Monday, April 03, 2006

A a new spot in the Land of Enchantment...

Socorro, NM and Winslow, AZ have two things in common. The first is they both host amazing bouldering and climbing areas (near town). Second, they have been honored by being the gateway to hwy 60. This stretch of road is fantastic. Hwy 60 is great road riding, hot salsa, long high-country mountain biking trails, “Santa Fe” style art galleries, greasy tacos and fat guys on motorcycles. I travelled this stretch of road and hit up the riding, bouldering and towns, recently. Now, I’m going to tell you about it.

We arrived in Magdelana, NM Friday night – the trails, dirt roads and camping would be here. They were. We woke a little slowly after a full magnum of Bare Foot wine. I made the Yerba Mate and yelled at the Baxter, the dog that belongs to my FiancĂ©. With a much more agitated attitude than I had expected, my FiancĂ©, Christina, and good friend, Brian, quickly rose from their slumber. It was during that moment that I decided we would climb and ride hard – everyone also agreed, later that morning.

Our first ride would encompass dirt road riding covering 2,500 feet of elevation gain, scenic views of the surrounding mountains, a smooth forest service road and 12 miles of total distance. The ride up Forest Service road 235 was incredible. We maintained a slow speed, as we were inclined – literally- for some time. Our trail of choice was called 11. I guess they called it that as it is roughly 11 miles from the entrance to the campground. At the top of the Forest Service road, the trail begins, quickly. It dropped down through, what appeared to be, a run-off ditch. This first section was not very promising. However, after that quick awakening, we were soon blessed with oodles of single track – 3.3 miles of it. Other than one car, a ranger and a dump truck we were the only people out that day. The remoteness of the area, the beauty and the lack of noise made this ride one of my top 20.

Once we returned to camp, we were off to the Box Canyon near Socorro New Mexico. For those of you who haven’t heard of The Box, it is a fine place to break open the fingers. In other words, if you haven’t broken those finger tips on overhanging volcanic boulders yet then this is the place. The Box is full of Hueco Tanks style climbing. It is powerful, long and abundant. Brian and I hit the backside of the canyon with a vengeance. We tackled some of the areas tallest and most committing routes. Although, I am not in the best climbing shape, I was able to “hang”. After 2.5 hours of bouldering, we decided to head back to camp for some wine.

The best part about being fully active in the mountains is the camp fire, the stories that go round it and the warmth of the booze. We took it all in. There was no better way to spend an evening. What’s more, the camping was extremely easy. The fire rings are abundant, the ground is level and the fire wood was easy to gather. We spent most of the evening laughing and talking about our adventures.

I would elaborate on the following day, but I’m going to save that for me. If you are near this area, I do suggest you visit the Magdalena, NM riding and The Box bouldering. You won’t be disappointed!


BUBBAJ said...

That gesture you make in the picture is just plain rude walkerT!!!!

I like it. Keep it up

P.s: How come you guys got all the pretty scenery down there?

walkert said...

I am pretty good looking...


Anonymous said...


Aaron Potts here, saying hi from Ft. Collins. I came across your blog on Shriver's site. Anyways, I was just going to say that I went to school down in Socorro for my freshmen year way back in 94-95. I loved the South Baldy/Water Canyon area and especially trail #11. If you haven't left the area yet, you should hit up trail #8 (trailhead is about 1 mile up the road from trail #11). It's a little faint through the meadows at the top, but once you start to drop elevation it is pure bliss, with wicked steep switchbacks at the top. For some kick ass mexican food hit up Acosta's in the little town of San Antonio about 10 miles south of Socorro. Have fun down there.


walkert said...

Hey Aaron,

Thanks for the comment, and the beta! I ran trail 8 and I agree it is a phenomenal section of trails! Unfortunately, I'm back in durango. I look forward to going back really soon.