With summer setting in, it gets difficult to go hiking on busy weekends or get up earlier and earlier to beat the heat. For those living in in town (Las Cruces), there's no reason we can't fit a quick urban hike after work.
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.
Afterwards, Baskin Robbins has dollar scoop night—child-size scoops are $1, and full-size scoops $1.50 for all sorbets and ice creams. Make sure to burn enough calories to earn yourself a cone if you decide to join. Location of Baskin Robbins:[masked]°N,[masked]°W (http://www.meetup.com/las-cruces-hiking/events/112528322/geo:32.295397,-106.757192) (see on Google Maps (http://maps.google.com/?q=32.295397,-106.757192&z=18), OpenStreetMap (http://www.openstreetmap.org/?mlat=32.295397&mlon=-106.757192&zoom=18), USGS topo map (http://mapper.acme.com/?ll=32.295397,-106.757192&marker0=32.295397,-106.757192&z=18)).
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. Below is a map indicating where exactly we'll be meeting.
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. Be responsible with your pet! Have a way to restrain if necessary.
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 doesn't usually matter—we hike regardless of snow, rain, heat, or cold. We are wary of extreme winds and lightning, however. We will post at least an hour before we meet if the event is canceled. Check the weather for the trail head. (http://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.php?lon=-106.70694&lat=32.29748)
AFTERWARDS we may head to a restaurant for libations, but we'll discuss this towards the end of the hike. By default we'll go to Baskin Robbins.
⚫ Las Cruces: 6:00 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)