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Exploratory hike: Velarde badlands

Sat, 2012-12-01
Bill Priedhorsky

While we wait for snow, I'd like to try a trip that is completely exploratory. I've found no mention of the area in any hiking guide. The area in question is the badland country east of State highway 68 that is visible on the drive from Espanola to Velarde, the little settlement just before one enters the Rio Grande gorge. This country shows up on contour maps as heavily corrugated and complex. A typical satellite view of the terrain can be seen here. It is accessed via dirt roads that leave highway 68 in several places. The maps clearly show this as BLM land, all the way from the highway to Truchas in the east, so access shouldn't be a problem.
The plan is to meet in Los Alamos at 9:00 AM on Saturday morning, drive down to the area in vehicles that are good on dirt roads, head up one of the access roads, perhaps the one up Canada Ancha, and set out into the badlands to see what we can see. We can rendezvous in Espanola with anyone who doesn't live in Los Alamos. I'll have an alternative destination in mind if we don't find a reasonable hike, but my experience is that one can often find something interesting with a little patience and poking around. I hope to spend the whole day exploring. If folks are interested, we can stop for dinner in Espanola on the way back.
Please send an e-mail if you would like to join us.

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