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winter 2014



Explore Magazine 2014

Contents: Greetings From the Editor: P4 Jemez Day Hike: P6 Soda Dam: P12 Crafting a Survival Bag by C2G FAB: P14 Ice Fishing with Matt: P24 Explore 4x4-Beadlocks: P34 Winter Survival: P48 Photo Gallery: P50


Diamondback Rattlesnake, Ojito Wilderness. photo by DJ Rivera.


La Luz Trail, 7000 ft, Sandia Mountains. photo by DJ Rivera


Explore Magazine, Winter 2014


elcome, to this, the 2014 winter edition of Explore Magazine, brought to you by those crazy cats at I hope you guys have been having a lot of fun since the last issue. I know we have, although it hasn’t really felt like winter here in Albuquerque. A winter here consists of sunny days mixed with early dark frigid nights, which make it very difficult for camping, but perfect for ice fishing or hitting the ski basin.


n this issue we go over a few spots and subects local to New Mexico. First off, a little day hiking in the snow, with some of my words of wisdom when safety is concerned. However, sometimes the importance of snow angels take over any danger of the cold... did I mention it’s still very sunny here?


nother very cool activity that we had planned this winter was to go ice fishing. We invite Matt from Fish 4 Explore Magazine 2014

Santa Fe Ski Area, Photo by Ciaran Clark Enchantment to go over some of his favorite spots thoughout the state. Some of the fish him and his crew pull out of the ice are very impressive! Read on for his tips and tricks.


n this issue we also invite Gary in from C2G FAB, who specializes in products and gear to keep you alive in the wilderness, and make your general outdoor experience easier.


n the last section you’ll find Daniel’s tech write up on properly installed bead locks, which can be a life saver. There is no greater irritation than something that can be avoided, when you’re out in the wilderness. The last thing you want is your grippy aired down tires to slip. I hope you enjoy this installment of Explore, and keep your eyes peeled for the next issue, we already have some spring trips planned. Big Bend, Texas is of course a given for us in the spring, but we also plan to visit southern Arizona and return to Utah before the next issue, keep reading, and remember to share with your friends! -Will


Explore Magazine, Winter 2014


Explore Magazine 2014

Las Conchas: Day Hike By Will Wells Photos: DJ Rivera


o start off this issue I decided to share a little hidden gem in the Jemez Mountain area. The Las Conchas trail follows the east fork of the Jemez River, through the heart of the mountains, as they say. The area is very popular for family day hikes, as it has a relatively easy grade and a gentle stream to play in during the warmer months. Apart from these easy going folks you also see many rock climbers in the area, which has many suitable crags and outcrops for climbing, as you might tell from some of the photographs, although the area is blanketed in snow. Although we love to climb and mess around, this day was mainly to


get out of the city and play in the snow, capture the scenery and throw the occasional snowball! On a day hike like this you can, for the most part, take it easy and just stroll along in the wilderness taking photos. It really just screams winter when you see fresh fields of powder with snow covered rock outcrops in the distance, all the while the white and green tree line coming through for color. From Albuquerque the Jemez is always a popular destination for me, it’s within an hour’s drive, and doesn’t require extreme 4x4, packing or planning. You can pretty much stop anywhere on the mountain and find a neat day hike or picnic area. Getting to the area is very easy if you’re coming from Albuquerque. Head north on 550 to Farmington, then head east into the mountains on Highway 4. Stop anywhere along the river, and have a blast. Many places along the highway will not have any kind of amenities, and this trail is no exception. Whenever you go out into the wilderness be it, popular or rural, be sure to pack everything 8

Explore Magazine 2014

out and bring plenty of supplies. I think it’s a good idea to always pack a small backpack with a few snacks and extra water, and of course a small bag of survival gear, which you can see an excellent craft project by C2G FAB on the subject on page 14. Many hikes like this we can get carried away and just go without thinking, without being prepared. All too often you hear the stories of hikers who got lost close to salvation, while only a few basic supplies could have saved them. This is especially important during the winter; the nights can see extreme temperatures, as well as many unseen dangers hiding beneath the snow. One such example, on this hike it was all too easy to fall through the ice into the river, although not too deep, can still be an ankle breaker. From this trail you can really just wander off into the wilderness, some parts of the forest are blocked off by fence line, but as long as you obey any posted rules you should be fine. This is especially fun in the winter when the trail isn’t as obvious, I love


to just meander around in the trees and climb the rock walls, trying to find the perfect hidden nook to enjoy lunch or rest. We were able to hike off for about a mile, maybe mile and a half, untill we came to a fence marking the boundary of the Valles Caldera National Preserve. Which they neccesarily don’t want you going into, at least not from that direction. As I said earlier, as a day hike, this wasn’t too bad. right past the fence we found a spot where the rocks get steep, and a small little waterfall


