Hike Up Mesa de Las Casas

By Stan Renfro
Mesa de Las Casas
At 10 a.m., on Friday, December 8, I will lead a hike up Mesa de Las Casas, leaving from the intersection of Camino Corto and Vista Hermosa, located above the Trailhouse store.
Bring water and food, and don’t forget that the weather may get colder than it is, and may surprise us. The journey takes about five hours, and is precipitous.

Stick Structures; We Are Not Alone

By R.W.

Since there were so many searching, probing and perceptive entries on the Jemez Post Facebook page concerning the issue of Stick Structures in the National Forests, I feel compelled to clear the matter up.

Yes, there were some good comments, and yes, some were reaching the heart of the matter, which is not surprising, since the answer to the mystery is quite simple.

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Another Dog Caught in a Trap in the Jemez

By R.W.

 A dog being walked by a couple of Jemez folks ran into an animal trap set in an arroyo beside a designated road, on Forest Road 376, about half a mile north of the Gilman Tunnels.
They were alerted to the animal’s distress when it began shrieking and jumping around in panic. It was easily within view and quickly released by its owners. They observed that there was fresh blood sprinkled all over the trap (not the dog’s), and a chunk of meat a few feet away such that an animal would have to step on the trap to get to the meat.

This dog was not too badly injured, but there have been ugly incidents in the past with terrible consequences for people’s pets, traumatic for both the animals and their owners.

Some time ago Patti Foy, local resident, had an experience with her dogs, walking them in the Jemez, who became injured in traps set near a road. She wrote an informative article, which is worth revisiting, in which she gives useful information for people who might find themselves in a similar situation.

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Santa Fe National Forest Offices Closed

Julie Anne Overton 
Acting Public Affairs Officer, SANTA FE NATIONAL FOREST

All Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF) offices will be closed Friday, Nov. 10, 2017, in observance of Veterans Day, which honors the service of all who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Forest offices will resume regular business hours on Monday, Nov. 13.

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Watch Out For Danger of Burned Trees

Chris Judson


Photo: NPS Photo
Dead, falling, and fallen trees in an area severely burned by the Las Conchas Fire in 2011
One day in October, a hiker in Bandelier National Monument’s backcountry stopped along Frijoles Creek to have lunch and cool her feet in the water.  She took off her backpack and put it just behind her on the creek bank.  A breeze came up, and she heard a sharp CRAACCK right overhead.  She looked up and then very quickly sprang to the other side of the creek, just as a burned Ponderosa pine fell right where she had been sitting, crushing her backpack but very narrowly missing her.  She came back shaken and scratched, but her swift realization of the situation and fast reaction kept her from serious injuries.Continue reading

Fall Color Road Bike Ride

Sandra West


Inline image 1

Photo by ©Phillip Noll

Jemez Springs.

Pajarito Environmental Education Center (PEEC) and the Los Alamos Mountaineers (LAM) are partnering to offer a road ride from Jemez Springs to the Gilman Tunnels and back on Sunday, October 29th. Join Ross Lemons on a paved ride to enjoy fall colors, great company, and colorful geology.

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Volunteers Needed For Rio Cebolla Wetland Restoration


We will work with Santa Fe National Forest personnel to construct several beaver dam analogs (BDAs) on the Rio Cebolla meadows downstream of where the Cebolla flows under FR 376. The work area is approximately 10 miles north of Porter’s Landing on FR 376.

This is the first stage of a project to increase riparian wetland area, to improve water quality, and to benefit fish habitat on the Rio Cebolla. We will be applying techniques similar to those Bill Zeedyk taught at a NM Trout workshop in 2015, including post pounding, rock placement, and willow weir construction. Some of the work will be in-stream and other parts will be on the stream banks. We suggest you bring waders if you plan to work in the stream.

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Valles Caldera Geology Field Trip (Post edited with corrected date inserted)

By Sandra West


Geologist Fraser Goff, who wrote the book on Valle geology, is leading a trip to the Valles Caldera with his wife, Cathy Goff,  internationally known geologist, on a day trip to see geothermal springs in the Valles Caldera National Preserve.

On Saturday, October 21 (please note, the previously posted date was incorrect), explore six different areas in the Valles Caldera with geologists Fraser and Cathy Goff. This is an amazing opportunity to learn about the volcanology of the preserve and see little-known geothermal springs with the person who literally wrote the book on the Valle’s geology.

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Earth Art Workshop for Adults and Children at the Los Alamos Nature Center


Green to Yellow Leaves by Andy Goldsworthy.

On Sunday, October 8, local artist and educator Liz Martineau will offer an Earth Art Workshop for adults and children at the Los Alamos Nature Center. Based on the work of artist Andy Goldsworthy, Earth Art provides participants inspiration to create their own works of art using natural materials.

The workshop is $8 for individuals and $10 for a pair of artists working together. Advance registration is available at www.peecnature.org.

