Started Thanksgiving day out with a 9 mile run along the Pecos River in Carlsbad, New Mexico. My iPhone app tracked 13 miles at a 5 minute pace. So much for accuracy. I probably ran an 8:30 minute pace over the course of three loops. Felt good after driving for 11 hours the day before. Later in the day I emailed Karen some links to Garmin GPS watches as ideas for a Christmas gift.
I discovered this urban riverside run when I visited my sister-in-law Laura and her husband Chad for Thanksgiving last year. It’s very pleasant with people fishing and geese vying for control of the sidewalk. For some reason I forgot that it is completely paved. I’d prefer a trail. Since everyone drives at least 5 miles under the speed limit in this town, I was able to gaze into the undeveloped desert on my drive back. It occurred to me that there must be more than a few running trails in this area.
I drive right past the flume on the way back home. It looks like an abandoned cement bridge to nowhere. Over 100 years ago, Ripley’s listed it as the largest cement structure in the world. There has to be some trail associated with this monolith. I queried it later in the day and learned that it launches the start of a 6.4 mile, 5-foot wide asphalt recreational trail that is located along the Carlsbad Irrigation District Canal and runs the entire length of the city. Okay, asphalt is not a trail but this looks interesting. An out and back will make for a 12.8 mile run.
So on Friday I parked back behind the hospital at the flume to run the Carlsbad Irrigation Canal. I wouldn’t describe this path as scenic or extraordinary in any way, but it is a hike and bike path and serves this purpose well. It begins by meandering through hardscrabble neighborhoods with $50,000 pickup trucks sitting in front of $30,000 houses and pitbulls tethered to dirt yards. These dismal abodes eventually yield to a more rural setting equally unattractive along the southern edge of town. I turned around about a mile short of the end because I wasn’t sure it continued and because I was ready. I ran back on the other side of the canal which was mostly dirt and gravel. I actually preferred this as it more resembled a trail and would be easier on my knees. Total time was 80 minutes and I’m guessing I ran close to an 8 minute mile pace for nearly ten miles.
Given what I know of Carlsbad to date, I recommend this running route. The river downtown is more scenic but it’s all cement sidewalk. This might not be much of a running town but I suspect the real runners know where the trails are. I did research online and just couldn’t fund much. There is the Ocotillo Trail near the university campus, but it is only 1 mile in length. There is Brantley Lake State Park 12 miles north of town, but I am not certain it provides any good trails. I’d have to drive there to know for sure. A bit disappointing I can’t find more online. Still, I intend to discover a trail for my next visit. This high altitude desert simply has to have some trails. If you are familiar with the area, please provide ideas via comments.