Sunday, May 11, 2014
San Andres Canyon, Heart Attack Trail Loop- Lincoln National Forest
I drove back, after deciding I'd driven far enough and it was probably a bit hot to do the Gobbler's Knob Trail, to the Upper San Andres trailhead. We got started amongst the newly leafed out maples and oaks. There was a trickle of water in the creek. At first we walked along the old road on the south side of the creek. In short order I spied the first of several spring fed livestock tanks. The water was that slightly cloudy, light grayish blue color typical of springs and creeks in areas with limestone bedrock. I walked down to the muddy water's edge to see if there were any fish. I thought I saw one, but on closer inspection it looked to be neotonic salamander. It had the look of a giant (> 8 inches) tadpole. I've seen this once before in Nambe Lake in the Pecos Wilderness of Santa Fe National Forest. We stayed on the streamside trail rather than returning to the road. We checked out another one of the ponds. In the vicinity there were some artifacts of an old homestead. In just a few steps upstream was the trickling spring, emerging from the mud, that supplies all the water for this series of ponds. The trail crossed the creek and went above. After awhile, I realized I was walking on the sunny south facing side of the canyon and though it might be better to rejoin the road on the other side. Mistake. We made our way down and up and over and after stumbling around in the fallen trees and the bright green maple bushes figured out that the road was no longer there and probably had rejoined the trail at some point.