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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.

Eldorado Cactus Garden

Eldorado Cactus Garden

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

Layout of Cactus at Eldorado

Cactus Flower

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.

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.

I Need Fresh Air

I Need Fresh Air

I need fresh air. We are still locked down. The NYT has published stories that sun, warm temperatures MAY not kill this virus. Never mind that it kills all known viruses and fresh air and sunshine has been good for people for centuries.

Where to Go?
A beautiful day to be on a trail

A beautiful day to be on a trail in the Galisteo Basin. You can see for 50 miles.

The main question I had was where to go. Last week I had led a group up into the mountains and hiked among the trees. This week I wanted semi flat and wide-open terrain. I knew the trails at Galisteo Basin were just the ticket. The Galisteo Basin is only a fifteen-minute drive south of Santa Fe.

The Hike.
Old windmill stand silent

Old windmill stand silent along a trail in the Galisteo Basin.

I began the hike at 8:30 am. I need fresh air and it was plentiful. The temperature was just right. Not to cool and not to hot. The sky was clear and the sun was shining bright. The views extended for 50 miles in all direction. I like these trails because as I said they are fairly flat. At least they start out that way. The view is un-interrupted for 360 degrees around you. Starting a hike on this fairly flat terrain allows your mussels to flex and stretch.  You fill your lungs with fresh clean air and spirts begin to lift.

Going up.

The trails at Galisteo Basin are not all flat. After you get your legs working and you breath in copious amounts of fresh Santa Fe air you begin to go up hill. The ridges are not too high. Just enough to work the legs a bit more. The climb makes me take some deep breaths. I take more deep breaths. I need fresh air! I’m getting that fresh air!

On Top

The ridges are certainly not the top of the world here around Santa Fe but they do provide and unobstructed view for miles around.  I never get tired of these fantastic views which hiking around Santa Fe provide.

Finish

Three hours on the trial has revived my spirts and given me hope for the future.

A hike with Santa Fe Footprints is just the ticket for you.