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The Jornada Hikers traditional (for about 7 years) "flagship weekday hike" is at Tortugas when the day lasts long enough, and we used to shift to the flood control dam when sunset occurs earlier than 7PM. Enough of us are bored with The Dam Stroll that we decided to stop doing that. Instead, we are going to walk in town where there is good lighting and there are good gathering places. We will start the series in the old downtown area. There is a big (free) parking lot at Thomas Branigan Memorial Library, Adjacent to that is Albert Johnson Park. In the park, there are four large murals depicting the early history of the region. That is where we will meet. There is no formal route. If we circle the downtown area that will be about a mile and a half, which would take 30 minutes if we go 3 mph (a casual sidewalk pace). It'd make sense to plan for an hour, which means venturing into the historic Mesquite Street and Alameda neighborhoods. Obviously, no special gear or expertise is needed. You might want to bring $2.75 to buy a paleta at Vintage Mercado. You can bring a dog but you will need to keep it on a leash. This week, on 11/12, starting at 6PM, I would like to go to the east, to see some of the features in the historical Mesquite district.
A morning beat-the-heat hike! Come meet us at Tortugas Mountain (aka "A Mountain", because it has a big "A" on it). It's an urban mountain with many, many hiking trails to explore. Imagine the refreshing moment of overviewing the city with cool morning breeze in the shade at the mountain top. It's a nice and quick workout to begin a day, and we will hike mostly in the shade (because we are early enough:) Route We will hike "Straight up" - This is the northern of the two trails on the west side of the mountain facing the city. It medium rocky terrain, medium incline. It is the quickest way up the mountain and reaches the observatory at the top. QUICK REFERENCE Distance - About 2 miles Elevation Gain - Approximately 800 ft to the top of Tortugas Mountain. Fees - None Duration - 1 hour Pet Friendly - Yes, if your dog(s) follow the rules and the pace of the group. Skill Level - moderate Terrain - loose, steep mountainside Weather - Nice What You Should Bring--Water, sunscreen, snacks, etc. Miscellaneous Medical Concerns - This hike might be strenuous at times. If you are unsure for any reason please consult your physician before attempting any of our hikes. Late Arrival -- Expect arrival 5 minutes early (6:55). We will start the hike on time. See you soon! ***Caution/Disclaimer: Each individual hiker is responsible for their own personal safety/health and of their guests when participating in Jornada Hiking & Outdoor Club activities. The organizers of Jornada Hiking & Outdoor Club and the Jornada Hiking & Outdoor Club are not liable for any illness, injury, accident, mechanical break-down, or unforeseen acts that may occur while you participate going to, during, or after any activity. If you have a medical condition that may be aggravated by any kind of physical activity you must make your own personal decision about attending and not hold any of the volunteer organizers liable. All organizers are volunteers and are not compensated during any activity.***
This is something I've wanted to do for a long time. There are 8 main routes to the top of Tortugas ("A Mountain"). I plan to map out a Tortugas Master Hike, which will involve going up all 8, then making a final loop around the base. This may be challenging. My guess is that this will entail about 8 miles of hiking and about 3000 feet of elevation gain, but those numbers could be way off, and I think it can be done in well under 5 hours, but that might be optimistic. It will entail only two trips to the top, one trip to the south shoulder, and one trip to the north shoulder. My plan is to map it out so I can tell people what to expect. When I do this, this time, I plan to rest as little as possible. Frankly, I am not expecting a huge audience for this. Then later, perhaps on New Year's, I will post a hike intended to be more appealing to a general audience, likely breaking it into two parts, taking a nice lunch break in the middle of the effort, and making the final loop optional. Here's the route I have in mind: Start at the Sunset lot, go up the Turtleback trail to the top, then down Boulder Pass, loop around the south side to the Rockslide, go up to the south shoulder (where the old observatory was demolished) then down the road, go north to the A Trail, go up to the top, then down the Straight Up trail, then go to the north side of the mountain and go up the 3 Rocks Trail to where it meets the Straight Up trail on the north shoulder, then go down the Steep Way. The final push will take us around the base loop, which will feel like a walk in the park since there is no sustained climbing.
The Big Juniper Tree is nationally ranked as the second largest alligator Juniper Tree. Its diameter is 70.2 in, circumference is 18 ft. 4 in, crown spread is 62 feet., and height is 63 feet. The Big Juniper Tree is located on lands previously utilized as part of the historic Fort Bayard Military Reservation. The route to the Big Juniper Tree follows primitive roads that pass through the rolling foothills of the Pinos Altos Mountains which lie to the north. We might hike to the old wagon wheel ruts. During the 1860's, Fort Bayard was an active military outpost housing soldiers who provided protection to the local mining settlements of Pinos Altos and Santa Rita. The route to the Big Juniper Tree is an old wagon road that provided access to the Pinos Altos Mountains. Rough cut lumber and fuelwood was transported down these roads by animal drawn wagons. Current management of the Fort Bayard area emphasizes wildlife, watershed protection, and recreational values. Travelers on this trail often see glimpses of the resident elk herd that occupies the Fort Bayard area. Wear good footwear and wear appropriate clothes for the weather on Sunday. Bring plenty of water and snacks or whatever you want to eat. This a easy to moderate hike approximately 5 miles.