The Sandoval Signpost

An Independent Monthly Newspaper Serving the Community since 1988


Summer “stay-cation”

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 high water.

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 links:

For a map showing all of our country’s National Scenic and Historic Trails, visit:






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