Southwest Speedster  LbNA # 58196

OwnerWisconsin Hiker      
Placed DateMay 29 2011
CountySanta Fe
LocationSanta Fe, NM
Found By Children of the Forest
Last Found Aug 4 2015
Hike Distance1-2 mi
Last EditedMay 14 2016

Last found/checked: 29-MAY-11

Location: Santa Fe Ski Basin. Fifteen miles from downtown Santa Fe on NM 475 will bring you to the end of the highway and the parking lot for Ski Santa Fe. Park in the lower or western side of the lot. The trailhead is just north of the toilet building, at a large informational kiosk.
Terrain: Steady uphill climb on wide trail (downhill to return!)

Time/Distance: approximately 1.6 miles roundtrip with 500 ft. ascent/descent.

From the trailhead, cross the small bridge over the Rio en Medio, then take the Winsor Trail to the right and follow the trail uphill as it begins a steady climb, switchbacking to the Pecos Wilderness boundary at a wooden fence with a walk through gate.

To pass the time as you hike, I’ve included some info about the “Southwest Speedster” and some comparisons to a letterboxer.

Roadrunners are well adapted to dry conditions, and don’t have to drink a lot of water. However most letterboxers are not as tolerant of these conditions, especially when ascending 500 ft, so hopefully you have plenty of water with you!

This bird walks around rapidly, running down prey. It mainly feeds on insects, fruit and seeds with the addition of small reptiles, including snakes, small mammals, spiders, scorpions, centipedes, millipedes, small birds, their eggs, and carrion, including roadkills. It kills larger prey with a blow from the beak—hitting the base of the neck of small mammals—or by holding it in the beak and beating it against a rock. Two roadrunners sometimes attack a relatively big snake cooperatively. You, however, will probably prefer to bring your own fruits and seeds with you and skip the other things the bird finds tasty.

Although capable of weak flight, the roadrunner spends most of its time on the ground, and can run at speeds of up to 26 miles per hour. You are probably walking quite a bit slower than that as you trek towards the gate.

Roadrunners are tough to see against the brownish desert background. Their brown/black speckled and off-white coloration blends in well with their habitat, which helps them avoid predators and hide from approaching prey. Letterboxers often try for the same effect, wearing earth tones to escape the notice of muggles.

The roadrunner is the largest North American cuckoo. Many friends and family members think a letterboxer is a “cuckoo” for getting so much enjoyment out of the hobby!

OK, you made it! From gate, zig-zag your way in like a roadrunner. Head in for approximately 34 steps on a bearing of 264°. Change to a bearing of 200° and pass between a single on the left and a double on the right. Continue until you reach a “Y” tree. Take 34 steps again on a bearing of 295° to a double with rocks at the base, then head due north for 10 steps. The speedster is taking a rest under a pile of small rocks near some larger companions. Please rehide her carefully.

You can return to the gate and hike further up in various directions to find some other boxes or simply make your way back down.

We live quite a distance from here, so would really enjoy an email update to let us know how this box is doing. Thanks!