Explore Magazine 2014

echoes through the tiny canyon. This proved an excellent place to stop, hang out, dry out, and take pictures. All in all, this isn’t as far remote as we like to normally go, but when all you need is to get out of the city for a while I recommend Jemez in the winter. The area can get very populated during the summer months, in which case I like to explore a little further. Stay tuned for the spring issue for more small day hike write-ups throughout New Mexico!


Explore Magazine, Winter 2014

Soda Dam: A naturally occurring hot spring on highway 4, a very popular spot for roadside photographs. A must stop for anyone first visiting the Jemez. Over centuries the mineral rich springs have produced a natural dam over the river.


Explore Magazine 2014


Explore Magazine, Winter 2014


Explore Magazine 2014


C2G FAB’s Gear Bag by Gary Lawson


ets face it whether you are an offroader, weekend warrior or avid explorer. In today’s world everyone is doing what they can to stretch that almighty dollar. Finding a few extra bucks here and there to expand enjoyment from a hobby for some has become a hobby of its own. My plan for this series of articles is to show how to make the most out of on hand items to get the biggest benefit from that hard earned paycheck. Kicking it off with something to help keep the average joe organized.


Explore Magazine 2014

Items needed:

- two unused Tyvek mailer envelopes (thank you USPS) - a straight edge ruler - a pencil or pen - scissors - around 22� of paracord (or other smooth cordage) - 1 cord lock (a 4 pack of these can be had at Wal-mart for less than 4.00) - a lighter or other sorce of controllable flame

Step 1:

Cut the adhesive flaps off of both envelopes at the fold, remove all non-adhesive portions from both flaps and then split them length wise down the middle.

Step 2: Lay out the overall

dimensions of your stuff sack on one of the envelopes using the ruler and


pencil. (The other envelope is no longer needed, you can save it for another project). Keep in mind the adhesive strips will be roughly 9� in legnth.

Step 3: Cut out the stuff sack

along the lines that we just laid out (the drop from these two cuts can now be discarded)

Step 4: Measure down 1� from the top of the stuff sack (the open end) and mark a line across the width. Now fold the top over along this line on both sides of the sack (take extra care on the connected edge it can be tricky).

Step 5: Take one of the

adhesive strips and starting under the flap that was just created apply the strip vertically to one side of the sack (try to center the strip on the cut edge of the bag) then fold it over and seal it to the opposite side.

Step 6: Find the middle of the 18

Explore Magazine 2014

paracord and match this up with the “factory seamed” edge of the sack. Run the open ends of the cord out either side and make sure to tuck it under the folded flap. Using two more of the adhesive strips seal the bottom edge of the flap all the way around the bag (there should be enough to wrap around the edges of the sack). At this time cut a small (1/4”) slit down the crease on the side the cords exit.

Step 7: Turn the bag inside out by

pushing the bottom up through the top. Once the sack is smoothed out and in propper shape, apply the last adhesive strip vertically along the seam that was previously sealed.

Step 8: Place the cord lock onto

the paracord and push it to the edge of the sack. Tie an overhand knot encompassing both ends of the cord, and using the scissors and lighter cut and melt the ends.


Step 9:

The last step is not necessary but it does two things 1) its a great stress relief if you have had trouble with this project and 2) it makes the Tyvek more plyable and less rigid. Take the finished stuff sack and crumple it up into a ball a few times. You now have a 9” tall 8” wide water resistant sack that can be used to organize gear, carry a fire kit or in a pinch bring water back to camp. And don’t be fooled by its size it can hold quite a bit. I was able to stuff a Stainless cup, a piece of leather used for knapping flint, flint and steel set, a tinder tube, an Alox Farmer knife, a premade fire board, 25’ of paracord w/ a carabiner attached, an Altoids tinder kit, and a golf ball and a paracord shepherds sling (for practicing my drive). And there you have it! stay tuned to my website (http:// ) and FB page ( c2gfab )for more projects! 20

