I've been wanting to do the Chupadera Peak Trail which has its trailhead along the main road( NM 1) going through the Bosque. But it's 9.5 miles, and the timing was just not right for that length of hike this past Sunday(3/1/15). We could have driven around like we've done before,but the numbers of large birds( sandhill cranes, snow geese etc.) that are the attraction here were pretty low. Besides I'd been doing a lot of driving already for a short weekend and really needed to stretch my legs a bit, even if just for an hour or so.
This hike, at a little over 2 miles of walking through the scenic broken country on edge of the Rio Grande valley, fit the bill nicely. It starts off going under a railroad trestle and heading west into a wide desert wash. Eventually the wash "boxes" up with a few twists and turns through a very poorly sorted sandstone/ conglomerate that sports numerous protruding boulders and pebbles in the 30 to 40 foot cliffs. Because the visitor center had no brochures that would've explained the interpretive markers, I overlooked a small natural arch in this section. It's more like a hole through rock, as it turns out( there are photos on the Friends of the Bosque site which also has the brochure in a PDF file). Although the box continues a bit further, the trail turns to the northwest into a side arroyo. It then turns back to the northeast using several switchbacks that took us up to a ridge. It was in this section where we realized we were kind of being followed by a javelina. We gave him plenty of room to trot along, and we continued on to the highpoint of the hike where there is a bench. Here there were views all around: to the flooded fields of the Bosque in the northeast, and the snowy San Mateo Mountains to the southwest.
The trail then took us very steeply down using crude steps cut into the hillside.Go slow here, the gravel is quite slippery. On the last leg we passed by several desert shrubs the were alive many white crowned sparrows. It was sweet to see them. We used to have them come into our yard( in Las Cruces) by the dozens every winter to feed on the seed we put on the ground. But now, it's been quite a few years since we've had even one. Note: this is a desert hike in the Indian Wells Wilderness and is very different terrain from the lands on the Rio Grande floodplain.