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Hiking Looming Birding Movies and Drawing and Painting (what more could you ask for) At the Pajarito Environmental Education Center

By Sandra West


Photo Chris Swanson.

Natural arch.

On Sunday, October 8, avid hiker Chris Swanson will lead an afternoon hike to our local window rock. This hike is about two miles round trip with around 400 feet of elevation gain.

To participate, register online at www.peecnature.org. Afterward, meet Chris and other hikers at 1:00 p.m. on October 8 at Mitchell Trailhead (located at the corner of Arizona and 45th streets). Participants need to bring water, snacks, hat, sunscreen, and good hiking shoes or boots.

Chris Swanson is a long time avid hiker and trail runner who also enjoys rock scrambling and nature photography. New to Los Alamos, Chris moved here in 2016 from Southern California and hit the ground running (literally), learning and loving the local trails.

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New Mexico Rail Runner Express Pass Available for Both Weekends of Fiesta

Take the train and avoid the traffic and parking issues and purchase the special Balloon Fiesta & Rail Pass, available for both weekends of the Fiesta.

Included in the Pass:

  • All-Zone, All Day Pass on the Rail Runner
  • Shuttle to and from the Los Ranchos/Journal Center Rail Runner Station and the Balloon Fiesta Park
  • Admission to a morning or afternoon Balloon Fiesta session on the day you choose

Dates Available:

  • Saturday, October 7
  • Sunday, October 8
  • Saturday, October 14
  • Sunday, October 15

Learn More
Purchase Tickets

Questions? Call (505) 245-7245 or (866) 795-RAIL (7245)

Enjoy Bandelier – And Other Public Lands – With No Entrance Fee on National Public Lands Day

By Chris Judson


Photo: NPS 
Ancestral Pueblo dwellings on Bandelier’s Main Loop Trail.
Often just known as NPLD, National Public Lands Day  is generally billled as the nation’s largest single-day volunteer effort for public lands.  On this day, thousands of people do volunteer work such as trail maintenance and litter pickup, while others make a special point of taking the day to enjoy the public lands that belong to everyone. To celebrate this special day, many federal lands, and some state parks as well, offer free admission.

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Hard Work Pays Off On Bandelier’s Frijoles Canyon Trail  

By Chris Judson


Photo NPS

Trail tread before and after rehab

One of Bandelier National Monument’s most scenic and popular trails, the Frijoles Canyon Trail between Upper Crossing and Alcove House, can now be hiked without having to climb over the huge logjams and other barriers caused by the floods following the 2011 Las Conchas Fire.   For several years volunteer crews have been gradually working their way up the canyon, making spaces in the debris piles, removing hundreds of fallen trees, and re-establishing the trail tread.  In places a new trail alignment had to be located and approved.  Then this year, efforts included not only the Bandelier staff and local volunteers, but also the Rocky Mountain and YMCA Youth Corps.  With everyone’s hard work, there is again a real trail for the entire five-mile distance, and the effects of the floods are impressive parts of the landscape rather than obstacles.

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Smoke Rising Over Gilman and Two Other Fires in Santa Fe National Forest

By Julie Anne Overton


Three lightning-caused fires on the Santa Fe National Forest are putting up visible smoke today as crews keep an eye on the Deer Creek, Beaver Creek, and Ojitos Fires.

A lightning strike on Friday started the Deer Creek Fire, estimated at about eight acres, on the Jemez Ranger District next to the site of the Peggy Fire which started on July 18.  As crews monitor the Deer Creek Fire, which is about 2 miles northwest of the Gilman Tunnels, smoke has been reported from US Highway 550 and may impact the Pueblo of Jemez and the communities of Gilman and Cañon.

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New Mexico Culture Squared (NMC2) Presents Los Luceros FREE Harvest Festival

By Mary Ann Hatchitt 

Photo: NM Department of Cultural Affairs. 

Historic Los Luceros.

New Mexico Culture Squared (NMC2), a program of the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs, will present a Harvest Festival and a free outdoor concert at the Los Luceros Historic Site in Alcalde on Sunday, September 17, 2017 from 9:00AM to 3:00PM.

This FREE event includes a farmers’ market, apple harvest activities, cider-making, tours of the sites, serenaded tours of the orchard, many other family-friendly activities on the stunning Los Luceros Historic Property.  Musical entertainment will be provided Lone Piñon, an acoustic trio from New Mexico whose music celebrates their region’s cultural diversity. www.lonepinon.com/

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News from Deep in the Woods


The Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF) expects a large number of visitors for the final holiday weekend of the summer season, but please bear in mind that the (SFNF) Supervisor’s Office and all Ranger District offices will be closed Monday, Sept. 4, 2017, in observance of Labor Day.  Normal business hours will resume on Tuesday, Sept. 5.

This, and other Forest news:

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See the Solar Eclipse in the Valles Caldera Tomorrow


The Great American Eclipse is coming, and everyone is invited to the Valles Caldera National Preserve to watch it.

