Monday, October 10, 2011

Wild Rivers Recreation Area

Today I did one of my very favorite hikes. It is one that I have done at least 5-6 times and each time it seems to be more beautiful than ever before. This in the Wild Rivers Recreation Area and it is located near Taos and Questa, NM. Since I have previously done all three trails that lead down into the gorge, I knew which would be better for going down and which would be better for coming out. There is a difference!

All three trails lead to the Rio Grande river and there is a trail that goes along the river to connect them. The elevation change on each trail is between 680-800 feet over a distance of about a mile for each trail. I chose to go down the Big Arsenic Springs Trail and come out the La Junta Trail. This was a wise decision because the La Junta is the steepest and you even have to climb up a short ladder and open metal stair steps. I'm just more comfortable going up steep as opposed to coming down. There is a far greater chance of falling when coming down.

The river trail that connects the Big Arsenic and La Junta is absolutely beautiful and it is relatively flat. While hiking the 2.5 mile trail I saw only 4 people fishing and on the way down Big Arsenic, I met 3 people coming out. That is the total of 7 people that I over the course of the entire hike. I do not understand why more people do not visit this area, but that's the way it is each time I come here.

Halfway on the river trail, I stopped to call my friends Mary Ruth and Mac MIddlebrook. I was at the spot where Mary Ruth and I have twice camped for 2 nights each. I was not able to talk to her, but Mac has also hiked this area and could relate to what I was describing to him.

After taking that break, I continued on to La Junta which is so named because it is where the Red River meets the Rio Grande. There used to be a foot bridge that went across the Red and met another trail. That bridge has been washed out. I have pictures from years ago when Mary Ruth and I crawled across a big log that was all that was left of the bridge. Even the log is now gone.

The total distance I covered was somewhere between 5-6 miles with significant elevation changes which is what I needed to do in order to keep my training level in preparation for the Grand Canyon Service Project. While I was hiking, Hollie was riding the park roads. I think he rode about 27 miles which had lots of hills. He told me he saw dozens of tarantula.

Tomorrow we will be going to Pagosa Springs, CO. We will probably be there 2 mights and then go to Durango, CO.

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