge hiking area with 252 trails, most of which are highly-rated. With beautiful, red mountains all around, it is hard to go wrong.

All Trails hiking app warned us of parking problems, recommending the city shuttle. As we got to the closed parking lot, a lady in a car asked if we wanted a ride. We said yes and followed her to a remote parking area. She introduced herself as Debbie. She used to drive the city shuttle, then decided to go on her own. It was going to be a busy day for her. She talked quickly as we drove back to the trail head. “Don’t miss the turn to the cave”, she warned, showing us a picture of the turn. “Drink lots of water, and don’t push it. Turn around when you begin to tire. Go up the road for the first part. The trail is muddy.”

We got out, paid her and walked over to the trailhead sign. Martha is a good trail follower, and she reads every sign to completion. I always let her take the lead so I can take pictures. We missed the turn to the cave, as there was no sign or marker, so we went back. 

Following a man and his son, we climbed up a mountain to the mouth of a cave. It had a very steep and narrow slot into the cave. Once over that hurdle, it opened into a cave with a 3.5’ shelf across a wide opening. there was another shelf above. A man in sandals climbed down with a baby in his arms! His wife followed.

Across the shelf was another slot climbing out and further up the mountain. There was a half-oval window on the other side. Young people were climbing onto the window to have their pictures taken. I am amazed by what people will do to take a picture. I don’t like heights, so I didn’t want to explore any more. I was quite happy to climb out and get my feet on solid ground.

Up the mountain and over the mesa, the views were great. Back down the other side, we came to a parking lot, then followed another trail over to our parking lot. We were tired when we got there, especially knowing it was a mile and a half to where we parked our car. Amazingly, Debbie was at the gate waiting for us. As we smiled and got in, she said she was worried about us. She was also surprised such old people had walked the loop. She gave us a bottle of water and talked about all the things to do in and around Sedona. She recommended Judi’s for lunch, as she had worked there for 10 years.

It was an excellent lunch at Judi’s, and our waitress couldn’t have been nicer. Martha had a reuben sandwich and I had the chicken taco special. Now that we were revived, it was a good day.

Hiking The canyon of Natural Bridges National Monument

Thursday, August 11, 2022

There are three ways to see three impressive natural bridges in the park. You can see a lot driving the loop and walking a bit from the overlooks. You can also hike the canyon to see all three, but the kicker is you have to walk back across the mesa to get back to your car, which makes a 12-mile hike. We opted for middle ground of hiking into the canyon, along the bottom to see Sipapou Bridge and come back out of the canyon at Kachina Bridge, across the mesa to the parking lot;

It is a great hike in a beautiful canyon where there are two beautiful natural bridges. The canyon itself is beautiful, and people have lived and hunted here since 700 BC or longer. There are ruins and petroglyphs throughout the park. It is no doubt a beautiful canyon with lots of interesting places.

I thought walking the bottom would be easy, but it is not. The trail is unmaintained because a stream runs through the canyon sometimes, so it is sandy, and when it floods, lots of debris is left behind. We saw lots of tracks that could have been deer or goats, or both, but never saw anything. We did see several ruins, and I think there are plenty we didn’t see. Also there was a petroglyph wall that had been marred by visitors making handprints by putting their hands in mud. You can see the difference when you look closely. This is part of the reason many historical sites only allow visitors on guided trips. We humans!

I think my expectations were different than what we found, which mad for a bit of a struggle. The hike across the mesa was more difficult than I expected. Looking back though, I would rate this as one of the best hikes of our trip.

Hike Petroglyph Trail in Mesa Verde National Park

Thursday, August 4, 2022

One of the coolest hikes we have been on, we enjoyed this one a lot. What makes a great trail? A great view, features along the way, discovery of something new, history, wildlife, solitude all go into making a great trail. This one has some great features, steps (some carved in rock), slots between huge rocks, walking under shelves where people have walked for thousands of years. The petroglyphs were a special attraction. There were a few others on the trail, but not many. We were reminded of the history of this place passing a wall still standing from a house built 900 years ago. Toward the end you climb up out of the canyon onto the mesa top and walk along a gravel path that leads back around to the museum. It crosses what was once a great, flowing stream with a waterfall into the canyon right in front of Spruce Tree House, one of the great ancient ruins of the park.

Petroglyph Point Trail
Difficulty: Strenuous  
Distance: 2.4 miles (3.9 km) roundtrip  
Elevation Change: 227 feet (69 m)
Trailhead: Spruce Tree House Overlook, by the Chapin Mesa Museum

A rugged and adventurous trail with steep drop offs. Hikers traverse the side of Spruce Canyon, squeezing between boulders and descending narrow stone staircases to reach a large petroglyph panel at 1.4 miles (2.3 km). From here, hikers must climb a 100-foot (30 m) cliff, scrambling up rocks and uneven sandstone steps to the mesa top, before returning through pinyon-juniper forest on the mesa top to complete the loop.

Hike Pueblo Alto, Chaco Culture National Historic Park

Sunday, July 31, 2022

Our goal was to hike Pueblo Alto Loop Trail, which is about 5.5 miles on top of the north mesa to another settlement, Pueblo Alto. Continuing across the mesa and around the rim with views of the valley, Pueblo Bonita, Chetro Ketl and Chaco Canyon. 