Explore Magazine 2014



Explore Magazine 2014


Explore Magazine, Winter 2014


Explore Magazine 2014

Matt Pelletier’s Top 3 NM State Park Ice Fishing Destinations



he winter brings a new opportunity for adventure and the chance to explore your favorite state parks in a whole new way. Ice fishing is a great way to fight off cabin fever and keep the kids active and outdoors during the winter. Many of our New Mexico State Parks have excellent ice fishing areas and I wanted to take this opportunity to share my favorites with you. If it’s your first time ice fishing you should read the article I recently wrote titled “Ice fishing’s a blast... When you’re prepared”, in the 2013-14 winter edition of “Tails of Enchantment Magazine”. It will cover all the necessary gear and safety equipment you’ll need before you go. Contact the State Park office at the park you plan on visiting prior to heading out as ice conditions change rapidly and you don’t want to show up to find that the lakes closed to ice fishing. The number to each office can be found on the NM State Parks website ( Matt Pelletier’s top 3 State Parks for ice fishing

#3 Heron Lake State Park Heron Lake State Park is known for it’s Kokanee Salmon fishing but in the winter it’s time to fish the depths for lake trout or macinaw as some 26

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call them. The average fish is only 10 inches but you never know if and when something bigger will bite. Last year the largest laker I personally iced was 21 inches. An impressive fish but overshadowed by the monster laker my wife had caught the previous week. Her lake trout was caught using a 3� tube deadsticked in 50 feet of water on a JawJacker. When the JawJacker was activated the rod in the device never lifted but instead remained arched so that it looked as if the device hadn’t gone off. Me wife picked up the rod and set the hook again for good measure and 2 hours and 15 minutes later I reached down the hole and pulled the 35 1/2 long lake trout that boasted a 24 inch girth onto the ice for her! (Pictured above) Heron Lake State Park is a place where memories are made, the scenery is amazing and you have a great chance of having the lake to yourself as very few people ice fish here. There are places to stay in the town of Chama along with a market store in case you happen to forget anything. Don Wolfey


guides during open water but there aren’t any guides licensed and permitted at Heron Lake State Park that work during the winter. Watch this video of her epic battle, the land, and the release. watch?v=RrZNc8AgPMw

#2 Bluewater Lake State Park

Bluewater Lake State Park is the most amazing tiger Muskie fishery in our state and many say nationwide. The name of the game here is deadsticking cutbait for tiger muskies or the occasional catfish. I love this lake because of the


Explore Magazine 2014

opportunity it provides us to catch one of the most sought after fish in the nation fairly easily. Typically catch ratios for tiger muskies through the ice are extremely low but here in NM we have such an amazing fishery that there are days when you can land 7-10 tigers through the ice. Albeit it doesn’t happen often, but in the Midwest it never happens, so this is a very special fishery we all must respect and care for if we want future generations to be able to experience it. Please take a moment to visit NM Muskies Inc.’s website (www., there you will find tons of information that will help you prepare for your first tiger muskie trip. You will need special tools to be able to properly and safely land and handle these fish so whatever you do, get them before you go fishing at Bluewater Lake State Park. Bluewater Lake State Park is another one of those lake were you could land the fish of your dreams,so get out and go ice fishing this week! The only licensed, and insured guide service at Bluewater Lake State Park is Fish Enchantment Guides and they/we do offer ice fishing trips there. See my website www. for more info and rates.


Older video of Matt Pelletier and friends ice fishing Bluewater Lake State Park.

#1 Eagle Nest Lake State Park

Eagle Nest Lake State Park take number 1 on my top three State Parks to ice fish list because of he diversity of species in the lake. In one day an watch?v=FOT4IqzvfOg angler has the opportunity to catch a “Grand Slam”. A “Grand Slam” at Eagle Nest Lake State Park is when you land all 4 species of fish in the lake in one day; perch, kokanee salmon, pike, and rainbow trout. This is an awesome lake to take the entire family out to as the kids will have fun reeling in perch and there are plenty of hotels and accommodations right there in town. Fish with bait, small jigs, spoons, or use a Dynamic Lures HD Ice all day and you’ll have a good shot at catching all 4 species with the same lure. Trout up to 6-7 pounds call this lake home and the perch can get up to 13-14 inches. Pike just over 40 inches have been caught in the last couple years and the Kokanee salmon there average about 15-17 inches. Eagle Nest Lake State Park also permits atv’s and snowmobiles on the ice once declared safe by the Parks Ranger. Fish Enchantment Guides is 30

