Archive

Posts Tagged ‘National Forest’

Epic Road Trip #9: to the BLM

I lingered for several days in the Sacramento Mountains/Almagordo area. The lunar eclipse was incredible and the BLM land was a nice spot to view it. There is a state park right by it and I checked out some ruins of an early settler and a pretty impressive native plant garden the next morning.

I didn’t want to pay the $5.00 day use fee so I skipped the hike and drove back into the mountains. I hiked a nice overlook trail and then back to the dispersed camping I’d been staying at but a nicer site. Did a lot of hikes over the next few days with Bridal Veil Falls being the best.

I spent Thursday night at a Motel 6 in Alamogordo. My first hotel at 6 weeks in. It was $43 bucks out the door and my long anticipated WiFi was a bust but what do you expect for $35. I didn’t even complain.

I needed wifi for a zoom presentation Friday morning and I found a coffee shop and it worked out fine, a bit better then that actually. A young Latinx couple introduced themselves afterwards as I had been talking about racism in my presentation and they were new to the area and looking to make activist connections. We were both sorry I wasn’t local.

I realized I’d been loud and when I apologized to the other dude on the patio we also struck up a conversation. In an answer to his question I told him I was on my last day of doing the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola. He and his wife do Ignatian retreats and he was in transition himself and we had a great conversation on spiritual practice and the change process.

He encouraged me to be transparent about what I’m doing when I mentioned the blog morphing into a travelogue of late with some of my Spiritual posts being used against me politically. It was a sweet capstone to 31 days of prayer, meditation and reflection.

After some barbecue I was going to hike Bridal Veil Falls and met Ray there. Another fellow in transition and we hung out and hiked together and I payed my free expert consult forward on helping Ray with his plans to homestead the family plot. After not really talking to anyone for weeks it was amazing to get into 2 deep spiritual conversations in one day.

I checked out a new part of the forest and hiked some more later. Met a civil engineer reading Travels with Charlie which got us talking about our various epic Road trips. He mentioned some sites in the Gila National Forest I plan to check out when I head down that way.

I hiked again this morning on the Ridge Top trail which had a section recently logged. I haven’t seen any clear-cuts on the trip and some thinning didn’t seem out of line. Saw my first coyote of the trip stalking through the woods.

I went into Cloudcroft for an art show and alleged farmers market but it was only pecans. I did get a pair of New Balance for a dollar as my hiking shoes are falling apart. I also got an excellent bowl of pasole.

I was going to keep hanging out as their were more trails in the rails to trails system I wanted to hike. I’ve done a lot of those but never one in the mountains. The sidecut trail was pretty cool but I got turned around and was tired of being lost in the same spot so I left the area.

I drove north to a BLM area Fort Stanton National Recreation Area. There is a trail to some petroglyphs I am going to hike tomorrow. It’s not that long of a trail but I’m going to walk the 2 1/2 miles of jeep road to get there and I’ve already done 11+ miles of hiking today. A storm is threatening but so far only wind and a few sprinkles. They need the rain bad here.

It’s a nice area with some elevation so it’s not too hot. I might check out Fort Stanton tomorrow as well. See what it costs and has to offer. Thanks for hanging with me faithful reader and I’ll post again when I’ve done some more stuff.

Epic Road Trip #8: Oklahoma to New Mexico

The fishing lake I camped by was nice and quiet and I set out back on the road early. I made for the Chocktaw National Recreation Area which turned out to be a sweet stop. There was some great hiking and I replenished my supply of spring water I’d drank from Hot Springs.

There were some nice trails with good interpretive signs and lots of CCC masonry. Don’t know if I’ve ever felt compelled to take a photo of a shitter before, but I have now.

I also got a swim in which keeps the road funk in check. I spent a rough night in a Walmart parking lot. I was considering visiting a friend who was relocating to Norman and I thought there was more prairie to hike. The little splash of it I’d hiked in was really lovely after the poorly managed Ozarks and Ouachitas.

Turned out the prairie “trail” was just gravel road surrounded by dense shrubbery and Norman didn’t seem worth frittering 3 days over so I put some miles on. I drove up to the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge and there I found my prairie. Best prairie I’ve ever seen. So many wildflowers.

There was also a really scenic prairie dog town, some wilderness rock scrambling and awesome hiking. I visited the Holy City which is a WPA project of some stone buildings and arches and stuff where they do a sunrise Easter service. Quirky in the extreme. I also saw some elk.

I got some wifi at a Subway and found a site to camp (freecampsite.net is awesome by the way). It was a drive but I pulled into a municipal park on a lake just over the border in the Texas Panhandle. I relaxed woke in the morning to let it warm up enough to swim and made my way west.

I stopped to hike and “swim” again at Copper Breaks State Park. I hiked a short trail and went to the knee deep swimming area. They have a beautiful little lake but it’s reserved for the boats. Not worth the 18 miles and 3 bucks I invested in that side trek.

I boogied on down to Silverton where they had a little free RV campground at their municipal park. It was a charming little dying town I explored the next morning. Had dinner at a cute little diner and breakfast the next morning. The locals were bitching about illegals and I thought they could use some immigrants to fill their vacant storefronts and bring a little vitality before they become one of those ubiquitous historical markers about where a town used to be.

