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One Rock Dams

One Rock Dams

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.

Layout of three 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 Love E-Bikes

I Love E-Bikes

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.

Why peddle?

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

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

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.

Hike Among the Cactus

Hike Among the Cactus

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.

Cactus Flowers.
Flaming Hedge HogPrickly Pear floweringBlooming YuccaApache Plume with Tree chollaClaret Cup cactus blooming on May 22Sky over Arroyo Hondo Trail

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.

Christmas in Santa Fe is Magical.

Christmas in Santa Fe is Magical.

 

Christmas in Santa Fe Farolito Walk on Canyon Road

Farolito Walk on Canyon Road on Christmas Eve.

Christmas in Santa Fe is one of my most favorite times of the year. Christmas in Santa Fe is magical. The trees in the plaza are filled with beautiful lights of many colors. There are free performances in the Cathedral by such groups as the Apprentices of the Santa Fe Opera. The famous Desert Chorale performs and numerous locations around town. Loretto Chapel, home of the miracle  stairway, has a Christmas concert on Christmas Eve.

On of the most beloved events is the Christmas Eve walk up Canyon Road. The road is lined with farolitos. Not the plastic ones with electric lights but real ones. Paper bags with sand in the bottom and a candle burning in the middle. Many of the art galleries are open with bond fires out front with hot refreshments.

Of course, there is the shopping. Shopping in Santa Fe is unequaled. But, Christmas in Santa Fe is magical and for the reasons above and many more it should not be missed.

When you need to take a day off from the fantastic skiing or the incredible shopping, consider a tour of this historic city. Click here for more information about a great Historic Walking Tour.

Pendleton Blankets

Pendleton Blankets

Blankets have long been important for both Indian and early Spanish settlers of New Mexico. They provided warmth, shelter and possible most important, status. Many tribes had long established weaving traditions. Indians began to acquire machine-made blankets in the late 19th century. This was done mostly as a matter of convenience. These became known as Indian trading blankets. These trade blankets became a standard medium of exchange in the old west trading post.

Pendleton Woolen Mills was founded in 1889. They became a well-known manufacture of these trading blankets. Pendleton designers gathered information from tribes across the country to determine the preferred designs, colors and geometric shapes for this market.

The Navajo are celebrated for their excellent hand weaving skills. The Pendleton blankets are still considered an enduring symbol of their culture.

Your Santa Fe Footprints guide will provide you with the history of art in Santa Fe and also advise on the locations for excellent Indian blankets.