Here's the snake that we saw. As you can see it's erect rather than coiled. If you look at the tail, you can see that it has black and white bands. It's a Western Diamondback sometimes called a Coon- Tailed Rattlesnake.

October 2, 2014
by David Ryan
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Running into a Rattlesnake while Wandering in the Backcountry

Last week the dogs and I put on our Bureau of Land Management volunteer hats and went out to the backcountry to check on the condition of a couple of Air Force helicopter landing zones. The Air Force has several of these in remote corners of public land to practice night time maneuvering.

This happens to be the center point of the landing zone.

This happens to be the center point of the landing zone.

A helicopter landing zone may not be all that exciting, but it is a good excuse to get out into the backcountry.

A helicopter landing zone may not be all that exciting, but it is a good excuse to get out into the backcountry.

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9780977696833

September 19, 2014
by David Ryan
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The Bisbee Stairs Book Is Now Available

9780977696833

If you’ve been following this blog, you may recall that my dog Petey and I made many trips to Bisbee, Arizona earlier this year to climb stairs. Portions of those trips were featured in several posts in this blog. After months of research, writing, and design the Bisbee stairs book is finally here.

The book includes maps and directions for climbing 82 of Bisbee’s stairways. The stairways average 78 steps. 22 of them have over 100 steps. The book also describes several hiking trails to extend your climb high into the hills above Bisbee.

Even more important, the book has over 70 pictures of what you can find along the way. Most of them are complete surprises. You will be challenged to find a town more interesting than Bisbee, Arizona. It is an explorer’s delight. I hope the book will inspire you to take a trip to Bisbee and find out for yourself.

If you would like a copy of The Bisbee Stairs: Exploring the Stairways, Trails, and Hidden Corners of Bisbee, Arizona, you can order it on this website for $12.00 plus $1.50 shipping. If you buy more than one book (any title), shipping is free.

The book is also available at several locations in the Bisbee area and on Amazon. Please contact me for the nearest retailer.

The bend in the tree is pointing to the spring just down the slope.

September 8, 2014
by David Ryan
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Wandering Along the Faulty Trail

A couple of weeks ago the dogs and I decided to escape the heat by taking a walk in the nearby Sandia Mountains. Before leaving, I took a look at 60 Hikes within 60 Miles: Albuquerque by Stephen Ausherman and Sandia Mountain Hiking Guide by Mike Coltrin.

The Coltrin book mentioned a thong tree along the Faulty Trail. A thong tree is where a young sapling is tied to make a ninety degree bend in the tree trunk. The tree eventually outgrows the thong to become a pointer to a specific landmark. In this case Cañoncito Spring.

The Ausherman book mentioned the many travertine pools just below Cañoncito Spring. Travertine is a form of rock that is the result of minerals precipitating out of mineral laden water. In this case, the precipitating mineral is a form of limestone. They have created a stair step series of travertine lined pools below the spring.

I had hiked the Faulty Trail many times and was pretty sure that I had seen the thong tree, but I wanted to see it again to make sure that I was thinking about the same tree that was mentioned in the book. I had also seen the travertine pools before. But since it has been a few years since I last checked on them, I thought it would be worthwhile to see if the recent drought has affected them. So with a couple of ideas now in place, we were ready to go walk along the Faulty Trail.

Ideas are a basic part of wandering as they are great for getting you out. Once you’re out, you can then let your wandering skills take over to see what else you can discover. And a great way to get some ideas is to have a few good walking, hiking, or nature guides on your bookshelf.

I personally like walking along the Faulty Trail as it is just a walk in the woods. It doesn’t go to the top of the mountain. It doesn’t have many steep climbs, and it isn’t on anyone’s must do list. It’s just a nice place to walk and a great place to see what you can see. And this walk was no exception.

This pretty much what you get when you walk along the Faulty Trail. If you look around you'll notice plenty of limestone along the trail.

This is pretty much what you get when you walk along the Faulty Trail. If you look around you’ll notice plenty of limestone along the trail.

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