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.

My best suggestion, at the moment, comes from the folks at the BLM. They have a publicly available map of land usage in New Mexico. That map can be downloaded to a phone and used with a free mapping app called CarryMap (works on my iPhone and said to be available for Android). The app will function even when you do not have cell connectivity. The map is called: “Maps for outdoor activities. New Mexico Hunting-Recreation Map 2019-20”. It is available on the CarryMap site. It shows various sorts of Federal, State, Local and private lands in a color- coded display. There is an option to turn on 100-foot contour lines, which may help orient pinpoint your current position on the map. I recommend it.

EDIT: since writing this I’ve been having problems with my phone. When out of service range my iPhone has terrible battery life. I can leave the car at 8:00 and have no life in my battery by 11:00. I’m not certain if it is due to the CarryMap app, since iOS 13.3 just came out as well. I’m looking into the matter and will update this once an answer becomes evident.

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.