1/4 th of July LbNA # 43986
|Placed Date||Oct 12 2008|
1/4th of July Letterbox.
SADNESS; my beautiful stamp is gone. I returned last weekend 10/9/11 and found pieces of paper and ziplocks, crayons for leaf rubbing, but no stamp or book or box:-( Stay tuned for a remake...
Gorgeous in fall, lovely any time of year, the 4th of July picnic area and campground (USFS) in the Manzano mountains is a wonderful place to take a stroll, take a nap, or get some excerise by hiking to the crest. In Autumn, often the first week in October, the Big-tooth maples growing in the riparian forest put on a lovely show of red, orange, and yellow; much paler than their northeastern cousins, but beautiful nonetheless.
Several trails wind through and lead off from the campground. We highly recommend the trail to the crest (#173) for hikers of all ages. A wonderful view awaits the hiker after only 2.25 miles on fairly easy trail. The trailhead is found off the right-hand campground loop. Trail #173 joins another trail at 1.5 miles, turn right and head to the Crest trail at 2.0 miles, turn right along Crest trail to a view point 2.25 miles. Loop hikes are also possible...get a map! Big-tooth maples grow at many elevations along the entire trail so color changes at high elevations start earlier than October.
Our letterbox is not hidden along trail #173. It is hidden along the Crimson Maple trail, a short nature trail that winds its way through the campground.
To 4th of July campground: From I-40 take NM 337 south until it Ts with NM 55, about 30 miles. Take a right into the village of Tajique. At the south end of the village is Forest Road 55. Take a right and follow the dirt road to the campground, approximately 7 miles. You will pass much evidence of the 2008 Trigo fire including evidence of increased flooding due to the lack of ground cover.
To the letterbox: Free parking is available at the signs that say “Hiker Parking” and “Picnic Area Parking.” A sign for the Crimson Maple trail will point you toward the 4 picnic tables at the picnic area. Walk up to the last picnic table to find the trailhead and a box containing trail guides. Follow the guide and trail to the “listening bench.” From mid-bench walk 55 paces East (before 2nd waterbar). Turn 1/4 turn to South. See the broken off, 4 foot high stump. Look within. Note: if there are no trail guides available then hike the trail and understand that the listening bench is not on the Spring Loop trail.