This is going to different from the usual route description. If you are looking for hiking or scrambling routes then please click on the “Hikes By Name” menu item from the menu above and search through that list.

Yesterday I followed the Grand Enchantment Trail (GET) from Forest Road 234 up into the Magdalenas, aiming for South Baldy. Up pretty high I twisted my ankle. It was not a big deal, but I was concerned enough to look for a bail-out route and followed a side trail back west. Regrettably, that trail took me across private land and my presence made the owner very unhappy. To be explicit, I do not mean “crazy, shouting, arm waving” anger but rather a grim, deep, gut-churned sensation on the part of an innocent guy who was wronged. To his eternal credit, he heard me out, spoke eloquently of the high value of his privacy and then gave me a ride back to my car. A nice guy, in fact.

So today I spent some time looking into the issue of avoiding such situations. How do you know where public domains end and where private land begins? I spoke with people both at the Magdelana Ranger station and at the BLM Field Office in Socorro. The BLM, particularly, has maps of land use borders that seem very useful. They also suggested an app, called CarryMap.

EDIT: In the first iteration of this post I gave a strong recommendation to CarryMap. Regrettably, I have to withdraw that recommendation (at least, for use on an iPhone). In my experience CarryMap quickly drains the battery whenever the iPhone is out of direct cell-tower reach. This is a pity. If I had had that data on this hike I could have done a much better job at picking a route out. If I find a suitable replacement I will update this post again.

This blog has mentioned previously that we hikers, climbers, mountain bikers, trail runners, backcountry skiers, birders and hunters benefit enormously from the generosity of New Mexico land owners. It never hurts to give back. We benefit when we make obvious, explicit efforts to respect the their rights.