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ROCK n SUN Hike to where they meet

  • Feb 3, 2013 · 9:30 AM
  • This location is shown only to members

Experience a fine northern New Mexico winter and hike to a known petroglyph panel in search of an undiscovered sun marker. We'll visit one of 2 likely candidates depending on current weather, soil moisture, and road conditions.

The rocks at El Malpais NCA are full of surprises. Cross Quarter - a.k.a. Imbolc - occurs on February 3, at 8:57am. The sun's apparent path in the sky on 2/3 will be halfway between Winter Solstice and Vernal Equinox

Perform fine citizen science (thanks to Khondeh for this foto) as we search for a similar sun marker on Imbolc. This foto shows a high noon sun marker to our Option B on a winter solstice hike: http://www.meetup.com/hiking-204/photos/12302682/ Bring your cameras & please feel free to take & post fotos, so they can be forwarded to BLM archaeologists.

Hiking time will vary greatly depending on current conditions and the objective (option A or B). ALL HIKE OPTIONS ARE OFF TRAIL. PLEASE CONTACT A BLM-ER IF YOU NEED TO LEAVE THE SAFETY OF THE GROUP. Expect this to be a strenuous hike. If there is an unseasonably heavy snow dump, we may need gaiters, snow shoes &/or hiking/skiing poles. In any event, early February is always challenging and exciting. For some minutes we can be stripping winter clothes as we hike and heat up, then start adding them as we cool at naturalist stops. Wildlife tracking is at its best, so be vigilant and maybe we'll have a close encounter with some mega fauna.

Appreciate the artistry of the ancestors. ( http://www.meetup.com/hiking-204/events/13785108/ is a previous meetup to our site A option.) Both rock art sites have many rich images. Although precise dating of rock art is difficult, we will unfold the history of the ancestral southwest and relate it to other familiar sites, like Chaco, Bandelier, Mesa Verde, Cahokia, Phoenix, & Mexico City.

Bask in the sun (we hope we get some) on Cretaceous shore lines with little worries for the sharks whose teeth we may observe. Ponder the cyclical inundation of the continents during times of global heating. Connect the sediments on which we tread with the CO2 we release driving to & fro.

Visit with respect. We will refrain from walking or climbing on or atop ancestral sites. We will approach gracefully and refrain from touching the rock art, disturbing any sites, as well as eating or drinking around these sites. Enjoy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AvAuUeJoTIQ

Be a responsible CO2 emitter and carpool if you can. The drive from ABQ's Big I is a little under 1.5 hours 1-way in ideal driving conditions. Come early and enjoy the ranger station exhibits and clean rest rooms. 4 WHEEL DRIVE IS HIGHLY ADVISED for the drive from the ranger station to trailhead.

SCHEDULE

0930 Depart the ranger station (station opens at 0830). Please be on time to avoid slowing the group. Carpool, if you got em

1000 Park at trail head

OPTION A

Part 1. Climb to site A. Vertical gain is 500 feet steepening sharply at the top. BRING: STURDY FOOTWEAR; if snow, bring traction (poles, waterproof footwear with traction) Horizontal distance is approximately 1/2 mile to petroglyphs. The vehicles are in site, if we choose this path.

Part 2. If we dont see signs of an imminent sun event, we will continue to a Pueblo III mesa-top site. Hike to Pueblo III structure (30+ rooms). Vertical gain is 250 feet, horizontal distance is approximately 0.7 miles.

If the snow is too deep, the dirt road too mushy, or the clouds preclude a sun event, we will park off the side of paved road. In this case we'll forego Part 1. and go directly to Part 2: hike directly to the mesa top. If the sun comes out, we will press on to the petroglyphs of Part 1 once we are on the mesa top.

Return via the mesa top, then descend steep terrain to the vehicles.

1430 End hike. Depart parking area

OPTION B

If snow levels are too deep, we'll visit a known equinoctal and solsticial marker, and discover if it is active at cross quarter. This is an easier hike than Option A in ordinary circumstances, but its choice means deeper snow and more challenging hiking. Parking is on tarmac off the highway.

1400 End hike. Depart parking area

CHECK BACK HERE Saturday 2/2 FOR WEATHER AND GEAR UPDATE; OR IN CASE OF CANCELLATION. If the weather is predicted to be inclement, then the trip will be cancelled on or before 2/2. Long range forecast:
http://www.accuweather.com/en/us/grants-nm/87020/february-weather/334578?monyr=2/1/2013

GEAR Wear sturdy boots, warm outerwear, and gloves for ascending the mesa. Bring a lunch or snack and plenty of water. Bring a 4x4 or carpool with someone who has one. In the event of snow over a few inches deep, bring snow gear: poles, gaiters, traction boots or snowshoes. Be prepared for sub-freezing temperatures!

