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New Meetup: Snow Camping & Snowshoeing/XC Skiing Trip to the Valles Caldera

From: Jon
Sent on: Wednesday, December 23, 2009 10:01 AM
Announcing a new Meetup for The New Mexico Backpackers Meetup Group!

What: Snow Camping & Snowshoeing/XC Skiing Trip to the Valles Caldera

When: January 23,[masked]:00 PM

East Fork Jemez River
Santa Fe National Forest Jemez Springs Ranger Station
Jemez Springs, NM 87025

This is a camping and day-hiking trip rather than a backpacking trip, because this winter backpacking is not allowed within the Valles Caldera. We will snow camp in the Jemez on Saturday night, close to the road leading to the Caldera. On Sunday morning we will drive up to the Caldera to snowshoe and XC ski for the day. This will be a great trip for anyone who wants to try snow camping for the first time, because we will be fairly close to the cars. However, please keep in mind that there is the very real possibility of extreme cold, heavy snows and strong winds. Please do not sign up for this trip unless you have appropriate gear. There are no facilities where we are camping, and we will set up our tents about 1/4 mile down a trail leading from the cars. Please note that the initial, very brief portion of this trail is quite steep.

The Valles Caldera is a National Preserve NE of where we are camping in the Jemez, and it is primarily rolling, grassy hills with pine and aspen trees covering the upper slopes of most of the hills. The areas we will be hiking in will be flat to moderate terrain. There is a $10/person fee for day use of the preserve. There will not likely be any running water available to us, so bring with you all the water you need for the day. I intend to stay until sunset on Sunday, but others are welcome to leave earlier if they wish.

Directions to trailhead: Take I-25 north from ABQ to the Bernalillo exit onto US 550 (towards Cuba). Continue on US 550 to San Ysidro where you will turn right onto SR 4. After going through Jemez Springs continue another 8 miles or so to the intersection of SR 126. Go straight through this intersection and continue another 8.5 miles or so to the trailhead (Los Conchas) which is on the left (if you pass Las Conchas Picnic Area you've gone 1/4 mile too far). Look for the large cliff face where people rock climb. There are 2 places to park, one at the trailhead and the other by the cliff. If you park at the cliff you'll walk back across the bridge to get to the smaller parking area and trailhead. It's then a very easy walk to our campsite, 1/4 mile or less down the trail. Look for our tents!

Please Note: Anyone attending our trips must have a signed Waiver & Release form on file with us. This waiver covers all trips and activities for 2010, so you only have to sign it once. If you have not already signed the form this year, it can be downloaded from our Files section and turned in to the organizer when you arrive for the trip.

Please read our RSVP Policy located in our "About" section.

4WD will be necessary, and please keep in mind while driving in the Caldera to the trailhead that vehicles traveling uphill always have the right of way.

Deadline for changing a "Yes" RSVP to a "No" RSVP is January 9, 2010.

Trip dates: January 23 (Saturday night camping) through January 24 (Sunday hike)

Drive time to Saturday night camp: 1 hour, 30 minutes from Albuquerque

Difficulty Rating: Easy

Expected Highs: mid to upper 30's

Expected Lows: 10 to 20 degrees (if a cold front moves in, it could get below 0)

Please note there is a $10 trail fee for Sunday.

Dogs are not allowed in the Valles Caldera.

Please contact Jon with any questions.

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