Tortugas Mountain (aka "A Mountain", because it has a big "A" on it as seen from NMSU/Interstate 25) is an urban mountain with many, many hiking trails to explore. Every Tuesday evening, I'd like to go out there, pick a random trail when we get there, and get a few miles in during the week.
I have no intention of staying out past sunset, which limits hiking time to some 1.5 hours, and distance to some 3–4 mi, maximum.
Routes may vary: we'll may walk around the mountain first and take the easy (road) way up, or go quickly and take a steep route. I also had the idea to play a game with a coin and at each trail junction, flip it to see which way to go. Etc etc.
Directions to the Tortugas Mountain Sunset Parking lot, from Interstate 25:
• Take Interstate 25 exit 1 (University Avenue)
• Go east, towards the mountains.
• You'll pass two traffic light intersections, University Ave and Las Alturas/Don Roser, and University Ave and Telshor. The road curve, turning into Drippings Sands, and then Dripping Springs Road. You'll pass the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Museum on your left. Keep going.
• After about 2 miles, you'll reach the traffic-lighted intersection of Dripping Springs Road and Sonama Ranch Boulevard. At the light, turn right onto the gravel path.
• Stay to the left and follow the gravel path to the Tortugas Mountain Sunset parking lot.
DISTANCE is variable depending on what we decide to do. Please plan between 2 and 6 mi.
ELEVATION GAIN is variable, but it is some 1000 ft to the top of Tortugas Mountain.
FEES: None. Of course, if you carpool, please compensate your driver for gas!
DURATION: variable; we finish when we finish. I aim for getting done by 8:30 pm or earlier.
PET FRIENDLY? Yes. Bring a muzzle (you shouldn't need be told to bring a proper leash).
SKILL LEVEL is variable. If you're a beginner, please come and let us know—we'll pick an easier route!
TERRAIN is loose, steep mountainside. I personally stay on trails but we may go off if people desire something more challenging.
WEATHER is clear, though sometimes it's windy on the top.
AFTERWARDS We may head to a restaurant for libations, but we'll discuss this towards the end of the hike.
• Las Cruces: 4:00 pm at Tortugas Mountain's Sunset Parking lot (see directions above). GPS:[masked]°N,[masked]°W (http://www.meetup.com/las-cruces-hiking/events/112528322/geo:32.29748,-106.70694) (see on Google Maps (http://maps.google.com/?q=32.29748,-106.70694&z=18), OpenStreetMap (http://www.openstreetmap.org/?mlat=32.29748&mlon=-106.70694&zoom=18), USGS topo map (http://mapper.acme.com/?ll=32.29748,-106.70694&marker0=32.29748,-106.70694&z=18))
• Map of area (http://www.openstreetmap.org/?lat=32.28814&lon=-106.69907&zoom=15&layers=M)