S05E13 – We’re going Off-Road!
This episode will be a little different because my guest this time isn’t a person – it’s a resource.
Back in 2012, I made a purchase. At the time, all of my friends owned 4-wheelers, and I grew up riding a friend’s 4-wheeler in Chokecherry Canyon. When my friends would go on rides around Navajo Lake, I would sometimes borrow an unused 4-wheeler and go with them. But, in 2012, I wanted something a little different . . . and something that was mine.
I bought a little Polaris RZR 570 because it could go on all of the small 2-track trails where my friends rode their 4-wheelers. Where I had lots of fun before . . . now, I was addicted. I could strike out on my own and explore this amazing countryside.
Did you know that only about 6.5% of the land in San Juan County is privately owned? We have a vast amount of public lands under the management of organizations like the Bureau of Land Management, the National Park Service, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and the US Forest Service.
Of course, I live in San Juan County, but the majority of my off-road riding takes place in Rio Arriba County around Navajo Lake. And Rio Arriba County land is still only 16% privately owned. That leaves a LOT of space to explore. And explore, I have!
Because of our local off-roading opportunities, I’ve explored the countryside from Cutter Reservoir to the Colorado Border across the lake from Arboles. In doing so, I’ve learned a lot about our area that you only see when you leave the pavement and get out into the dirt.
I grew up visiting places with parking lots and visitor centers . . . like Aztec Ruins and Mesa Verde. Now, I go out and find places that have no parking lot . . . no visitors center . . . they’re not on a paved road . . . and most require you to find a trail that gets you close, then hike the rest of the way to see them. There are Native American ruins and petroglyphs scattered all over this countryside. Exploring the trails looking for them is half of the fun. Then hiking in and standing under our beautiful New Mexico skies while admiring a cultural site with nobody around for miles is a really special feeling.
Running across deer and elk . . . even wild horses is a regular occurrence off-road . . . and always a special treat. There is so much beauty in this landscape that isn’t readily apparent from the pavement.
I encourage you to get out, get off the road, and take advantage of the off-roading opportunities available in our area. Farmington features the Chokecherry Canyon Glade Run Recreation Area that is absolutely packed with trails to ride. There’s also the Dunes and Head Canyon just south of Farmington.
You can explore these areas on your own, or you can book Black Bear Unlimited for one of their Jeep Tours – either with your own vehicle (it doesn’t have to be a Jeep) or just ride along in theirs! And if you want to explore the countryside south and east of Navajo Lake – hit me up and I’ll be more than happy to show you around on a Saturday between the Spring and Fall.
Whatever you decide to do . . . always remember to respect the landscape, wildlife, and cultural sites you encounter in your off-road adventures.
Thanks for riding along with me! I’ll see you on the trails!