Join rangers to witness and learn more about this spectacular natural event, free of charge, 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 21 at the Valle Grande Entrance Station on N.M. 4. The maximum partial eclipse will be reached at approximately 11:45 a.m. MDT, Monday.
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Bandelier Honors Youth Work Crews

By Chris Judson


NPS Photo

Members of the 2017 Bandelier Conservation Corps, Bandelier Preservation Corps, and the Abiquiu-Ghost Ranch Crew.

Recently, a graduation ceremony at Bandelier National Monument honored three youth crews organized through the Rocky Mountain Youth Corps for their ten weeks of summer work.  The Bandelier Conservation Corps worked on trails in the park, the Bandelier Preservation Corps stabilized ancient stone walls in the archeological sites in Frijoles Canyon, and the Abiquiu-Ghost Ranch Crew did trail building and improvement near Abiquiu Lake and at Ghost Ranch.  All three crews worked hard outdoors, learning to use hand tools, assessing the best approaches for needed work, and perhaps most importantly, working together with other crew members and supervisors.

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Are You a Stone Monkey?

By Sandra West


 Join Forest Altherr for a presentation about his climbing experiences in Yosemite.

At the Los Alamos Mountaineers meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 22 Forest Altherr will talk about his rock climbing experiences in Yosemite. The presentation will begin at 7:15 p.m. at the Los Alamos Nature Center. The Los Alamos Mountaineers meeting will start at 7 p.m. and cover information about upcoming outings.
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Restoration and Replacement Projects in Frijoles Canyon

By Chris Judson


NPS Photo 

These ladders leading to Alcove House are among the ones that will be replaced. 


For anyone who has ever wondered if the ladders leading up the cliffs in Bandelier National Monument are replaced regularly, the answer is yes.  And the proof will be easily seen this fall, when the park maintenance and preservation crews will replace the long ladders leading up to Alcove House, as well as the shorter ones that provide access to the smaller caves in the cliffs. As might be expected, that means that the ladders will occasionally be closed during the work.

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A Little Hiccup (Note from the Editor, R.W.)

I am currently enjoying a brief respite from being “connected” to the world, and apologize to anyone who needed information that I am in the habit of posting. I will now continue to blunder around in the wilds of the American Southwest, perhaps sneaking in a few photo essays and odd bits of notices sent to me  at wired moments over the next few days.

Opera at Bandelier

By Joanie Budzileni


Graphic: Guilds of the Santa Fe Opera

Live long and prosper!  For the 6th year, The Los Alamos Opera Guild of The Guilds of The Santa Fe Opera, Inc. is presenting Opera on the Rocks at Bandelier National Monument on Saturday, September 30, 2017, National Public Lands Day. This year features scenes from Mozart’s comic opera The Abduction from the Seraglio with a new adaptation that moves it into the future to a universe that looks a lot like Star Trek.

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National Parks Senior Pass Prices Increase


It’s official, Senior Pass prices are going up August 28th. An annual, and lifetime pass with be available for $20 and $80 respectively.

On August 28, 2017, the price of the America the Beautiful – The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Senior Pass will increase for the first time since 1994. The additional revenue will be used to enhance the visitor experience in parks. Learn more about the changes, what they mean for you, and how the additional funds will be used.

Why is the price of the Senior Pass increasing?

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Off-Road Vehicles Will be Impounded if Found Riding Within Designated Wilderness Areas.


Call them what you will – four-wheelers, all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) or utility vehicles (UTVs) – but remember that off-road vehicles of any kind are always prohibited within congressionally designated wilderness areas.

This past weekend, ATV tracks were observed within the San Pedro Parks Wilderness on the Coyote Ranger District of the Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF).   San Pedro Parks is one of the original wilderness areas created by the Wilderness Act of 1964, which set aside “primeval” federal land to be managed as “an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.”

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Street Music

Photos R.W.

No hail bouncing of red rocks today, so here are some images of street musicians bouncing of the sidewalks of cities in East Central Europe instead. These shots were taken late March, early April in Prague, Gdańsk and Warsaw.

Lady in red hat ignores paper cup in back alley in Prague.

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Los Amigos de Valles Caldera Make a Date Change

Los Amigos in action.

Due to complications from the Cajete Fire, Los Amigos de Valles Caldera, Valles Caldera National Preserve’s industrious friends group, will be celebrating their 10th anniversary and the grand opening of the preserve bookstore on July 22nd during our 17th Preserve Birthday Bash! Between 10:00 am and 2:00 pm, enjoy music, refreshments, artist demonstrations, facepainting, visiting wildlife from the New Mexico Wildlife Center, a 10% discount at the bookstore, souvenirs, and a drawing. A ribbon cutting will be held at the new bookstore at noon.

For additional information about this event and the Preserve Birthday Bash, check out our events calendar, https://www.nps.gov/vall/planyourvisit/calendar.htm. See you at the party!