FROM THE GRAND OPENING

Great weather.

Great visitors.

Great volunteers.

For those of you who couldn’t make it to the US Forest Service and NMRTA grand opening of the Bridal Veil Falls Rail Trail on October 27, 2012, here are some pictures.

Marcie Kelton, of the U.S. Forest Service, speaking to the crowd.

Marcie Kelton, of the U.S. Forest Service, speaking to the crowd.

US Forest Service representative, Marcie Kelton, warmed up the crowd.

Grady Nicholson, president of NMRTA, addresses the crowd.

Grady Nicholson, president of NMRTA, addresses the crowd.

President Nicholson, looking like he was going to out-hike everyone, said a few words.

Nicholson and Kelton cutting the ribbon.

Nicholson and Kelton cutting the ribbon.

Quick cut the ribbon or we’ll be run over by impatient hikers.  Already had two trail runners zip under the ribbon!

Crossing Crowd

Crossing Crowd

Of course, the star of the opening was the crossing itself.  What a difference this crossing has made.  There is something about all the green grasses and flowing, gurgling water that just pulls people to this site.  Eight months ago if you walked this part of the trail, you picked your way carefully through rocks and brush down a 45-degree angle, jumped the incredibly cold, muddy-sided stream, and ascended equally difficult terrain to a very narrow trail.  This wet crossing was the most difficult walking spot on the whole trail, a bottleneck for those who couldn’t take extreme terrain.  Not only did the work crews build a crossing over the steepest area, they also worked on either side of the crossing making the trail at least 3 feet wide, less steep and very stable.  We hope those of you who haven’t walked the trail because of this spot will come on out and enjoy more of the great outdoors.

Crossing Construction Photos

Crossing Construction Photos

For those who haven’t been seeing our workday photos, here they are to show the stages of crossing construction.  Volunteers spent many hours carrying and tossing rocks, moving dirt, carrying construction materials and building.

GPS Raffle Winner

GPS Raffle Winner

Knowing everyone would stop at the falls, volunteers handed out water and munchies.  Draney Orchard donated boxes of fresh-off-the-trees apples.  In the photo above, Board Member Susan Wheatley, who donated a Garmin eTrex gps, congratulates the raffle winner.  The crowd showed off their good sportsmanship by not chunking rocks at the lucky man.

What the pictures didn’t show were the many volunteers who made this day possible.  Three fire departments responded and Holloman Air Force personnel directed traffic.  Four High Rolls/Mountain Park businesses, High Rolls General Store, The Tunnel Shop, Rustic Log Cabin, and The Apple Barn discounted selected purchases when hikers arrived sporting an Opening tag.  High Altitude, a Cloudcroft outfitting business, provided the parking shuttle.

All in all it was a great day.  For those of you who made it, thank you.  For those of you who didn’t, come on out, the trail is open and fine.

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