FORMALITIES BLM hikes are open to all and free of pets, firearms, and intoxicants. Walkers should be able to sustain walking for up to three 1 hour periods (with frequent stops) over 3 to 4 miles of variable terrain with up to 600 feet of elevation gain in snow.

Map:

http://www.nps.gov/common/commonspot/customcf/apps/maps/showmap.cfm?alphacode=elma&parkname=El%20Malpais

To give all hopefulls an equal chance, each registrant will sign up individually. Please email with questions or call 5052876607.

Happy Trails!

References:

Wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archaeoastronomy

Opinions & fotos: http://www.cpluhna.nau.edu/People/sw_archaeoastronomy.htm

http://www.scienceviews.com/indian/suncalendar.html

Musings: http://gamblershouse.wordpress.com/category/research/archaeoastronomy/

And a past college class: http://www.azarchsoc.org/Resources/Documents/CERT%20Archaeoastronomy%20of%20the%20Southwest.pdf

Other fotos: http://www.public.asu.edu/~ljhowell/Petroglyphs.htm

http://net.indra.com/~dheyser/rockart.html http://www.arara.org/Photo_Galleries.html

Links: http://www.petroglyphs.us/petroglyphs_links.htm

American Rock Art Research Asso. http://www.arara.org/ meets in ABQ May 2013



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  • Paul Y.

    Thanks All for coming out on & making this a wunnerful hike!

    Did anyone figure out what all the birds were up to on the mesa top?

    My biggest surprise was Cliff's foto of the winter solstice hike. Looks like we may have a real sun dagger there.

    Stay tuned for more hikes. Probably an equinox hike on 3/18 or 3/24.

    Happy trails!

    February 7, 2013

  • Oscar

    Another outstanding hike by Paul. Always a great education, too!

    February 3, 2013

  • David

    Great day! Thank you Paul for a fun and informative morning.

    February 3, 2013

  • Paul Y.

    NWS forecast for tomorrow now sez, "A slight chance of rain and snow showers after 11am. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 53. West wind 5 to 10 mph becoming north in the morning. Chance of precipitation is 10%." Better stick with plans to use 4WD from the ranger station to the trailhead. The forecast discussion sounds like there's not much moisture available tomorrow. And better bring rain gear just in case. Cheer!

    February 2, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I will be driving up in a 4x4 and have room for 3 others comfortably. If someone would like to tag along let me know.

    February 1, 2013

    • sybil k.

      I would like to take you up on the offer to ride with you. i am coming from Corrales and could meet you at the Home Depot just west of 528 on 550. call me at[masked] or reply. Thanks, Sybil

      February 1, 2013

    • Cliff

      I am interested in riding as well. I live in NE Abq.

      February 2, 2013

  • Paul Y.

    Hi Trekkers! NWS sez the Grants Sunday weather should be partly sunny with a high of 52F. This and the lack of precip means 4WD shouldnt be required. There is a 2 mile stretch of bumpy dirt road, so dont let me dissuade you from enjoying a smooth ride in a sturdy vehicle. 6" clearance 2WD should be adequate. This good weather invites us to choose OPTION A. See you before 9:30AM!

    February 1, 2013

  • sybil k.

    Kim, or any one else looking to carpool? I have a Suburu AWD. I will RSVP but I don't want to drive out by myself.

    January 29, 2013

  • Mike

    I can carpool with folks from ABQ- but I don't have 4wd. If Paul and others can get us to the trailhead, I can pick up 3 people in Paradise Hills/PDN 7:45am or at I40/Coors by 8:00am.

    January 28, 2013

    • Mike

      Sorry- I decided to stay for the big game. Have fun!

      January 28, 2013

  • Paul Y.

    Hi Craig, Thanks for the kind words! We may get more education if an area archaeologist joins. Chocolate presence in the SW was just pushed back to 770CE(BC): http://news.sciencemag.org/sciencenow/2013/01/earliest-evidence-of-chocolate-i.html That makes some wonder if feudal life came north too.

    January 28, 2013

16 went

  • Paul Y.
    BLM (El Malpais) rep, Assistant Organizer,
    Event Host
  • Oscar
    Assistant Organizer
  • A former member
  • A former member
  • A former member
  • A former member
  • A former member
  • A former member
  • A former member
  • A former member

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