Thursday, June 16, 2011

10 K Trail, Sandia Mountains- Cibola National Forest

This was my first venture into the Sandias. I chose the hike from the Hiking New Mexico book by Laurence Parent. I wish I'd have looked a little more closely at it, because at the trailhead, I was confronted with 10k North and 10k South. I just figured they made a loop that would cross the highway at some point. A case could be made for this, I suppose, using the Crest Trail, but it would involve a much longer hike than the 6.5 miler that the book is showcasing. Anyway, I chose the 10k South,which is not the hike in the book. It crosses the ski runs at one point ,but mostly stays in the forest. When I got to a couple major intersections I had to pull out the Cibola National Forest map for the Sandias,which luckily has a detailed map of the crest area. I took an unintentional detour on a use trail which lead to nice scenic overlook,but then got on the Crest Trail, which seemed to be my only way back without just turning around. Well, we made it to the top, almost, the Crest Trail,kind of just dumps you out unceremoniously, at the chairlift, tramway area without any real clear directions. So we just followed the the dirt road that leads back out to the highway. I kept hoping that there would be signed cut-off trail back to the 10k.I even started down what I though was one. But I thought better of it,seeing as how it was unsigned,and not on the map. Instead we just hiked about a mile along the highway back to the car. Next time I'll prepare better and avoid the crest,which can be little jarring if you're looking for a natural experience. Still, I saw deer, and a turkey and hundreds of butterflies,and at the high elevation, the forest was relatively green and lush,which gave me a nice feeling, even as the smell of smoke, reminded me of what was happening in a once lush forest not so far away.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Eastern Arizona-Coronado and Apache Sitgreaves National Forests

Here's a few more images from the Chiricahuas and the Apache-Sitgreaves.

Fires-Apache Sitgreaves National Forest

My wife and I have enjoyed camping in Eastern Arizona ever since we moved to Las Cruces in 1998. We've camped at Cave Creek, West Turkey Creek,Pinery Canyon and the National Monument in the Chiricahuas. In the Apache- Sitgreaves we've camped at KP Cienega twice and down on the Blue River as well. I've fished in KP Creek, Akers Lake, Fish Creek, Bear Creek, Grant Creek, Lanphier Creek, Blue River and even tried Mamie Creek that runs off of Escudilla Mountain.To watch this beautiful area burning is just heart breaking, I can't imagine what the people who live in the mountain communities must be feeling.Photos are from top: KP Cienega,Bear Wallow Wilderness, Upper Fish Creek and KP Creek.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Trap Pond State Park - Delaware

I've fished here three times now. I don't actually fish the pond-it's more like a small lake and at 107 acres one of the biggest in Delaware- but the small stream that flows out of it called James Branch.There is very little shoreline on the pond that's amenable to fly casting. It is possible to rent a small boat- but I really don't enjoy roasting in the 95 degree sun. The creek is shady and cool and there are occasional areas for a backcast. My first time here I caught some nice size bluegill and red ear sunfish. I was genuinely surprised at their size. This time out, the action was slow throughout the morning but really picked up around lunch time. The fish stayed small, but on two occasions, I saw that at least a couple of lunker panfish lurk in this tiny iron stained stream. The first was a huge splashy false take on my popper, where I saw I flash of red- which made me think it might've been a red ear. The second was when an obviously larger fish took the fly,and put the only legitimate bend in the rod all day. I would've loved to see how big that one really was,but I lost him when he dove under a log.If you go there are few things you should watch out for: ticks, thigh deep mud, and what had to have been rabid raccoon out in the middle of the day who was determined to access the contents of my backpack even as yelled and poked him with my fly rod.