I spend some time musing (amusing myself) about many topics, especially while hiking. Some are related to hiking and the subject of this BLOG. On this page I will describe a few of them:

Classification of Roads in New Mexico

We often seek out roads beyond the pavement, to find our way to interesting places. Conditions of the roads vary, from highway to gravel to … oops, maybe we shouldn’t have started down that road. To help identify conditions, I’ve come up with the following  grading system:

  • Class 1 – A roadway that is smooth, paved, in good condition (no potholes or other signs of significant deterioration). This could range from interstate to state, even county highways. One can travel comfortably at ‘highway speed’.
  • Class 2 – A roadway that is paved, but not smooth, e.g. the pavement is coming apart. One must use caution, can’t drive very fast (at least for very far).
  • Class 3 – We call this “New Mexico pavement”: a well graded road, usually (‘tho not necessarily) with gravel or packed sand. Will usually have adequate drainage to dry out in a day or so after rain. Suitable for speeds up to 30 mph or more.
  • Class 4 – Maybe it was graded with some drainage in the past, but now it has deep ruts from being used when it was soggy, especially from melted snow. Slow is the rule for these types roads. High clearance vehicles are recommended for many of them.
  • Class 5 – We refer to this type “road” as a “two-track”. It is -not- graded (nor has it ever been), but is there because a rancher (or other people) have used it over time to get someplace. Like Class 4, don’t go there when it is wet from rain or snow. Slow is the rule for these, too, and high clearance vehicles may be in order.
  • Class 6 – This would be a road which might be better used if you have an ATV. Try it with something less and you may find yourself stranded, not even able to turn around. (Been there, done that: Moon-Rito Peñas Negras Hike)

Names of Features

I’ve found it interesting that there are many names that we give to geophysical features. I’m going to attempt to define and/or differentiate them. I’m thinking that in addition to describing a feature with certain characteristics, there will be differences arising from the region where the term is used. I welcome your thoughts and ideas about definitions and uses of such terms. Leave a comment using the form at the bottom of this page. Thanks.

  • Depressions
    • Cañon or Canyon
    • Arroyo
    • Ravine
    • Gulch
    • Gorge
    • Valley
    • Ditch
    • Gully
    • Vale
    • Basin
    • Bowl
  • Stand-alone highland
    • Mesa
    • Butte
    • Plateau
    • Peak
    • Hill
    • Mound
  • Other ‘vertical’ feature
    • Cliff
    • Bluff
    • Ridge

Is it a Hike or a Walkabout or a Walk?

Another play with words: how might our ambulations be classified? I have used each of these terms in various BLOG posts. I don’t have scientific specifications, nor do I use the terms consistently, especially when some walks are longer than any hikes.  But I do try to establish some differentiation. Here are my musings on the subject.

  • Hikes: Hikes are characterized by length (2 or 3 miles or more), carrying a pack with water, food, and safety gear.
  • Walkabouts: Walkabouts are characterized by not carrying a pack and typically intending to explore some area or view sights.
  • Walks:

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