I backed track to Caprock State Park and took an arduous hike. I missed the fern cave I was looking for and took another wrong turn adding another 2.6 miles to a tough hike. You don’t expect a 600′ vertical climb and decent in the Panhandle but they’re serious about their erosion in Texas. Still not doing a damn thing about it as far as I can tell

I did get to finally see bison after missing them at Chocktaw and the Wyandottes. A local rancher saved them from extinction in the hopes of making desert tough beef crossbreeds. It’s the source stock for the Yellowstone herds amongst others

I learned this at a little museum Comanchero Canton Historical Museum. Has a nice collection of arrowheads and whatnot. The curator was nice but warned me about the crazy democrat governor closing down the entire state of New Mexico so it’s probably not worth visiting.

I was going to crash at Silverton a second night but the travel bug got me and I pushed on to another free municipal campground at Mule Shoe Texas. Got in late enough had to have Subway again.

I stuck around for church, my third time on the trip. Nice, nice folks even mentioned the sin of racism in Sunday School. Better then the harsh criticism of the new religion of Critical Race Theory I’d been hearing on the local airwaves. Had my first Chinese buffet in a year and a half and I was on the road again.

I pushed on to the Sacramento Mountains Lincoln National Forest. I missed my turnoff and I was glad I did. After turning around I saw some creature shamble across the road. I would have sworn it was a sloth if I had to say what it was. I looked it up the next day when I got some internet and it was a white faced coati. Pretty cool. Also saw some mule deer.

Found a cool site nonetheless even arriving after dark. The moon was so bright I took a little hike. The next morning I realized I was camping with a cow carcass. Our National Forest and it’s multiple uses. I hiked some closed forest service roads and cooked some lunch on the zip stove. No more campfires I’m in droughtland now.

I drove to the other side of the forest where the recreation areas are and met some nice campers and cooked some dinner. (I fried an onion and some canned chicken in margarine, which has held up for better then a month, with some white sage I found. Added water, chicken bouillon and powdered goats milk and instant mashed potatoes when it boiled. Pretty good).

Headed out early and did all the hikes at White Sands National Park. That 5 mile dune hike kicked my ass. Had dinner at Denny’s (yay WiFi) and had a mocha and browsed used books at a dying mall in Almagordo. I’m camped at a dispersed BLM campground now so I can watch the Lunar Eclipse. It cools off nicely so I think I don’t have to hide out in the mountains all the time.

Tomorrow it’s back into the Sacramento’s I think to hike the trail I saw coming out this morning and to nap in the cool mountain air. Not enough signal to upload pictures. if it doesn’t upload this post I’ll add some. Otherwise consider following me on the Book of Faces to see pics. Mike Trapp in Columbia Missouri. Goodnight faithful reader, I hope the super blood moon shines on you in peace and prosperity

Epic Road Trip #6: A Pause in Little Rock

I drove south out of Jasper and enjoyed the scenic drive. Went to Pedestal Rocks and gave that a pretty thorough look over. Lots of caves and pedestals and other cool rock formations. I drove to the next Forest Road and found a nice fire pit with a couple of wood piles. There was a drainage I couldn’t get the van through but after dinner I drove down to a flat pull off and had a quiet night.

Pedestal Rocks has a pit toilet so it was nice to camp close. I drove south on 7 and it’s really beautiful. I checked out a horse trail area but it was muddy and didn’t look like good hiking. I never did find a good hike so I searched for attractions and detoured south to Petit Jean State Park.

It is really cool. Nice well marked trails and a cool cave with faint pictographs. I couldn’t find the ones the sign said should be there. There was recent graffiti which is really sad.

I spent some time in Little Rock visiting friends and giving Cookie Monster a good airing out. I pulled all my stuff out and reorganized some. I took a day trip to Pinnacle Mountain State Park. Had a nice local plant garden which was really superb with name plates. Always love that. I tried to climb the summit but got turned around.

Mostly I hung out with friends. It had been 10-15 years since I’d seen either of them but we all agreed we just picked up where we left off. We were all older but just as close. I stayed long enough to feel like a neighbor and not a visitor. So I was excited to get back to the woods.

Went south and West to the Ouachita National Forest. Tried to go to the Flatside Wilderness but the road had a big wash out. I was challenging it for awhile but it was getting real sketchy for a Dodge Caravan. I managed to get her turned around and was proud of myself for making the maneuver over definitely my most challenging drive in Cookie.

There’s no internet so I was glad I downloaded directions to not only the wilderness but the ruins of a CCC site. It was on Scenic 7 and it was cool old ruins. There’s a scenic loop road I’m camping on tonight. Probably built by those CCC boys.

Tomorrow I’ll finish the loop and look for hiking. There’s another CCC site down the road and a day use area. Monday I’m going into Hot Springs and get my Federal Lands Pass and visit my first national park.

Then I have to see where I’m at and where I want to go in New Mexico to choose my route across Oklahoma. I paused longer in Arkansas then I intended which has been nice, but as I told my friend Jay: I’m burning Spring.