Thursday, April 4, 2013

John Dunn Bridge Hike

John Dunn Bridge
Spring in Taos.  What a wonderful, unpredictable, ever changing time of year.  The weather can be cold and snowing or warm & sunny...sometimes in the same day.  I have survived my first Taos winter...and it was, surprisingly, easier than I thought.  Don't get me wrong.  Summer will always be my favorite season and flip flops remain my favorite type of footwear, but the crisp, cold, impossibly blue skies, bright sun and blindingly white snow days of a Taos winter have stolen my heart too.
snow covered tree branches-view through a skylight

Early Spring?  Not so much.  Late February and the beginning of March means snow melt (= mud) and lots and lots of high winds (= blowing dust & pollen).  So last Saturday, when we were blessed with our first 70 degree day of the season, we decided to explore the area around the John Dunn Bridge.   Taos describes the bridge this way:

"Top 5 Best Kept Secrets About Taos, New Mexico

1. The Rio Grande Gorge

One of the wildest places in all of the southwestern United States can be found in Taos County. At the New Mexico state line, the river is 200 feet down, the gorge 150 feet across. A bit further south, just west of the village of Questa, where Big Arsenic Spring bubbles from the rock and pinyon jays heap in the winter, the river is a glinting green ribbon eight hundred feet down.
At John Dunn Bridge the river enters The Box, an 18-mile stretch of 900 foot cliffs, famous among rafters and kayakers. This is also one of the great migratory bird routes in the world.

Eagles, falcons and hawks make the basalt walls of the Gorge their nesting homes. Ospreys, scaups, hummingbirds, herons, avocets, merlins and willits all traverse the Gorge. Numerous hiking trails lead into the gorge, the Cebolla Mesa Trail and La Junta trail being the best in my humble opinion. Ancient petroglyphs, hidden hot springs and outstanding fishing opportunities abound. If you’re lucky, you just might catch a glymps of the recently re-introduced river otter."
(for the remaing 4 secrets click here).

The drive to get to the bridge is an adventure in itself.  You first drive to the town of Arroyo Hondo (about 10 miles north of Taos)  and make a left at the street by "Herb's Lounge".  You drive about 5 miles on a dirt road which follows part of the Rio Grande until you arrive at the bridge.  From there you can park and hike, fish, picnic, raft, kayak and/or just enjoy the breathtaking views.  A favorite experience is hiking down to the Stage Coach Hot Springs reached by driving(or hiking) up the hillside and hiking about 1/2 mile down.

What a wonderful day!  Sun, warm weather, blue skies, blue water, birds, fish, happy dog, peaceful humans...We will be back---often.

You might be asking yourself...Who is John Dunn and why does he have a bridge named after him?  John Dunn is part of Taos' history...and, as they say...a legend in this town.  For many years he owned the only bridge and the only stagecoach here.  He is described as quite a character.  For a more complete background check out the bio on the John Dunn Shops website.
mosey loved his hike!

Spring in Taos...I love it as much as Winter...and Fall...and Summer (ok, Summer wins)...but year round, this place is amazing.  If you live here, aren't we lucky?  If you don't, come visit...really, plan your trip now.  This place is magic.

my best,
April 3, 2013

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