Erosion is a problem here in Santa Fe. One of the best and most interesting ways of combating this annoying problem is with the use of one rock dams. Santa Fe only receives an average of fourteen inches of rain per year. The rain comes in two types such as nice short light rain and gully washers. The gully washers can do considerable damage if proper preparations have not been made.
Do you need a one rock Dam?
The soil here in New Mexico is firm and water need time to gradually sink in. If there is no impediment the water will rush off carrying lose soil and cutting gullies. That is why cactus and other draught tolerant plants do well here. They quickly suck up moisture with their shallow roots and store the water up in the plant. A good way to slow down the rushing water is with one rock dams.
Three one rock dams alternate to slow the rain.
What are one rock dams?
A one rock dam is just a line of rocks placed across an area were rain water flows. The rock dam will slow down the rushing water. This will allow the water time to sink into the soil. The dam will also trap seeds of native plants and grasses and allow them to grow. The rocks should be laid in alternate patterns down a hill side. Over time this will convert a barren hill side into one covered with native grasses and bushes such as Apache Plumes.
Where do you get the rocks?
Rocks for you one rock dam projects can be obtained for free. You can drive up Hyde Park road and pick up rock next to the road which have slid down from the mountains. Another good spot is along I-25 were there is a cut through the rocks. There is plenty of room to pull over and pick up all those nice lose rocks.
For more information or a tour contact Santa Fe Footprints.
I have been hiking the low trails. Hiking the high trails has been exhilarating and exhausting. The benefit of the shutdown is that it is causing me and others to get out and smell the chamisa (that’s a New Mexico thing). I have an E-bike, which pre-shutdown, I used just for transportation. Now I use my E-bike to explore the city, the city bike trails and the trail outside the city. I love E-bikes.
OK, all you ‘real’ bikers are now calling me a fake biker. Well, there is some true to that charge. Let me explain. Peddling is good exercise and biking is fun. Peddling up hill is not fun. For me that is. Yes, I know, I see you hard core guys and gals pumping away as you struggle up Hyde Park road heading to the ski area. That sort of punishment is just not for me. I enjoy being on a bike and not killing myself. That’s why I love E-bikes!
On my new E-bike. Aventon Level
What Type of E-bike?
My first encounter with an E-bike was on a trip to L.A. My wife and I took an E-bike tour of Santa Monica and Venice Beach. After that I was hooked. I just knew I love E-bikes. My first E-bike was just like the one we had used on the tour. It was and is a very serviceable model for getting from here to there but it just didn’t sing! I wanted more. I wanted jazzy!
Got a Jazzy E-bike!
As the lockdown began to ease I headed out to Sleeping Bear Electric Bikes to see what they had to offer. They had mountain bikes, step-though Dutch bikes, cruiser bikes and the bike that I bought. An Aventon Level. They say it’s a commuter bike but it can also do trails.
Heading into a tunnel on the trail
Cruising the Tails
Now that I have a jazzy E-bike it was time to get out and ride Santa Fe’s bike trails. The wife claimed the old bike (she doesn’t understand why I didn’t think it was jazzy) and we were off. I love E-bikes!
For more information on biking, hiking or touring in Santa Fe contact Santa Fe Footprints.
I have always liked cactus, even when I lived in areas were cactus were virtually unknown. Although I knew next to nothing about them I still found them fascinating. One reason was their thorns. Thorny plants will keep people from stepping on them! Another plus is cactus required very little care. After moving to Santa Fe I discovered the Eldorado Cactus Garden and I thought I was in heaven.
What and where is Eldorado?
Eldorado is a community located about 10 minutes south of Santa Fe just off I-25. The houses there are on one to three acre lots and most of the ground has been left in a natural state. The sight of this natural state may be a bit of a shock to those coming from the East or Midwest. Back in those parts, plush green lawns are the norm. That is not the norm in New Mexico. Local gramma grass and cactus are well adapted to the dry climate. To properly appreciate how beautiful this type of landscape can be you must visit the Eldorado Cactus Garden.
