Two full vans of City Summer Youth Program “campers” from the program’s E.J. Martinez site came out to Cerro Gordo Trailhead to hike Dale Ball Trails with us on the morning of Wed., July 16. That’s 24 kids ages 10-12, along with three counselors and the director of the City’s Youth and Family Services Division, Terrie Rodriguez. We were also joined by Juan Alonso, a trail volunteer visiting from Spain, and professional trail guide Karen Dennison, who provided interpretation on plants, rocks, hiking etiquette and more.
It was a beautifully overcast morning following some light rains the night before. The Santa Fe River diversion around old Two-Mile Reservoir was flowing so strong we used the bridge on Cerro Gordo Rd. to cross it, rather than the trail. Heading south from Upper Canyon Rd., first we visited the historic Acequia del Llano, which was flowing with water, and then the old “High Line” Hydropower Ditch, which was not (not since about 1920!).
Then the hike in the woods really began. We got a lot of cool fresh air and great exercise while learning about ponderosa pine trees, lichen and moss, yucca plants, and lava-infused granite. We made it up to the same ledge that the Carlos Ortega teens made it to last week. We saw the City of Santa Fe and all the mountains around it from a whole new angle.
Some kids got a little muddy, but nobody got hurt. Good job, team E.J.! Thanks to all of you, to our nature guide Karen Denison of Outspire Hiking and Snowshoeing, to the Summer Youth Program counselors, and especially to Director Terrie for coming out to enjoy our city’s beautiful trails and open space.