Unidentified Hiking Object
What is the "flying saucer" on this trail? Susan and Tom Lynch know.
My first impression when I met Susan and Tom Lynch was that here are two happy, in-love people. They live south of Silver City where they grow much of their own vegetables, raise chickens and enjoy retirement. They are creative people who hand-painted their walking sticks and knitted their own warm, wool hats. When they're not busy in the garden, you might find them playing pool at the Senior Center or hiking on Boston Hill with their dog, Gus.
They also hike often in the Burro Mountains south of town, and since that's one of the areas I want to learn more about, I was eager to get in touch with them through mutual friends. When I asked about one of their favorite trails, they offered this option if I agreed to keep the trail's namesake a mystery and encourage hikers to get out and discover what it is for themselves.
Intrigued enough to go for this hike yet? Read on...
Name: Flying Saucer Trail, Burro Mountains
Distance: 2-plus miles round trip
Difficulty: easy to moderate
Directions: Starting at the corner of Broadway and Hwy. 90 (a.k.a. Hudson Street) in Silver City, take Hwy. 90 south 11.3 miles to Tyrone Thompson Road (if you pass mile marker 30, you've gone too far). Make a right onto Tyrone Thompson Road and drive 7.6 miles. On the left you will see a Forest Road sign for Forest Road 4090C. Pull into parking area on left.
Hike description: Take Forest Road 4090C for 1 mile to see the Flying Saucer. Please note that at the 0.66-mile mark, there is a road to the left labeled FR4248Y. Stay to the right for this hike and you'll shortly pass by a green wildlife water tank. From there the road veers to the left and uphill. At the 0.96 mark there is a bifurcation (okay, I'm showing off the new word Tom taught me — it's a fork in the road). Stay to the right here also. Soon afterwards you will see the "Flying Saucer" on your right.
What is it really? You'll have to take the hike to see it. Then figure it out, if you can, and then go online to my blog at 100hikesinayear.wordpress.com. On the right-hand side of the screen where you see "Recent Posts," go to the April 2014 post and in the comment section, write in your answer.
The trail is a shaded, mildly sloping walk on a dirt road through pine trees and other low brush. You will enjoy glimpses of long-range views and interesting rock formations along the way.
Notes: If you would like to take a longer hike, there are several side trails to explore, or you can continue past the "saucer" and hike farther up the hill.
What piece of equipment can you not hike without? Tom answers, "Our two-year-old dog, a coonhound/catahoula mix named 'Gus,' always wears a Sport Dog brand GPS tracking system when we are out in the woods. It consists of a handheld wireless device that allows us to see where and how far he is from us, and a collar unit that is waterproof. It has a range of up to seven miles, has rechargeable batteries and a variety of stimulation levels and types for training. We like it for our peace of mind. If he gets too far away, we can call him back verbally or with a tone transmitted through the system. We can see if he is stationary, which would indicate he may be in trouble, and we can get to him to help, like the time he got tangled up in some fencing."
I did some investigation into this product and found that there are numerous brands, options and price points. It can range from as simple as a beeper system (price around $100) to a deluxe system with beacon lights, expansion packages for multiple dogs, waypoint storage capabilities and more, for $400-$500. There are smartphone apps also available. These units are used for training a dog, tracking a dog and hunting with a dog.
Want to know what the Flying Saucer actually is? Pick up the May issue
of Desert Exposure and check the end of my 100 Hikes column,
or visit 100hikesinayear.wordpress.com on May 1 to find out.
See a new collection of Linda Ferrara's previous 100 Hikes columns at www.desertexposure.com/100hikes.