Friday, February 7, 2014

Hike Report: Tasajillo Flats Trail

Following our tour of the longhorns and bison, Donna and I wanted some exercise. The temperature was pushing 70 as we set out from the parking area in Red Arroyo Campground and followed the Tasajillo Flats Trail south in the general direction of the park headquarters.

We hiked this trail once before, so we weren't exploring new ground. We simply wanted a short hike to get some exercise and enjoy being outside while the weather was good.

The Tasajillo Flats Trail is probably about 1.5 to 2.0 miles long in its entirety. I do not use a GPS on our hikes, so any mileage I give is always an estimate. I base my estimates on time. On a smooth surface (city street, for example) with no ups and downs, Donna and I can do a bit more than 3 miles an hour at our normal pace. On a typical trail with few obstacles, we normally do 1 mile about every 20 to 25 minutes. If there are challenging ups and downs, difficult footing, blow downs, or other obstacles, we get slowed even more. On some really challenging trails, we may only do 1 mile every hour or more.

The Tasajillo Trail parallels the main park road to its entrance. Near the headquarters, it crosses the main park road that heads west, then recrosses that same road farther west. Prior to the first road crossing, the trail is level and is easy walking as it weaves among scattered mesquites, prickly pear, and other desert vegetation. After the first road crossing, there are several ups and downs, none really challenging. There are rocky slopes in some places where you need to be careful of your footing, though.

After the second road crossing, there is a high ridge with some nice views to the north. At this point, the houses of the Highland Range subdivision are only about a football field away, to the south.

On the ridges, there is only low-lying vegetation, but in the arroyos, mesquite thickets are plentiful. Notice the shadows playing across the area.
Houses in the Highland Range Subdivision. They are so close that it takes away from the "wilderness" experience we enjoy in our hikes.
At this point, the trail takes takes a rocky path down to an old paved road. We slowed our pace descending this ridge, as the loose rock made footing a bit difficult for folks our age. We crossed the road and continued on the trail.

This next section of trail is rather level and presents no real challenges. The most interesting aspect of this trail section is man-made. If you keep your eyes open, you will see golf balls placed in the mesquite trees along the trail. There aren't many, but enough to get your attention. In fact, when we walked this trail a year or more ago, I thought there were more balls.

The trail then intersects with the Nature Trail, where we turned right to begin our return to the car. In a quarter mile or more, we recrossed the same old paved road mentioned above. At this point, the trail becomes the Horny Toad Trail, which we hiked and reported on about two weeks ago. The trail follows a switchback up a ridge. Atop the switchback, we took the Talley Valley Trail north, down into a valley, then back up to another ridge.

The trail can get a bit confusing at this point as it crosses a dual track trail used by vehicles. Go ahead and cross the dual track. The trail will wrap back around and come back to that same dual track a bit farther north. When it does counter that dual track again, you will see a post for the Chaparral Trail. Turn right and follow the dual track, which eventually dwindles down to a single track trail that returns to the Red Arroyo Camping area.

I enjoy these short walks in the park. It is so much more pleasant to walk along natural trails than on city streets, dodging cars and trucks. We're fortunate to have such a park on the outskirts of town that is so easily accessible.

No comments:

Post a Comment