People have been here for thousands of years, but in the mid-800’s they began to build on a grand scale for 300 years, and it is incredible what they did. It became the hub of trade for settlements throughout the southwest and Mesoamerica, bringing chocolate here. They built roads to connect settlements, irrigated fields, stored water and foods and had ceremonies in their great, round kivas. Many Native Americans feel this was where they came from, and it holds great spiritual value to them. To build such a structured society, there had to be strong leadership and organization. 

The trail starts behind Kin Kletso, one of seven major “great houses”. It quickly climbs up the mesa through a very narrow slot in the canyon wall. Once on top, it is mostly level with wonderful views of the settlements and the large valley. A mile around the rim, we had a great overlook of Pueblo Bonito. It is like a highway on the solid rock of the rim, the trail well-marked by cairns (rock piles). In Canada they are called Inunchucks, the Inuit name for their way of marking sites or trails on the ice.

It was a beautiful morning, beginning at 65 degrees. I almost wore a second shirt, but knew I would soon warm up. It was overcast, a blessing in July in New Mexico. Martha and I rate this the best hike we have taken. It was a perfect day for hiking; we never saw anyone else; the history is amazing, comparable to Machu Picchu; there are many unique features: solid rock canyon rim extending for miles like a highway, slot canyons, canyon steps carved 1,000 years ago, the views, “buckets” holding water, iron deposits. There were very few boring steps. Wonderful hike, and it was the ranger’s second favorite! I think her favorite was the Petroglyphs Trail, but the wash was running too hard to cross.

Shoshone Point, Grand Canyon National Park

Saturday, July 23, 2022

We were driving the eastern part of the south rim and came to a sandy parking area with no sign. We pulled in and asked a man who was walking back down the trail. He said it was a beautiful view and a 3/4 mile walk up this sand road. 

We didn’t know what to expect, but it was a beautiful spot out on a ledge with great views. On the way back a family (perhaps German) were taking pictures of a tree, so we stopped to ask what they saw. It was a gopher snake eating a mouse. How it caught the mouse 4’ up a tree is a mystery.

Then we drove to the museum, a cool building that was closed. Outside the building were vendors. We walked around the other side to find an ancient site that was built in the Pueblo Indians 800 years ago in the Pueblo Ii era 950-1150). It was occupied for about 20 years.

On the other side of the closed museum, Indian art was being sold by four vendors, and all of it was very good. Martha bought a couple of pieces. 

We talked with a museum guide, who told us some of the Pueblo beliefs. They believe they came out of the Earth. We would learn later that their kivas were important because symbolically they climbed down into the kiva from the roof, exiting the same way. He said Pueblos believe there are four periods, and we are in the last one now. 

We made one more stop at Navajo Point before heading back to camp

Western Rim Hike, Grand Canyon National Park

Friday, July 22, 2022

We caught the red line bus to the western part of the South Rim Trail, most of which is unpaved. We walked along the rim for an hour seeing very few people. No cars are allowed on this section, so bikers took advantage. Early in the morning it would be a great bike ride. We passed a small group that were on a bike tour. 

We caught the bus, went up a stop or two, then walked the last mile to Hermit’s Rest. I love this building that blends in with its surroundings. It has the most incredible fireplace!

Back at Ten-X Campground, we had to stay inside the Airstream. Yellow Jackets have infested the campground. They don’t sting you, but they buzz all around you and whatever food or drink you carry. 

We have been fortunate to have elk in our camp almost every day, mostly three males. Patty educated me on what males are called. they are spikes until their horns branch. Then they are called bulls. 

Hike to Ooo Ahh Point, Grand Canyon National Park

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

We went to watch the sunrise at Yaki Point. Others had picked their spots long before us, some bringing chairs. 

We then went to the Kaibab Trail Head, opting to walk .9 mile to Ooo Ahh Point. There are other turn around places, but we didn’t want to push our luck. It was a pretty morning, maybe 75 degrees and shady. Walking down in easy enough. We followed three girls, one videoing the whole thing on her phone. At Ooo Ahh, they took turns taking pictures of each other standing on a rock.

The walk back up wasn’t terrible, so we rewarded ourselves with coffee and huevos ranchos at Bright Angel Lodge. Elk were trimming the bushes all around the lodge! Walking behind the lodge, we went to the geology museum on the edge of the canyon. A little further west we came to the Kolb Studio and museum. The Kolb brothers came in the late 1800’s and spent their lives here, exploring, photographing, filming a trip down the Colorado through the canyon, and did a lot to bring visitors. Incredibly brave, it is amazing what they accomplished.

Outside the museum we saw a riders coming up the trail on the famous mules. We followed them to the hitching rail where the mules were given water. They were good-looking mules and happy to get their sweaty heads rubbed. A guide said it is a two hour ride down and 4.5 hours back up. The riders looked tired as well. I would like to take that trip!

Back at camp, a beautiful elk buck came to visit, lying down in the shade just behind the picnic table. It was a good day!