I've been trying to give a little focus to the hikes that Outspire offers, by putting them into a loosely-defined menu format, based on the season, and on what I've discovered are the most popular choices. The landscape around Santa Fe is so varied that we can find some wonderful place to hike all the year round, no matter what your abilities.
And I've added a new hike - or rather, a walk - to the choices, something strongly aligned with my personal interests: a local geology walk.
It is unusual to find a place where the complex geologic history of a region is recorded in a small, easily-walkable public area, but such a spot exists only a few minutes' drive from downtown Santa Fe.
An isolated fault-block in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains gives us a window into the early history of the Ancestral Rocky Mountains, during the time of Pangaea when all the Earth's continents converged into one. Sediments accumulated then, and beautifully exposed examples of the three main sedimentary rocks can be examined along our walk. Because of their fossil content, we can learn how geologists think of these rocks as records of ancient environments, rather than simply 'rocks'.
This block of rock has been strongly deformed by the forces that built the Laramide Rocky Mountains. This gives us some additional opportunities to see how rocks fold and fault, and to learn how geologist unravel the directions along which tectonic forces act.
And we'll lift up our eyes to consider the modern landscape, which is the product of tectonic, volcanic, and erosional processes going on right now.
Since I've taught physical and historical geology at the Santa Fe Community College for several years, I have a variety of hands-on visual aids to help us understand what we're seeing. This walk is a great opportunity for children, since they can actually see and touch fossils, see and touch important rock types, and put their hands on a fault that no doubt once produced earthquakes as the early mountains rose.
You can find more information under the tab "Geology" on this website. I hope to begin offering this walk in mid-March, once the icy patches on the trails are gone.