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Car camping in Chama Canyon

This trip is being cross posted with the New Mexico Survival Meetup and will be a car camping trip to the Rio Chama Wilderness.  The developed campground will be closed for this trip, so we will be camping at the primitive campsite. There are no facilities or water at the primitive campsite.  This will be a laid back and relaxing trip.  As always, there will be opportunity to talk about, demonstrate, and learn about various outdoor and survival topics.  A few topics that can get discussed on the fly are:  first aid, HAM radios,  land navigation (map, compass, GPS),  cold weather clothing and gear,  4X4, and the art of Dutch oven cooking.  Anyone attending that has knowledge in any area is free to share.  In the past, there has always been a pot luck type dinner on these trips, so bring your favorite camp recipe and share.  

There are many day hike opportunities in the area, plus a cool monastery at the end of FR 151 where the monks make their own beer.  Chavez canyon is a short but cool slot canyon next to the monastery.  Ojitos canyon is a longer hike, but pretty awesome.  

Be aware that it will be cold up there, so prepare accordingly.  This will be a good chance to test out all that winter gear you bought over the summer.  

Directions:  Take I25 North to Santa Fe.  Exit I25 at The Santa Fe Relief Route 599 and take 599 to 285 North.  Take 285/84 North through Espanola.  Continue on 84 to the turn off for Forest Road 151.  The turn off for FR 151 is on the left a couple of miles North  of the enterance for Ghost Ranch.  Coordinates to the turnoff for FR 151:  WGS84,  Lat/Long  [masked] N  [masked] W  /  UTM  13S  364204  4022507.  The area we will be camping is about 12 miles down FR 151 on the left side of the road.   If you hit the monastery or the turn off to the developed campground, you went too far.  The road in is suitable for 2 wheel drive when dry.  I have seen people get the the monastery at the end of the canyon in many a Toyota Prius.  When wet, it can be impassable for any vehicle.  There are a number of steep drops down to the river along the road as well.  

Coordinates to the campsite:  WGS84,  Lat/Long  [masked] N[masked] W  /  UTM  13S[masked]  4024289.

Radio Frequencies:  For those with HAM capability, there are several repeaters along the way that we can use to communicate with. The Megalink system can be used for most, if not all of the drive up to the campsite.  The Sandia Crest repeater [masked] +, pl. 100.0) could be used up to just South of Santa Fe.  The Elk Mountain Megalink repeater [masked] +, pl. 67.0) could be used from Santa Fe possibly all the way to the campsite, depending on the radio and antenna being used.  The Taos Ski Valley Megalink repeater [masked] +.+, pl. 67.0) could be useful as well.  The Megalink system and be used for communication over most of the state, click her for more information:  http://nm5ml.com/ .  Another repeater that might be useful is the Cerro Pelon ARES repeater [masked] +, pl. 141.3) above Abiquiu, this repeater will almost certainly be workable from Abiquiu all the way to the campsite.   We will also be monitory the national simplex calling frequency [masked]), probably only good from the end of Chama Canyon to the campsite and possibly along the route up with good line of site.  

Some of the members will be leaving Friday evening, so feel free to come up early.

Friendly dogs are welcome, but be aware, dogs must be leashed in the campground.

Any questions, please email Randy


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  • Don

    Looking forward to meeting the group. I'm a ham operator and know a bit about land navigation and GPS. I plan to arrive at the campsite by 1 pm on Saturday.

    November 8, 2013

    • Gina

      This is such a short notice but if you want to car pull let me know I just came from work and will like to go tomorrow.

      November 8, 2013

    • Don

      Gina, yes, I sent you an email with my phone number. Please call to make a plan.

      November 9, 2013

  • Randy F.

    We are just leaving now. We will be listening to the Megalink for those with radios. My callsign is KF5MCV and Kristin is KF5MCZ.

    November 8, 2013

  • Dusty

    I would like to leave Albq early Sat morning and carpool from here or Santa Fe or meet someone at the dirt road turn-off. My car doesn't have the clearance needed-

    November 6, 2013

    • Dusty

      It's a mini cooper. I'm not taking my baby on a dirt road : )

      November 7, 2013

    • Gina

      Hi Dusty, If you want we can car pull together although my car is a Chevy cobalt.

      November 8, 2013

  • Roger G [Bear M.

    I'm planning on heading up Friday p.m. too, so long as I can get my errands done. Bringing wood. Looking forward to an interesting weekend. Look for my gray Toyota 4Runner. Have GPS, will travel.

    November 8, 2013

  • Randy F.

    Kristin, Bonita, and myself plan on coming up tonight. Kristin and I will be pretty late gettin in.

    November 8, 2013

  • Mark L.

    Is anyone going tonight?

    November 8, 2013

  • Randy F.

    Firewood will likely be pretty sparse at the campsite, so bringing some to contribute would be a good idea.

    November 6, 2013

    • Eric K.

      I have a tub of wood set aside to bring.

      November 7, 2013

    • Kristin

      Thanks Eric! We will be bringing some too.

      November 8, 2013

  • Eric K.

    Will the pot luck be lunch or diner?

    November 6, 2013

    • Randy F.

      Potluck will be dinner on Saturday.

      November 6, 2013

  • Annemarie M.

    Sorry I had to bow out. Really wanted to make this trip!

    November 5, 2013

  • Emmy K.

    would be interested,. i am car fee and live in santa fe. any carpoolers out there?

    October 27, 2013

    • Ilene

      I am driving up from Albuquerque Saturday morning. I hope I do not chicken out, but the weather has been sunny again. Let me know if you need a ride? Share gas?

      1 · October 31, 2013

    • Ilene

      Emmy - I changed my mind. With daylight savings and working Friday til 6 pm, by the time I get to Chama it could be 11 am. Sun goes down about 5pm. Not enough daylight for me.

      November 2, 2013

  • Dusty

    There is a section of the Continental Divide Trail that comes thru' this stretch of the Chama Canyon, great fun for a day hike-

    October 30, 2013

    • Ilene

      That sounds like an area I would like to go to. If its not a 'hard' hike, I'll go there.

      October 31, 2013

  • Ilene

    Are you meeting up there at 9am?
    What time do I need to leave Alb to be there?
    Um, will my smart phone use coordinates to find you all?
    Fires allowed?

    October 31, 2013

  • Annemarie M.

    First trip with this group - looking forward to it. Penny Truelock will also be joining me (and signing up as a member of this meet up group later today).

    October 27, 2013

    • Ilene

      Me too. Here it is - the eve of November, and I have not been out with this group. I am looking forward to it.

      October 31, 2013

  • Keith F.

    We just camped there a week ago. The developed campground as well as the two official named dispersed campgrounds are closed off. There are a few very nice areas that are open. The one we camped at is nicer that the developed campground. The distance from the highway to the developed campground is 12 miles with the best available dispersed campground being about 11.5. The monastery is 13 miles back.

    1 · October 27, 2013

    • Randy F.

      Cool, thanks Keith. Our backup campsite is probably the same one you all stayed at.

      October 28, 2013

  • Patrick L. L.

    Sounds like fun. Sure sorry I currently work Saturdays!

    October 27, 2013

  • Mark L.

    This sounds great. I may have to back out due to the fact I don't know if I'll be off. But I'm hoping. If anyone is a for sure yes and there is enough room let me known and I'll give up my spot.

    October 26, 2013

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