Monday, June 4, 2012
Two Beginners Hikes This Week
Hikers, Mountain Bikers, Birders, Conservationists, Etc.: The City of El Paso is updating the Department of Parks & Recreation’s Parks Master Plan, which is their main guide for what they do. The current leadership at Parks and Recreation is narrow minded and focused primarily on turf, club sports and senior citizen bingo. Conservation, preservation of eco-systems, learning about nature and natural open space are nether regions of monsters and abyss beyond their flat earth thinking. There will be two meetings to present recommendations and receive public input on the Parks Master Plan. Please make plans to attend either meeting and provided your input for parks in El Paso. Meetings are this Thursday, June 7th at 6 p.m. and Saturday, June 9th at 10 a.m. Both will be held at the El Paso Museum of Art, 1 Arts Festival Plaza, off Santa Fe Street downtown. (Map) Franklin Mountains Wilderness Coalition President Scott Cutler says, “In addition to more natural open space parks for people to participate in and learn about nature, there are a number of other new concepts for parks that the Parks and Recreation Department should consider.” Dave Wilson of the Borderland Mountain Bike Association wrote: “I'll be attending the one on Thursday evening. Hopefully I'll be able to present some ideas for Chuck Heinrich Park in regards to safe access, more parking, etc. for the mountain bikers and hikers trying to access the state park.” Please read some thoughts about the Master Plan at elpasonaturally. Also read a great article from the April 2012 Parks and Recreation magazine. You can see the current Master Plan online.
Here’s a great beginners hike on an easy trail in the NE Franklins: 3 mile North Hills Hike, Thursday, June 7, at 7 a.m. Meet at parking lot of Chuck Heinrich Park (Map). The parking lot is at the end of Jon Cunningham Blvd. just west off of MLK off the Patriot Freeway in NE El Paso. There are a number of good mountain bike/hiking trails in the area including one that goes to the Tin Mines. We will walk along the dam and then take a trail toward the mountain. The elevation gain is a gradual 300-400 foot gain. We will be gone no more than 1.5 to 2 hours. This is an enjoyable walk/hike on good trails with lush vegetation as the result of spring rains. If you are a birder, this is a good event for you as well so plan to bring your binoculars. Everyone should bring good hiking footwear, use sunscreen and wear a hat, and bring plenty of water – at least a liter.
On Saturday, June 9th, there will be a beginners hike at 7 a.m. We will do the Upper Sunset Trail at the Tom Mays Unit of the FMSP the easy way. Meet at the gate to the Park (map). We will take some cars to the parking lot at the end of the trail and ride together to the north end, top of the trail. This really is a beginners hike with a good trail, not a great elevation gain. It is only a 1.5 mile hike one-way in the easy direction. We will plan to do the Upper Sunset from south to north another time. But for now this is perfect for those of you who have been wanting a beginning hike on a weekend. Also, this will give us all time to get to Ardovino’s Farmers Market for a brunch or a breakfast burrito. Remember your canvas shopping bags for your vegetables, herbs, eggs and such.
Join the local Auduboners for a bird watching trip to Rio Bosque Park, a local 4 to 5 hour trip to El Paso's lower valley. Possible sightings will be Painted Bunting, Burrowing Owls, Harris's Hawk, White-tailed Kite. Open to the public. Meet at 7:00 a.m. at the bridge crossing the Riverside Canal. Directions from I10: take Americas Avenue, which is Loop 375. Don't use access road, stay on Loop 375 to Pan American Drive, turn left on Pan American Dr. and go 1-1/2 miles. Contact Mark Perkins at 637-3521 or email@example.com.
Keep an eye on all hikes posted through the El Paso Hiking Meet up Group including another Palisades Sunset Hike this Wednesday.
Do check out the June schedule of hikes in the Franklin Mountains State Park.
Remember that Scenic Drive is closed every Sunday morning from 6 to 11 a.m. It’s a 4.1 mile hike from one side to the other. This walk takes in a dazzling panorama of El Paso and Juarez and a display of 500 million year old fossils! It’s a good recreational walk and can be done in an hour and a half.
Check out this sensational new El Paso restaurant: Tom’s Folk Café at 204 Boston Avenue in the Cincinnati Entertainment District. Like them on Facebook. It has the El Paso Hikers Five Star rating!
For anyone looking to escape the heat and climb Wheeler Peak and explore the Taos, NM area: there is a former BLM Wilderness Study Area guide who is renting out a room in his 3-BR house in Taos, NM for June (preferably for June 10 onwards) but would consider one or two weeks at a time in June. July might work out as well. Visit http://santafe.craigslist.org/roo/3035889724.html.
Finally, Professor Roy Brown alerts us to the fact that “on May 29, 1953, Mount Everest was conquered as Edmund Hillary of New Zealand and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay of Nepal became the first climbers to reach the summit.” The Venerable Brown says that “El Paso and Sunrise Hikers have time to organize a 60th Anniversary Celebration Hike!”