Monday, September 15, 2014

Bear Canyon Arroyo plus

Day 38 Back to San Antonito Open Space

My weakness is spotting a trail that I have not ridden and not knowing where it leads to.  Last time out to this locale, we did not explore a spur trail that led up the ridge. Naturally I had to find out where it went.
View to the south with sandstone
 This trail ends in a neighborhood; all good things must end. Adding the spur to the main loop yields 2.7 miles, which is just enough for a fun evening ride. The terrain here is all sandstone, which makes for some fun technical parts, and generally good riding.

Day 37 Bear Canyon Arroyo Open Space
This was a night ride. I explored the arroyo East and West of Tramway boulevard.
Another big chunk of open space
 I surprised many rabbits, jumping mice, and a nighthawk on the trail at night.
Singletrack west of tramway

This ride extended into the High Desert development and also leads into the National Forest Embudito trailhead

High Desert trails

Day 36 + (extra ride) Crest of Montezuma
This ride is north of Placitas. Because of the lack of developed trails, it is not really a proper ride. There is some short doubletrack near the Kinder Morgan station near Diamond Tail road; it peters out and requires some bushwhacking. I also found some wild horse trails leading into the arroyo. After a distance into the arroyo, my bike toppled over into a juniper. So I would say that this area is better explored on foot. It is BLM land, and there are plans to transfer it to the forest service so that it is better protected. It is not illegal for bikes to be in this little explored area. I saw some additional trails that looked promising but would require passing through private land, so I left them for now.
Not so wildlife in Placitas

Sunday, September 14, 2014

White Mesa

Day 36 White Mesa

Continuing on the theme of geology in New Mexico: The White Mesa area is so named for a top layer of gypsum, with underlying ancient sedimentary rocks. The red ones are the Chinle formation, which is part of the Colorado plateau. The Morrison formation above is tan and apparently is rich in dinosaur fossils. This formation is an anticline that was eroded in the center because of folding and faulting.

White Mesa is the most scenic ride in New Mexico

Travertine springs are a dominant feature

Water issuing from rock, a few hundred feet above the river water table!

Water from the rock in a biblical scene

Trail map at trail head

Dragon back with Cabezon

Avoid the Cryptobiotic soil

Spectacular singletrack

Jurassic and Triassic sediments

Seismosaurus has been spotted in the area

View from the South

I have not ridden the valley yet

This is an amazing spring on the ridge top

Mineral rich water from the rock

Springs feed green oases


Check this singletrack out

Travertine ridges

A seeping spring at the top

Friday, September 12, 2014

Day 35 Jackalope Trail

The jackalope trail is easily overlooked, like its namesake animal:
It is not much for mountain biking: too eroded and steep. But it is great for fossils.
The New Mexico Slickrock: limestone

Embedded brachiopods in limestone

Micro and macro-fossils

Brachiopod shell

Corals perhaps

Marine life 300 million years old

Tiny Indian Paintbrush



Amazing to think that this was once below sea level

Apparently the area was equatorial when the sea existed

Weather to the West

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Mountain Rides Day 31-34

Day 34 North Pine Flat
An unmarked trail takes off from the North area of the Pine Flat picnic area.
The start is near picnic table number 29
It intersects with the Gambel Spur Trail and ends up at Pokerchip (again)

Barbed wire and birdhouse

The days are growing shorter, and cooler

Evening light suffuses the scene

Day 33 Gambel Spur Trail
Gambel Spur Trail From Edelweiss Road
Glimpse of Manzano Mountains

 This ride started at the Gambel Spur trailhead, but instead of proceeding up the spur trail, I went clockwise up the road to the Heatherland Hills Fuel Break Area (before the brick entry gate for Heatherland Hills.) I wonder how much taxpayer money went into building that fuel break around the private land?  If you make your way up the hillside, an indistinct trail becomes apparent; it gets more defined as you travel to the East. Then it connects with Pokerchip, then Forest road 242, then clockwise on to Mahogany, connecting again to Pokerchip, then to Gambel Oak, then finally a nice descent on the Gambel Spur trail. This is an excellent late afternoon ride that I used to do all the time, since before the fuel break existed in 2002 and before Gambel was rerouted into Pokerchip trail. This is among my favorite areas to ride, because it is all above 7000 feet and into Ponderosa pine terrain.

Day 32 Birdhouse Ridge to Tunnel Canyon
Most I am sure prefer to descend on Birdhouse. I prefer to go up. It is a well engineered trail, one that is recently built, and offers nice views to the West as you go up. 
Nice gradual climb onto the ridge

The view from the top with Sandias

Day 31 Chamisoso to Tunnel Canyon Connector
A short but sweet end of the day ride:
This trail is one of the closest to Tijeras starting at Chamisoso

Inviting meadow, with evidence of PiƱon die-off in background

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Day 29 and 30.. almost a third of the way to 100

Day 30 Golden Eagle Trail to Sandia Crest
This is perhaps the best local trail, at least in the top 3 for scenery, length, rideability, and overall good times. It is best ridden with friends, in this case Silas and Ezra.

At the top of the tram - 10,000 feet, the hard way
Day 29 Bosque trail from Avenida Cesar Chavez to Rio Bravo

The trailhead is accessed from the Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque. Prashanth and I rode along the Rio Grande past Rio Bravo as far as the singletrack would take us. The only downside was exuberant overgrowth of weeds, one of which gave me an intensely itchy hypersensitivity reaction. Note the flowers surrounding Prashanth in the photo below. Today the rash is better, but still quite noticeable, to me at least.
Rio Grande State Park

Allergens galore