[cdt-l] Mt. Taylor

Jim Wolf mail at cdtsociety.org
Wed Oct 3 11:47:50 CDT 2007

dickiebird wrote:
> Hi Jim: I must have missed something. Did the Forest Service route the trail
> around Taylor? I remember Gooseberry spring at the base and two others just
> the other side of Taylor (within a days walk) that were flowing water so
> cold you could chew it. Does the CDT still use T77 up and over Mt. Taylor?
> --Dick E. Bird
Yes, the official route is to be located around the west side of Mount 
Taylor. It may have its advantages, offering an alternate, offroad, 
location that can be used if snow/weather conditions on Mt. Taylor are 
adverse. And as a general rule there will be some water available, 
particularly at Ojo Piedra (though it dried up in 2006). Hikers will 
still have the option to use the existing route over Mt. Taylor, with 
water available at Gooseberry Spring, Upper American Spring, and 
probably others mentioned in the guidebook as well.

The controversy thus is more a matter of principle than actual hardship: 
the Forest Service flat out says that it's ok to leave hikers with the 
50-mile dry stretch, without accommodating them if natural sources dry 
up (as we had suggested) with temporary caches or seeing that existing 
stock watering troughs are filled. I don't see how this can be squared 
with the goals of the National Trails System Act to provide "maximum 
outdoor recreation potential" and to promote "enjoyment" of the 
qualities of the area.

The Ojo Frio to Jones Canyon trek is more challenging. The spigot in the 
valley close to Cabezon can be used to reduce the waterless mileage, but 
that sacrifices some great mesa-edge scenery. We intend to look into the 
problem with the well at Arroyo de los Cerros Colorados (Piedra Lumbre 
3:2.8). [If anyone has any information why it was dry this year, please 
pass it on.]

Also, it is my understanding that Mount Taylor has special religious 
significance to the Acoma people. Hikers should be aware of the 
sensitivity of the area and refrain from disturbing any objects or 
archaeological sites near the summit. (In discussions with the Forest 
Service, it was always the Acoma -- and not the Navajo -- whose concerns 
were of primary concern.)

Jim Wolf

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