Thursday, November 8, 2012

Cloudcroft, NM: Salado Canyon Trail, and a Whistle Killer

Salado Canyon, near Cloudcroft, New Mexico

AKA: New Mexico: Fall Colors, Part 2

Recently, New Mexico's rails-to-trails organization opened a new trail route to Bridal Veil Falls, which is in the Salado Canyon, near Cloudcroft. Truthfully, it's closer to High Rolls, so you can go with that, if you prefer. 

I didn't go there.

But I did take a short walk on the related Salado Canyon trail, to the trestle bridge.

Before that, though, I did a due diligence search for some fall foliage, and I found a little here, at the creek crossing on the road that I have not yet followed to its end.

Salado Canyon, near Cloudcroft, New Mexico

I turned around at the creek and went back to one of the trailhead markers. Got out and almost as soon as I set foot on the trail, proceeded to slip and slide on the loose gravel.  What the heck? So I placed my feet a little more carefully, and all was fine. As I walked, I could just feel myself become lighter, airier, freer. Disney bluebirds were about to flutter into my bucolic bubble. Just as I puckered my lips in preparation for whistling a happy tune, I saw a flash of something unnaturally white in my peripheral vision, to the right.

Salado Canyon Trail, near Cloudcroft, New Mexico

I walked over to investigate.

Bones. A trail of them. Leading to an empty hide, dried and contracted from days of exposure to the sun. A dark brown pelt. Largish.

Mountain lion? Mountain lion?

Trail of bones, Salado Canyon Trail, near Cloudcroft, New Mexico

Carcass that used to cover said bones, Salado Canyon Trail, near Cloudcroft, New Mexico

The Disney bluebirds evaporated in a pouf, as did my whistle of a happy tune. My inner wuss had returned.

My rational mind told me not to be stupid. There wasn't even a sign at the trail head saying to watch out for mountain lions. But my wuss side tried to do numbers on my head.

This didn't keep me from continuing my walk to the trestle bridge, however. The train that used to chug its way through here was the Alamogordo and Sacramento Railway, primarily used to transport lumber from the mountains to the basin below. I'd learned from a museum docent a couple of weeks ago that once trucks were pressed into the lumber-transporting service hereabouts, it was discovered they were more economical than trains, especially since they were able to carry longer logs than the trains. So the train business petered out.  

View from trestle bridge. Salado Canyon Trail, near Cloudcroft, New Mexico

There were quite a lot of large droppings on the trail. Probably horses. I didn't take a picture of the droppings.

It was nice to stand on the trestle and listen to the creek below.

Later, once at home, and having successfully rebuffed all non-existent mountain lion attacks, I thought I'd exercise some cognitive therapy and find out how many mountain lion attacks actually occur in New Mexico. I estimated virtually none.

I didn't want to see this headline right off the bat: New Mexico Man Torn Apart by Mountain Lion.

I found a less salacious source of information here: Mountain Lion Attacks from .... . The author has compiled reports of confirmed (and unconfirmed) attacks for North America, formatted per decade. This link happens to take you to the 2001-2010 page.


wendy said...

'i didn't take a picture of the droppings' made me laugh out loud. and you know you've done a good job documenting the changing aspens when the yellows almost make me want to rub my eyes to rest them--well done, rootless.

Mzuri said...

That just delights me - thank you.

Nextexitgasfoodlaughter said...

I love the fall colors... So pretty.

Mzuri said...

I do, too. Although it's hard to beat the jaw-dropping beauty of a sugar maple in more temperate climates, I'm loving the subtle color changes in the high desert, not just with the trees, but with the shrubs and grasses. Like old Flemish oil paintings.