2009/08/23

Location =  Tijeras NM  
Distance =  25.25
Time =  3:24:16
Ave. Speed =  7.4
Max. Speed =  37.0
Monthly Dist. =    95.29
Yearly Dist. =  722.61

There has been a fire burning up near the house in Tijeras for several weeks called the "Main Fire" and I wanted to ride up there and find out if I could see where it had burned. The Forest Service wasn't able to fight this fire on the ground because it was burning on the Air Force Base where there are unexploded bombs laying around. I wouldn't fight it either. They have been dropping water on the fire from the air, and I heard that they had made a firebreak though David Canyon, so I wanted to see how bad the damage was.

I started the ride at Tunnel Canyon and then headed up through Otero Canyon. I walked most of the steep part at the end of the Otero and then rode to the trail intersection on the plateau. It was there that I saw the first signs of the firebreak. There is a rise to the left towards the highway and a swath of brush had been cleared away up to the top of the rise, and probably all the way to the road. The brush was cleared out for an area about 50 to 100 yards wide, and for as far as you could see. I still couldn't tell where the fire had been so I continued onward, sticking close to the edge of the Air Force Base. At one point I imagined that I crawled under a gate and rode up a road for about a half a mile or so, but I still didn't see any fire.

As I kept heading south I got a glimpse of where the fire had burned. I could see charred trees on a hilltop about a half a mile or so away, probably where the lightning had started the fire. It didn't seem to be much of a threat to any homes, but you never can tell. The wind could pick up and change direction and the next thing you know, evacuations are ordered. Better safe than sorry.

The bike trail and the firebreak soon joined together and they stayed together all the way up the ridge above David Canyon. I was glad to see that it was on the ridge and not in the canyon itself. Also, I have to give the Forest Service credit for creating a firebreak that maintained a proper level of safety while at the same time taking aesthetics into account. I took this picture of the firebreak and you can see that they removed the fuel while leaving some trees. In a year or two the area will recover nicely.

I followed the clearing looking for Turkey Trot Trail, but I missed it because of all of the debris so I had to back track and try to find it. Just when I thought I had missed it again I spotted the trail marker and headed down. At the bottom I would normally continue straight ahead on the trail that goes up to Mars Court, but it looked like it was raining there, maybe 100 yards in front of me, so I turned left and rode back through the canyon. I reached the road to Mars Court and as I neared the trailhead it was raining lightly. It really had been raining about 100 yards away from me, and I mostly managed to avoid it. Sometimes you're an umbrella and sometimes you're a sponge. Today I was the umbrella.

I stopped at the mailboxes to pick up the mail and then I headed down the highway back to the car. The rain stopped and I had a very nice cruise. The day was not overly hot with temps only in the 70s. I really need to get out on the mountain bike more often. This felt good.



Return to Cool Dust Main Page