The West Texas Trail Walkers is a volksmarching club that is dedicated to promoting outdoor recreation and good health. They have been hosting hikes for 33 years now. While their name implies that their hikes are in West Texas they also host events in the mountains near Ruidoso, NM. This area was actually part of Texas while it was a republic. (see map at link below).
Their big 3-day hiking adventure is October 10-12, 2014 and features four spectacular hikes. The hikes provide a variety of altitude, difficulty and lengths to attract hikers with a wide range of hiking experiences. All hikes have breath-taking mountains views in the pine, maple and aspens forests.
The cooler weather is getting me excited about Ruidoso! When we hiked there in 2008 we had great fall color and I heard that the people sitting up the events even encountered a little snow. I don’t know about you, but hiking definitely makes me happy. It makes my heart pump and my legs burn. It clears my mind and gets the endorphins going. Urban walking has its own delights but being out in nature, breathing fresh air, and seeing the beauty and majesty of this great land is unbeatable.
The longest and most challenging hike is BIG BONITO LOOP. I only have time for three events so I won’t be doing this one. The Big Bonito trail has 6k, 10k and 17k options and is rated 4C with 2,173 feet of elevation gain. This is a strenuous 8-hour hike in the White Mountain Wilderness, starting along the Bonito Creek and continues along abandoned mines before climbing to the summit at the Crest Trail with views of Nogal Peak and White Horse Hill. Hikers will also have opportunities to see elk and deer.
I do plan to hike the ARGENTINA CANYON TRAIL which has 5k, 8k and 10k options and is rated 3C with a 1,300 feet elevation gain. This is a popular hike featuring gorgeous forest scenery, running streams and alpine meadows. Elk sightings are not uncommon. Highlights include an opportunity to see old silver mines, views of Nogal Peak and the Malpais Lava Flow. The 8km loop cuts off the steep climb to the summit, so that is the one I will be doing.
The third trail option is the TURKEY CANYON TRAIL. It has 5k and 10k options and is rated 3C with a climb of 1,190 feet. This is a popular out and back hike in the upper Bonito Creek drainage that has multiple creek crossings and beautiful forest scenery. Be prepared for a steep climb to the 10k turn around. The stands of aspen and maple trees should be beautiful. Also look for old mines along the trail that offer first-hand glimpses into the history of the area.
The fourth trail option is the GRINDSTONE LAKE TRAIL which can be done as either a 6k out-and-back or a 12k loop. This hike is the nearest to Ruidoso and is the lowest altitude hike. It is rated 3B and has an elevation gain of 886′. While this may be the flattest walk, it’s not short on scenery. It is a 12k loop is up and down Grindstone Canyon with beautiful views of the lake and the White Mountains. Hikers will also have opportunities to see local wildlife such as deer, and, if lucky, elk. The 6k trail is forested and lakeside
To download a brochure, visit their website: http://www.westtexastrailwalkers.org
Map of Republic of Texas http://www.drtinfo.org/education/republic-of-texas-2/boundaries-of-the-republic-of-texas).