Cows Cause Danger And Shit In North Hills Rio Rancho

The cows in the North Hills subdivision Rio Rancho, NM by gregjsmith, on Flickr
The cows in the North Hills subdivision Rio Rancho, NM by gregjsmith, on Flickr

I’ve renamed the kob.com article titled “Free roaming cattle creating problems in Rio Rancho” to “Cows Cause Danger And Shit In North Hills” since that’s what it seems to be about.

Cow flops.

North Hills is plastered with them. They’re on the sidewalks. They’re in the parks. They’re even in your front yard! And that’s not the dangerous part about this herd of 8 or 9 cows.

“When you’re driving along the road and they just come popping out of the arroyo or something, it’s bad,” said North Hills homeowner Edward Kisner. “There’s cars going both ways. One will swerve into the other one’s lane. I’ve had close calls where I’ve almost made ground beef!”

We found the cattle shading themselves beneath a scrawny-looking juniper tree on the open range right next to the subdivision. Open range means the owner of the cattle doesn’t have to fence them in, It’s up to other property owners to fence them out – and North Hills is not exactly a walled fortress.

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US89 In Arizona Closed Due To Geological Event

A 500-700 foot section of US89 in Northern Arizona has crumbled according to the Arizona Depart of Transportation “US 89 to remain closed as ADOT assesses damage“. ADOT has also posted some video on youtube “US 89 Pavement Buckle (February 20, 2013)” showing how impressive the damage is.

While the Arizona Department of Transportation is still trying to determine what exactly happened to cause the ground to shift beneath US 89 Wednesday morning (Feb. 20) the agency continues to assess the significant damage to the highway. Geotechnical engineers are currently evaluating the stability of the mountain slope, approximately 25 miles south of Page.

“This area encompasses close to 500 feet of damaged pavement, but we had the opportunity in the plane to circle the area twice and it looks like the settlement could be a lot larger,” said Robert Samour, ADOT senior deputy state engineer of operations. “The area over the guardrail drops off a couple hundred feet; we saw some cracking in the soil down the slope, so I would say that this is probably a 500- to 700-foot section that we’re going to have to take a good look at for settlement.”

US 89 will remain closed for an extended period of time. There is no timetable to reopen the highway, which has over 150 feet of pavement that buckled approximately four to six feet.

Urinating In The Jemez To Find Bigfoot

Bigfoot

The species of bigfoot is so hard to find, but is apparently everywhere. Including the Jemez Mountians in New Mexico. From the Albuquerque Journal article titled “Bigfoot? In the Jemez? Perhaps“.

The New Mexico episode centered on a nighttime thermal video taken in the Jemez on an outing of the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization in 2011. The TV team camped out in the Jemez in the same spot that the BFRO captured a figure lurking in the woods and tried to lure a sasquatch by howling and urinating to mark territory in hopes the apeman would move in to defend it.

Overnight In the Ojito Wilderness

Limestone formations along a hiking trail in the Ojito

The Ojito Wilderness is about 11,000 acres of Sandoval county, New Mexico that was designated wilderness by congress in 2005 throught the 1964 Wildness Act. It is located west of Rio Rancho, New Mexico and is managed by the Bureau of Land Management.

The glow from Albuquerque can bee seen east of the Ojito. The Sandia’s can bee seen to the left of the short mesa and right of the tall light tower. The small red lights are from the radio towers on top of the Sandias.

People have been going to the Ojito for years before it was protected as a wilderness, it’s not one of the better known outdoor areas near the Albuquerque. The Ojito is a combination of desert; sand, cactus and scrub but also contains some pine trees and grasses. It’s sort of a transition area between the deserts in Albquerque and the forests of the Jemez. What makes the Ojito special is the number of impressive rock formations. There are a number of hoodoos formed by water millions of years ago, badlands and buffs.

Ojito Hoodoos
Ojito Hoodoos
Ojito Badlands
Ojito Badlands

I have had two trips to the Ojito, once in April of 2011 and this last time in June of 2012 and it will probably be a annual trip for me. Spring or Fall are good times to spend overnight in the Ojito, June is not. It’s hot, most plants have stopped flowering and there was a large number of nats and other flying insects. One of the reasons I like living in the desert is the lack of flying bugs so I was surprised at how many there was. There is no water, lakes or streams and people must bring it with them. As this is official Wilderness land no wheeled vehicles are allowed. Including bicycles. This probably keeps people away but backpacking a short distance in is well worth experience.

Firepit with hoodoos and a pine tree in the background
Firepit with hoodoos and a pine tree in the background

The area I camped included a group of hoodoos with a large area of sand and trees farther out. In the middle of the sand area there is a fire pit. Believe it or not while the rest of the state was under fire restrictions the Ojito was not. I verified with the BLM and was specifically told that the Ojito was not included with the rest of the state. Part of the reason might be because there is so little to burn. There are some pine trees spotted around the area the vegetation is pretty spares and well adapted to not getting water.

Trying to find out the fire restrictions in the Ojito was difficult. The official BLM webpage for the Ojito doesn’t tell a whole lot about restrictions in federal lands, as they are often different from the state lands. NM Fire Info lists state land fire restrictions and Public Lands Information Center lists federal fire restrictions.

FInally, New Mexico First District Representative Martin Heinrich created the Ojito.org website.

“Thank you for visiting the Ojito website. I hope you find the information here useful as you learn about and explore this unique and beautiful place. As someone who dedicated several years of my life to the creation the Ojito Wilderness, I also hope you will leave the area just as you found it. If we are all good stewards of this wild landscape, generations to come will continue to enjoy Ojito’s opportunities for hiking, hunting, photography and outdoor adventure. Enjoy. This is where the West is still wild.”

RIo Rancho Gets Sandoval County's Problems

A KOAT article “Animals Run Wild In Rio Rancho, Retired Officer Says” says that stray animals from the rest of Sandvoal County are being dumped in Rio Rancho.

“They’re either being brought by the citizens, who are dumping them in Rio Rancho, or they’re wandering in, and that’s just a burden in Rio Rancho,” he said.
Sandoval County leaders said the only animal control officer was transferred after he was involved in a criminal incident that was still under investigation.
Sheriff’s deputies were expected to continue to respond to certain animal control calls. Because they cannot transport animals, county leaders asked residents to take stray animals to local shelters to help with the problem.

Tunnels For Drug Smuggling

A tunnel was found running from Nogalas, AZ into Mexico for the purpose of smuggling drugs. The tunnel was 70 foot long, 3 feet wide and 2 feet high.

I was a little confused by this statement.

“This latest tunnel discovery shows that our ongoing collaborate enforcement efforts to combat drug and contraband smuggling along the Southwest border are having a significant impact,” Kevin Kelly, assistant special agent in charge of ICE Homeland Security Investigations, said in a news release.

Tuesday’s tunnel is the first discovered in Arizona since the fiscal year started on Oct. 1, said Mario Escalante, a spokesman for the Border Patrol in Tucson. Through August of the last fiscal year, 12 tunnels were found, compared with seven in the entire previous year, he said.

It appears the enforcement actions are having an impact, they are driving the smugglers underground literally.