Bicycling, my first love, is a need that's harder to satisfy in New Mexico. Bicycling seems self-defeating to me if I have to carry my bicycle to somewhere in my car before I can ride it, which is the case here. The mountain road to our house isn't suitable for Ted's and my skinny-tired road bikes and we're not quite able to get our brains wrapped around the notion of buying mountain bikes, which wouldn't have custom frames like our road bikes do. So the bicycles languish, hanging from the ceiling in the storage room off the garage. We wonder if we'll ever use them again the way we used them for the first 30 years of their lives.
Hiking is a different matter. I noticed the simple benefits of two-feet-on-the-ground motation when I was a runner in the 1980s. All I had to do was put on whatever clothes were suitable the weather, tie on my shoes, and hit the street. No helmet, gloves, pumping up tires, bicycle shoes, lights, whistles--just shoes.
It is similarly simple with hiking. With 3 million acres of public forest and wilderness area a quarter-mile from our front door, getting out there is a matter of tying on the boots and going, carrying whatever gear will enable me to deal with unexpected developments.
A U.S. Forest Service trail that goes up there is less than three miles from our house. The trail can be accessed from a road through the nearby Ft. Bayard, but trail access on Ft. Bayard is several miles away by road. It's much shorter overland. To go that way requires either driving or trespassing or seeking permission to be there.
All are a hassle.
It's also possible to get there by way of the bowling alley, which is a straight-and-narrow right-of-way under some powerlines, bordered by barbed-wire fence and gated on one end, which leads directly into the Gila National Forest, 1/2 mile from our house. The bowling alley is intended as semi-public access to the forest for the people who live around here.