Get outside and have a picnic this weekend! A picnic with your family is a great way to celebrate spring and spend some time outdoors while maintaining a distance from others. Bring a frisbee or ball, books, some lawn games, or just yourselves on this outing!
Eat alfresco! It can be super-simple: just a snack in your backyard or on the trail, or you can go all out, with favorite dishes, a picnic blanket, some fresh-cut blossoms, the whole shebang. Share with us your favorite recipe, or a picture of your picnic set-up!
Outdoor Challenge (Advanced):
Add a sprinkle of nature to your meal. While there isn’t as much variety as in the fall fruit season, there are several edible plants in Northern New Mexico in spring. As always, never eat anything in nature that you’re not sure of, make sure to collect them from areas that haven’t had chemicals applied, and wash them thoroughly. Some things to look for in spring:
In today’s Take It Outside post we are celebrating our wonderful local trails! New Mexico is home to incredible and diverse outdoor spaces and our state has many great trails you can use to explore them.
What are your favorite trails in New Mexico? Tell us about them today!
Craig Martin shares some of the behind-the-scenes planning and work that goes into building sustainable trails. Craig is a PEEC volunteer, former board member, and local author. He was Los Alamos County’s Open Space Specialist from 2003 – 2015. Read today’s blog post here.
A good, strong, hiking stick is always a cherished treasure. Keep an eye out for big sticks when you go hiking! Please use deadfall for this project — don’t cut your hiking stick from a live tree unless you have permission to do so. Bring home your found hiking stick and personalize it with your story this spring.
Use Sharpie or whittle to add pictures and decorations to represent your life. Then, save your stick for many hikes to come. You can also use paint, ribbon, or other materials to decorate your hiking stick! You can decorate it all at once or add to it gradually as you have more adventures to add.
Erosion, a process where things like water or wind break down and carry away pieces of the landscape, is a major challenge in trail maintenance. You can see erosion in action if you make a pile of sand and dirt, and then spray or pour water onto it. What happens? If you use a little water, what sizes of rocks move? If you use a lot of water, what rocks move? Can you add anything to your pile (plants, sticks, etc.) to help protect it from erosion?
Go on a walk and look for signs of erosion. You might see:
Channels where water has run
Rocks worn smooth
Exposed roots where soil has been washed away
Holes worn into the rocks by wind
What other signs of erosion do you see? Let us know!
Outdoor Challenge (Advanced):
Read today’s blog post, and then look for some of the signs of active trail maintenance on your next hike. Can you find:
Trails descending gently, almost along contours
Grade dips: small trenches that carry water off the trail
Grade reversals: small uphill sections between downhill sections
Waterbars that conduct water off the trail
Wide, mountain bike-friendly turns
Steps down steep sections
Retaining walls holding the trail in place
There’s a lot of work that goes into trail design and maintenance! Thank a trail worker or volunteer the next time you run into one!
Have you started your Passports to the Pajarito Plateau? If not, now is a great time to do so. This program helps you explore our local trails and earn some prizes along the way. If you don’t have a booklet, you can print these versions on PEEC’s website: Passport 1, Passport 2, and Passport 3. When we reopen the nature center, we’ll catch you up on prizes! No printer? No problem. Just use a piece of scrap paper or take pictures with the rubbings.
Unfortunately, the Los Alamos Trails App is still down. While we work on updating it, we recommend trying out AllTrails as a substitute. Not all of our local trails are on this app, but many are! PEEC also has an online trail guide linking to various resources.