On Oct. 22, SFCT joined Santa Fe County, the National Park Service’s National Historic Trails Program, the Bureau of Land Management, Santa Fe National Forest, the Santa Fe County Horse Coalition, the City of Santa Fe, and a variety of trail enthusiasts at Dead Dog Trailhead, to celebrate the NPS Centennial and the soon-to-come “El Camino Real Trail” (as described on our event calendar).
At the request of the County, and complementing a hike organized by Steve Burns Chavez of NPS, we worked with Santa Fe Fat Tire Society (SFFTS) member Stephen Newhall and Santa Fe County Horse Coalition member Sue Murphy to organize bicycle and horse rides in conjunction with this event. As a future “spoke in the wheel” of our trail system, and as a great example of the kinds of cultural and historic tie-ins to trails that we would like to emphasize in trail development, these outings along the old Camino Real also served as “Study rides” for the “Grand Unified Trail System.”
Among three options for horse rides organized by SFCHC was a visit to the nearby abandoned railbed of the “Chili line,” about one-half mile of which will be integrated into the single-track section of the Camino Real Trail.
The bicycle ride was essentially a “pre-tracement” of the future Camino Real “Retracement Trail” – starting from the south-side piece of the Santa Fe River Trail and proceeding north on the City of Santa Fe’s little-known and little-used “MRC Trail” – under the Relief Route and through the chamisas to the Municipal Recreation Center, where we took on a few more riders. Stephen Newhall then took the helm to guide us to the Caja del Rio “Headquarters Well” trailhead and down the Cañada Ancha, along dirt roads and other double-tracks to arrive at the celebration at Dead Dog Well. We also took the opportunity to explore the Dead Dog Trail up to the top of the Caja del Rio plateau, and ways back to Headquarters Well from the top.
Thanks to Santa Fe County and NPS for organizaing the celebration, and thanks to everyone who came out to learn more about the Camino Real and our burgeoning trail system.