About my blog

Welcome to my trail running site. I enjoy being on the trail where I can take in nature and clear my mind. I prefer running in the mountains, but anywhere rural will do. I have completed four 100 mile trail races and many other ultramarathons. I spend countless hours running in the Franklin Mountains in El Paso, TX. I call it "going to church". I'm a member of Team Red, White and Blue. "Enriching the lives of America's veterans."

Sunday, June 30, 2013

A Little R&R

After running seven ultramarathon trail races in as many months, I decided I needed a little rest and recovery and should take a break from running for a while. I ended last year by running the McDowell Mt 50 miler. In January I ran the Puzzler Marathon in the Franklin Mts; February challenged me to the Sierra Ultra Vista 60K in the desert; March was the Bataan Death March (26.2mi); April, the Cedro Peak 45 Miler; May, the Jemez Mt 50K (10,400 ft elev.) and earlier this month, I attempted the San Diego 100 miler, but only made it to mile 44 due to high heat. (Click “Table of Contents” to read individual race reports)

Geronimo's Cabin, Ruidoso, NM

After many months of hard training and racing, it was time for me and the family to head to the mountains to escape the El Paso heat, so we rented our neighbors’ cabin and headed to Ruidoso, NM in the Lincoln National Forest. If you are looking for a spacious place to stay for an affordable rate look no further than Geronimo’s Cabin at 7000 ft elev. Here you will be close to many hiking trails, as well as ski slopes in the winter if that is your thing.

Well, since no non-running holiday would be complete without some running, I went out for a few early morning runs. After all, “on the seventh day God ran an easy three.” (You didn’t really think I was going to go to the mountains without running did you?) Just beyond our backdoor, I found a forest service road and some twisty single track that enabled me to make an eight mile loop. When I first arrived, I didn’t know the lay of the land, so I picked up a map at the ranger station. 

The first morning, I awoke to about 15 mule deer right outside the cabin door. Apparently they are accustomed to free handouts and are so tame that Maddie and her cousins were able to pet them. I saw many more deer on my runs, but on the second day came upon something very special.  Two baby elk and their mother! Unfortunately, I didn’t get a picture of the calfs, but was able to get a few poor shots of the cow. 

Mule deer
We named him "Spike"
"Please, sir, I want some more"
Elk cow
In addition to running, we took the kids over to Capitan, NM where Smokey Bear is buried. In 1950 during the Capitan Gap Fire, a couple of hot shots found a bear cub with burned paws clinging to a tree. He was brought back to the base camp by some Ft Bliss, TX soldiers and then flown to Santa Fe for veterinary care. Following his recovery, Smokey lived in the National Zoo in Washington, DC. When he died of old age 26 years later, he was returned to Capitan and buried at Smokey Bear Historical Park. Of course he lives on in all of our hearts and we had a great day paying homage to Smokey. 

Remember, ONLY YOU CAN PREVENT FOREST FIRES...so we can continue to have ultramarathon trail races...in special places like...the Jemez Mountains...Gila National Forest...and the Valles Caldera National Preserve. 

Anyway, when we returned from our outing, we had a picnic and let the kids get their feet wet in the Rio Ruidoso and then had some fun geocaching. Since we are beginners, we had a hard time finding the treasure at times, but the little ones had a wonderful time all the same. They even came up with a secret call to alert in case of muggles (non-geocachers). A sort of hoo-hooooooooo owl sound.

One of my favorite R&R activities is bird watching and our cabin was in a perfectly wooded location with a wide variety of birds. Throughout the week we saw Acorn Woodpeckers, Brown Grosbeaks, White-breasted and Pygmy Nuthatches, Steller’s Jays, Ravens and even a Wild Turkey hen. 

An Acorn Woodpecker "granary" 

After a week of fun it was time to head back home to Hot-paso. I’m usually not one for stopping at cheesy roadside attractions, but could not resist seeing the world’s largest pistachio nut. McGinn’s Pistachio Farm, just outside of Alamogordo, NM, has a wide variety of flavored pistachios and candies. The green chili pistachios weren't too hot, but the habanero-lemon-lime flavor had a good kick to it. McGinn is no amateur when it comes to spicy foods though, as they won the Scovie Awards Grand Prize in years past for their Atomic Hot Chili Pistachio Brittle. (For you non-Southwesterners, the scoville heat scale is the way scientist measure the amount of burn in a chili pepper.)

McGinn's Pistachio Farm

Ruidoso is a great place to visit for R&R and to get in some good trail running. don’t forget to check out Geronimo’s Cabin and bring some Atomic Brittle when you come. 

Here are the directions for some of the trails I ran in the Cedar Creek area:
Directly behind the Smokey Bear Ranger Station (Mechum and Cedar Creek) is the Fuelwood Rd (88A) that will take you up to Trail 121. After passing through a closed gate (1.5 mi) start looking for a rock cairn off to the right (2 mi). Trail 192 is three miles of single track that will bring you back to the ranger station for a total of five miles. If you want more stay on Fuelwood Rd and look for trail 92 (Perk Ridge) and then 93 (Perk Canyon). Be sure to pick up a map from Smokey.

See you on the trail. 

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