Saturday, June 30, 2012

Went on my first hike as a member of the BLM’s Volunteer Hiking Patrol and four of us drove up to the Ignacio Chavez Wilderness Study Area (WSA).  Among other things, we needed to check out Toruno Spring to see if it was wet or dry and to install a few “No Vehicles” signs along a stretch of back road in the WSA.

Once we left Hwy. 550, we drove 32 miles back into the WSA and climbed about 1,000 feet to get to our trail head at an elevation of 8,100 feet. This place is remote!! We then hiked 3.4 miles in to check out Toruno Spring, which meant climbing about 800 feet down off the mesa at a grade of 3.5%.

The spring was dry, but we noticed some green areas a little further down and decided to take a look. Found water in a couple of holding areas dug into the ground, while other tanks made of tractor tires were completely dry. This is the area where we encountered the rattlesnake (see my previous post).

Afterward, made the 800 foot climb back up to the top of the mesa and hiked the four miles back to the truck. For a short time on our hike back to the truck, we were hiking along the Continental Divide Trail (CDT) and took the time to restack a few rock cairns that let hikers know they are on the CDT. I guess now I can say I have hiked part of the CDT. 😉

The total hike was 7.4 miles round-trip and took a little less than five hours to complete, including stops. After the hike, we drove along one of the back roads to install a few signs, then went a little further to see the Guadalupe Ghost Town. And what trip into the very remote desert would be complete without getting a flat tire on our way out… which we did!!!!

Here is a video of my hiking companions installing one of the signs. Dave pounds in the sign, while Jim supervises him! 😉 Ed, the hike leader, ends up off-camera, to the left.

Here are my pics for this hike. Click on the first one to start the manual slide show: