Riding in San Lorenzo Canyon, NM

By Patty Wilber

Jim and I decided to take Penny and Cometa to San Lorenzo Canyon on New Year’s Eve to do a little riding and rockhounding from horseback.  Penny had not been ridden since our hunt in October because she got bastard strangles.  This is when the causative agent, the bacterium Streptococcus equi, creates abscesses on internal organs instead of the more typical swollen lymph nodes and grossly snotty nose. She felt very poorly, and ran a fever from early October until almost Thanksgiving.  She was on antibiotics for well over a month.  Bastard strangles can be fatal, but with help from Dr. Dixon, Dr. Loya and Rachel Pozzi, she pulled through and is back to her old self.

San Lorenzo Canyon is near Socorro, about 5 miles off of I25.  I downloaded a trail map off the BLM website.

I had ridden in the canyon once before but we wanted to try the trails outside of the canyon itself. We started off at Little San Lorenzo Trail Head.  This trail follows a sandy arroyo and was marked for horses.  We soon came to a narrowing of the canyon and we led the horses through that spot in order to keep our legs on.  Then the trail came to a rocky step up that we did not feel all that great about attempting, so we turned around.  I turned on my Equilab at that point–or rather I decided to turn it on but realized I’d left my phone in the truck.  Luckily, we were headed back to the truck, so I got my phone and started the tracking program!

We rode on to the San Lorenzo Ridge Trail head. There were a bunch of horse tracks there, which we thought was a good sign.  Unfortunately, those tracks soon disappeared and we came to two boulders that the horses would have to go over or around. Jim decided to go around by stepping down a short steep drop and I decided to go over.  The footing was not slick, but I held my breath and was happy to be riding Penny and not a baby horse. Neither horse had any trouble, but it was visually daunting, which probably explains why there were no other horse tracks after that point!

After that, the trail on the canyon rim was easy and there were some gorgeous views.

Jim and Cometa enjoying the view of canyon. There was bright yellow lichen on the cliff edge in front of them, and of course, the photo does not capture the depth well.

As the trail dropped back to the canyon floor there was one of those hairpin cliff edge turns where it looks like your horse might just walk off the edge, but of course, they did not. Again glad I was not on a baby!

Down in the canyon, we stopped for lunch in a beautiful grove of cottonwoods.  It could be a nice dry camping spot! People clearly do camp there! And the nearby rock colors!

Near the cottonwoods.

Then we rode to the end where it cliffs out, and discovered a deep pool of water and some green rock veins in some gray rock. The rock-hounding guide said there were agates and geodes in the canyon but we didn’t find much which was ok because the macro landscape was pretty captivating.

Penny watching Jim and Cometa.

Jim and Cometa under that tower!

We rode up all the side canyons we found and then I got a wild hair to pretend I was in a western–one of the classic scenes where people gallop out of a slot canyon!  Jim filmed.  It only took two takes.  On the first take, Penny was pretty bunchy and really did not settle into any kind of decent lope.  The second take was better with only the tail swishy start and the little hump in the middle! If we were doing a virtual competition, we’d have gone a few more rounds, but for our Wild West film re-enactment, this was fine!

It was fun! The video is a grainy as Jim texted it to me and I uploaded it to YouTube.  Just pretend it’s a really old movie! I should make it black and white…Which I did on my phone and then upload that to YouTube.  I am sure everyone is so excited to see that version. It looks even grainier!

Here is a map of where we rode.  Just 5.6 miles. It was great weather and a lot of fun!

Happy first Friday in 2024!

Cancer Chronicles:  I am over halfway through the immunotherapy injections. Only estrogen suppressor pills to go, starting in March or April. My pants fit and my energy level is good!  There are a few residual things to deal with like minor neuropathy and some bladder issues, but overall I feel NORMAL (hehe-whatever that means).  I will be back to teaching two classes in person, two online, and am doing the AI project to replace two more.  Starts up again on Monday after doing 100% online this Fall.

About BlogPatty

Here's the skinny: I have a thing for horses. They make sense to me. I have a small horse training business (it's a "boutique" training business, not because it's super fancy, but because the horses get a lot of personal attention). I also go by Dr. Wilber, and teach biology full-time at a Central New Mexico Community college.
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2 Responses to Riding in San Lorenzo Canyon, NM

  1. Th

  2. Thank you! It’s good to know you are feeling better despite the cancer treatments.

    I used to often ride in San Lorenzo Canyon, before I became physically unable to ride any more. In January, deep in the canyon, by late morning on a sunny day, it can be a pleasant temperature. Summer, not so much! Did you get as far as the water hole near the end of the trail? Once Dakodah Herkenhoff was letting his horse drink from it but then he realized that a rattler was stretched out just inches from his horse’s muzzle. It’s a good thing it was a gentle rattler. We left it alone. Live and let live.

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