Layout of Cactus at Eldorado
A big surprise for those coming from back east is discovering that cactuses flower. Cactus flowers come in all different colors and many are quite spectacular. The Eldorado cactus garden contains over one hundred verities of cactus. May and June is the time of year when most verities are in bloom. It is a sight not to be missed! You will be amazed.
My own little Garden
Those who are new to the area I recommend you start your own little cactus garden. I have cactus in pots and in the ground. Cactus likes being in pots just as well and in the ground. Pots work very well for Beaver Tail, Scarlet Hedge Hog, Banana Yucca, Claret Cup and Cholla. Cactus are very easy to transplant so some in the ground it is no problem to move them to a more desirable location . Start your own cactus garden and you will become a true son of Santa Fe.
To take a cactus hike contact Santa Fe Footprints.
On my last adventure I hiked up Atalya mountain. An excellent adventure. It was also a strenuous work out. But it was worth it. Now it was time to hike among the cactus. Aren’t cactuses those thorny things that stick you? True but this time of year all the cactus varieties are blooming.
Where to go
One of my favorite places to hike among the cactus is the Arroyo Hondo open space. This is a nice easy trail located only a ten-minute drive from the heart of Santa Fe. It is just down the road from the world-famous Harry’s Roadhouse. Well I’m not sure it is world-famous but it is a popular watering hole for movie stars and Santa Fe notables. You can see Harrys from the top of the trail and it is a great place for breakfast before or lunch after your hike.
Prickly Pears and Dogs
The most ubiquitous cactus that I find on the Arroyo Hondo trail is the Prickly Pear. They have large flat paddle shaped pads with thrones that can be two inches long. For those concerned about their dogs, there is no need to worry. I have hiked with a dog, with groups who had dogs and seen many hikers on the trail with dogs even off leash. Dogs seem to instinctively know to keep their distance.
This time of year, late May and early June is a special time to hike among the cactus. The Prickly Pears have a bright yellow flower. Scarlet Hedge Hogs have a red blossom among its many thorns. The Claret Cups are a personal favorite. This year they covered with red flowers. Of course, let us not forget the tree Cholla with its unique yellow blooms.
If you would like to hike among the cactus, contract Santa Fe Footprints for a hike or historic tour of Santa Fe.
I have done a nice semi flat hike now it is time to do some hiking up high. I am not ready to go way up high as in Deception Peak at over 12,000 feet however I am ready for Atalya mountain trail. This trial is a 2,000-foot elevation gain to the summit of 9,121 feet.
Still Locked Down
Our good Governor here in the Land of Enchantment (that is what we call the State of New
Side bell penstemon along the trail.
Mexico) has loosened the lock down. Loosened just a bit that is. Museums and all the sites tourist come to Santa Fe to see are still under lock and key. But New Mexico is called the Land of Enchantment because its natural beauty is enchanting.
Experience the Enchantment
In the current situation and under any conditions to truly experience the enchantment I say you must get out and hike. This time I decided to go hiking up high. For those who are thinking hiking up high, that sounds strenuous. It may be beyond what I can do. I say try it and I guarantee you will like it.
On Atalya sunshine streams through the ponderosa pines.
The trail up Atalya mountain is a fairly famous and popular trail here in Santa Fe. Real hiking men and women talk about doing the trail in two hours. I’m not into speed. I’m into the
experience and of course the views. Plus, I’m not young and crazy! My round trip took a little over five hours. The five hours included time at the summit for little lunch and to take in the excellent views.
Worth the Effort
Along the trail there are several branches. One branch says ‘steep’ the other less so. Even following the less so branches I had
On top of Atalya with Santa Fe below & the Jemez mt. 50 miles distant.
to stop every now and then to get my breath. I kept marching on, working my legs and using my trekking poles to work my upper body. The tree provided shade but the patches of sunshine felt good. When I reached the top, I knew that hiking up high had been worth the effort.
Check out Santa Fe Footprints for hikes and historic tour around Santa Fe.