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[cdt-l] New Mexico - El Malpais water sources
In addition to the Visitor Center on NM 117, there is a Visitor Center on NM
53 approximately 7 miles W of the the Acoma-Zuni Trailhead on NM 53. My
recollection is there is faucet on the E side of the Visitor Center
building. This Visitor Center is on the "official" route as is the Visitor
Center on NM 117.
There is a trail junction on the Acoma-Zuni Trail approximately 1 mile S of
the terminus on NM 53. This is Wolf, El Malpais Segment, Section 2, 1.3 I
have been told but have not confirmed that this trail to the W leads to the
Information Center on NM 53. I have seen the terminus at the Information
Center and assume the information given to me is accurate. The trail is
marked by cairns and my understanding is this is the "official" route.
I have seen water in the stock trough at 8.2 only once. I would not
consider this a reliable source. The one time I checked a couple of years
ago, there was water in the hidden earth tank reported by the Owens.
In Section 1, I have never seen water between Grants and 15.9 although
others have at one time or another reported water. The windmill at 15.9 was
removed as of March 2002. I have not been back to determine what has been
done to this site. When I walked through last spring there was water at the
rail car at 18.0. I did not check the windmill at 21.1 since I had a water
cache at NM 53.
I have inspected all of these sites numerous times over the last several
years. In all of my inspections, the windmill at BLM 2003 and NM 117 (end
of Wolf El Malpais Segment, Section 3 and beginning of Section 4) is the
only site consistently with water. All remaining sites north to Grants on
the Wolf route are problematic; sometimes there is water; sometimes not. My
speculation is ranchers shut the water sources down when they do not have
cattle grazing in the area. If someone hits Sections 1 through 3 at the
wrong time, it can be 43 miles without a water source.
As a point of information for a desperately dry northbounder, in Section 1,
12.0 which is the junction of FR 447 and FR 49, there are a couple of ranch
houses 1 - 2 mi. to the W on FR 49 and a rural subdivision beyond the ranch
With respect to water sources on the "official" route, south to north.
There are several windmills on the N end of County 41 (coming out of Pie
Twn.) I have never seen these two or three northern windmills shut down.
Although I have never been over to physically see water in the troughs,
cattle have been constantly at the water troughs.
There is (perhaps, read was) water at a windmill on the Chain of Craters
Road S of the CDT trailhead. There is a pink colored fiberglass tank. The
last time I was there a couple of years ago, there was no water in the
trough but the tank was full. There is/was an access through the top of the
tank; climb and drop a bucket tied to your line in.
If the "official" route is followed off of the Chain of Craters road, there
is no water about which I am aware from the above pink fiberglass tank to
Ice Caves or the Visitor Center on NM 53.
However, If the Chain of Craters road is followed instead of the "official"
route, there is a hidden red windmill to the W, (it can be seen over the
trees) approximately 1 mile north of the CDT trailhead. There is a gasoline
powered electric generator and pump at this site and one or two large, open
metal tanks sitting on the ground. Farther N there is a metal trough on the
E side of the road with a house on the W side of the road. This is followed
by a metal trough on the W side with a ranch house and out buildings to the
E after passing through two gaps (wire gates) in two fence lines perhaps
100 yards apart. These three sites are all between the N and S CDT
trailheads on the Chain of Craters road. These sites have had water the
three or four times I have been by them although I have not been by them in
a couple of years.
The next water is either Ice Caves on NM 53 or the Visitor Center on NM 53
several miles E of Ice Caves.
There is no water from the Visitor Center on NM 53 across the Acoma-Zuni
Trail to NM 117 and then N until the Visitor Center on NM 117.
The next water is the Stuckys at NM 117 and Interstate 40. There are some
windmills on private, posted land which I have not investigated.
----- Original Message -----
From: Ginny & Jim Owen <email@example.com>
Sent: Saturday, June 14, 2003 7:54 AM
Subject: [cdt-l] New Mexico water sources
> Blisterfree said:
> Speaking of problematic water sources, I should note one in particular
> caused me a bit of trouble in New Mexico this spring.
> The CDTS guide describes a trough and stock pond a short distance south of
> the Acoma-Zuni Trailhead along NM 117 in Section 2 of the El Malpais
> Segment. Both were bone dry in early May. The troughs are fed by a hose,
> apparently from a defunct windmill and/or electric-powered well across the
> highway a short distance to the south. When I passed through, the hose was
> lying on the ground near the troughs, and the troughs themselves had no
> of algea or bathtub ring, indicating that they had been out of use for
> time. Nor was I able to make any headway over at the windmill/well
> When we went through in '99, the troughs that were visible from the road
> were dry. There was one on each side of the highway. The one on the
> left/east had a windmill, which wasn't working, as I recall. However,
> behind the rocks, below the houses, there was a stock pond that was
> completely hidden from view. Jim found it by following an electrical line
> that he hoped led to a well. That was on the east side of the road,
> the corrals and windmill. But it was also after rainy season, which may
> why it had water. Farther down the road, near La Ventana, there was a
> on the west side of the road, but it was hard to reach because of the
> new fencing. Too bad there's no water at the bathroom at La Ventana -- or
> at the campsite south of there. We got water from some Mennonite
> kids who were camped at that campsite - then again a few miles later when
> entered La Cebolla Wilderness Area. There used to be a couple of working
> wells there.
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