The TV journalist on last week’s “Sunday
Morning” program on CBS presented a humorous bit on what
he called “Stay-cations.” Decked out in a Hawaiian
shirt, operating a blender, he extolled the wisdom of staying
home for vacation. He said that it was a smart strategy during
this time of rising travel costs.
This fine Solstice Saturday morning, I drank too much coffee
and struggled to decide whether to hike the Agua Sarca Trail on
the Sandias or go swimming in the Rio Grande. I changed shoes
three times, finally opting for the trail, but then a powerful
east wind greeted me while opening the garage door.
I changed back to my water sandals and loaded up my sailboard.
East winds provide the only decent conditions to windsurf at Cochiti
Lake—otherwise the prevailing winds swirl down the canyon
and over the dam. You can be on a screaming plane and suddenly
be knocked flat by a ninety-degree wind shift. A strong easterly
wind is a rare opportunity.
Unfortunately, on the way down the hill, conditions dropped from
windy to breezy to calm at the I-25 entrance from Placitas, so
I drove straight to the Bernalillo Bridge and took my dog Lalo
for a swim.
I also spend my share of time at home with the blender, but living
around here, it seems prudent to extend boundaries of the stay-cation
an hour or two into our beautiful backyard. This is, in fact,
the perfect place for a permanent stay-cation.
Standing in the Rio Grande, cars zooming by on the bridge, Lalo
swimming in circles, barking and fetching sticks, I had a brief
Zen moment when I actually believed in this stay-at-home concept.
I was glad to be going nowhere. But Zen moments never last very
long for a chronic malcontent like myself.
Sloshing downstream from the bridge, the river widens to practically
a quarter mile, thanks to the diversion channels dug last year
by the Interstate Stream Commission to provide habitat for the
silvery minnow. There were plenty of minnows in there, and it
also provided habitat for us humans and dogs. Lalo could run free
on the sandbars without disturbing other people and snakes—or
at least so I thought until a pink racer coiled to mimic a rattler
and claim his own part of the habitat.
Further downstream on river left, the Bureau of Reclamation has
cleared dead trees, trash, and non-native trees. They have planted
cottonwoods and willow that will benefit from the diversion channels
and probably look really nice some day.
I wished I was in a canoe floating down to Albuquerque like we
did last month. We also canoed several times to Bernalillo through
the sovereign lands to the north, taking advantage of this year’s
I chant “stay-cation, stay-cation.” The water, sand,
cottonwoods, ducks, and clouds remind me of home on the western
shores of Lake Erie—I only get homesick in the summertime.
Lalo chased a sandpiper along the beach and fetched another stick.
It was still a little cool for me to go swimming. A laughing family
landed their tiny raft after floating down from the Algodones
spillway, and I headed back to the car.
In Placitas Village, signs pointed to the Gathering of Spirits
blues festival at Anasazi Fields Winery. It hadn’t yet started
when I pulled in. Jim Fish laughed at the sailboard and said that
I must have taken a wrong turn.
Later on, I rode my bike back to the sparsely-attended festival.
Stan Hersh was doing a fine job of playing guitar and singing
the blues. If you haven’t been to the winery, you’re
missing a sweet little hometown venue. At first, I couldn’t
figure out where the crowds were, but then realized—they
were probably just at home in Hawaiian shirts, making fancy drinks
in the blender.
BLM to acquire 37 miles of trail easements
Commissioner of Public Lands Patrick Lyons signed easements on
June 17 on thirty-seven miles of state trust lands, granting public
access to key portions of the Continental Divide National Scenic
Trail and El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro National Historic Trail
in New Mexico.
Bureau of Land Management (BLM) State Director Linda Rundell
accepted the easements on behalf of the BLM and the public.
The easements cover a six-mile corridor of state lands in Sierra
County for the El Camino Real and about thirty-one miles of corridors
for the Continental Divide Trail in several New Mexico counties.
A six-mile walk on the Camino Real in the southern Jornada del
Muerto from the southern escarpment of Yost Arroyo to the southern
reaches of Paraje Aleman on the newly acquired easement across
state trust lands will take New Mexicans through thousands of
years of history in just a few hours. The BLM’s Las Cruces
District is currently developing trailheads and interpretive waysides
on BLM public lands overlooking the easements in the Jornada.
Until the early 1800s, every colonist—every man, woman,
and child—who settled in New Mexico alongside the Native
pueblos of the Rio Grande followed El Camino Real across the Jornada
del Muerto, the Journey of the Dead Man.
The Continental Divide National Scenic Trail provides for high-quality
scenic, primitive hiking and horseback riding recreational experiences,
while conserving natural, historic, and cultural resources along
the Continental Divide. Extending 3,100 miles from the New Mexico
boot heel to Canada, the trail traverses landscapes primarily
on BLM and Forest Service public lands.
The trail was established in 1978 through the National Trails
System Act. This year is the thirtieth anniversary of the trail,
and trail construction is still underway on private lands and
in some sections of the National Forests. In New Mexico, completion
of the trail has gained significant momentum since the state has
joined in the effort through numerous recreation, trails and parks
grants, a memorial in the state legislature last year, and this
designation of trail easements.
Last year, the State Land Office entered into a Memorandum of
Understanding with the Bureau of Land Management; the National
Park Service; U.S. Forest Service; New Mexico Energy, Minerals,
and Natural Resources Division; the Pueblo of Acoma; and the Continental
Divide Trail Alliance, the lead nonprofit partner, to work cooperatively
to complete and manage the trail as a significant public recreation
resource in New Mexico.
Further information on the trails can be found at the following