August 22, 2007

New Mexico trip report

The primary reason for this trip was to visit with my pops (who lives in Jaconita, which is about 15 miles north of Santa Fe), my sister (visiting from New Haven), and my pal McCalla (friend since 5th grade). So to start things off, here’s a shot of the fam. Note the mismatched dogs (Abe is 110#, Zoe is about 6#). Don’t ask how that happened. Note also my sweet choice of matching shit-brown shorts and shit-brown T6 t-shirt. Lookin’ sharp!

On Friday, we rode a complicated ride with McCalla that started with a shuttle to the Aspen Vista trailhead (just below the base of the Santa Fe ski area) and climbed about 2.5k feet up to 12,056 (according to McCalla’s GPS). Here’s a shot of the high-altitude radio towers and the view (the ride goes up the peak on the left above us). Pretty cool to be high enough to be COLD when it was 95 degrees in town. The combination of trails (Raven’s Ridge to Winsor to Chamisa to something else to Dale Ball) included over 6000 feet (honestly, maybe 7000) of descending, dumping us out about 1/2 mile from the Plaza in downtown Santa Fe. Sweet!

Saturday was a return to my old favorite ride – the Quemazon/Pipeline/Guaje Ridge/Cabra loop in Los Alamos. The Pipeline and Guaje Ridge portion is part of the uber-cool (go do it next year!) Pajarito Punishment race course. As we did it, it’s a steep/rocky/technical (see the picture of Sarah on Quemazon) 3000 foot climb to a LONG (almost 10 miles, I think) singletrack descent.

The really interesting thing about most of the riding in Los Alamos is that it’s been extensively restored after the Cerro Grande fire 5 years ago. Not only are there no trees (you can see the burned remnants), there’s a lot less soil, too, since the tree roots (and other plants) helped hold it together. But things are recovering really nicely – the aspens have moved in and are almost 20 feet tall in some places. This shot is from about 3/4 of the way up Quemazon.

The views of town from the trail are pretty neat, now that those pesky trees aren’t in the way. The Guaje Ridge and Cabra trails have been lovingly restored by the local mountain bike club and they’re in great shape – honestly just as fun as ever (or more so, in the case of Cabra). Definitely worth a trip if you’re passing through northern NM.


In any case, lots of fun, though the 7 hour drive wasn’t so great (my back is still sore – I’m no good at long drives these days). I miss NM – hopefully I’ll be able to move back there someday. Here’s a final shot of Cabra trail.