Explore Magazine 2014

also licensed and insured to guide at Eagle Nest Lake State Park and our primary season to guide there is the winter so go to www.feguides. com for more information and rates on ice fishing trips at this awesome destination. Until next time, fish on! Matt Pelletier

Video by Matt Pelletier/FE Media LLC of the 2012 Ice Fishing Tournament at Eagle Nest Lake State Park. watch?v=8tzDTKJzGQw



Explore Magazine 2014

F I S H E N C H A N T M E N T . C O M

Videos Reports Reviews ARTICLES Interviews BLOGS CONTESTS Much 33more!

Explore Magazine, Winter 2014

Explore 4x4


Explore Magazine 2014


Airing down your tires without emptying out your wallet! By Daniel Chavez


eadlocks are a common addition to any off-road vehicle, but just as with most things in our sport, there is a right and a wrong way of doing them. Without proper installation and maintenance, they can cause more problems than they resolve. I decided to write this article from personal experience, and perhaps to motivate more weekend warriors (like myself) to take the next step in their rig’s capability.. First things first, bead locks serve one purpose.. You guessed it, to hold the bead in place during a low psi application. By airing down our tires to a lower psi, we essentially create a larger footprint which actually forms to the terrain, rather than glide over it. However, without beadlocks, several issues may arise such as the possibility that the tire could slip or spin (also known


Explore Magazine 2014

as ‘burp’) on the wheel, or ultimately blow the bead off the wheel possibly damaging the wheel itself. To take advantage of the lower psi (sometime in the single digits), beadlocks are the solution to the associated side effects. By locking the bead in place, the tire cannot burp or break from the clamping force. But you may ask yourself, are beadlocks for me? Well, the short answer is it depends: Do you air down your tires often? For me, this was hard to answer. As often as I try, Houston doesn’t have the rugged terrain that the Western states have to offer.. however, since most of my excursions lead me in that direction anyway, I figured I couldn’t go wrong.


Are you willing to tackle the associated routine maintenance? My answer was yes. A once over with a torque wrench is just a 10-15 minute ordeal. And for what it is worth, I have yet to have a bolt force itself loose. I already have a list of items to check/tighten periodically, so what is one more to add to the list? Are you OK with possibly sacrificing streetability? My answer to this was a definite no. Not only do I daily drive my rig, but I drive it on long winded high speed trips; sometimes to the tune of over 1000 miles one way. That being said, sacrificing street ability was a big no for me, so I did my research and had a plan on getting around this hurdle. Options: Pre made beadlock wheels: There are several vendors selling these, and with some cool features and amazing looks comes a heavy price tag. The more pricy wheels are made of billet aluminum, and have counterbored bolt holes for added protection. Cost can range from $300 - $600 each wheel. Photo courtesy of: Internal Beadlocks: Staun Internal beadlocks provide a clamping force to both the outer/inner bead: See photo below. Several advantages for internal beadlocks are: they should (in theory) not affect balancing, 38

Explore Magazine 2014

there is no external signs that you have beadlocks, and they work on any rim with just a bit of modification. However, it is not uncommon for bead failure to occur due to a deflated bead lock. Also, installation is a bit of a challenge; but this is the case with all beadlocks regardless.. Photo courtesy of: Recentered H1 Double Beadlocks: These are extremely tough, and relatively cheap double bead locks (meaning they lock both the inner and outer bead to the wheel. You are stuck with R16.5 wheels/tires, which can also be found on a budget. While the popular 8 bolt wheels are more common, the 12 (and even 24) bolt options are much more secure; the more bolts holding the wheel splits together the more secure. Photo courtesy of: Trail Worthy Fab DIY bead lock kit: These are a drastically cheaper option, and a relatively easy upgrade for anyone who is competent in welding. There are many kits


on the market, varying from bolt count wheel diameter, and style of outer rings. This design has a couple of flaws, which I will address a bit later in this article. Photo courtes of: AtoZ Fabrication If you haven’t figured out from the pictures yet, I went with the DIY kit. Oddly enough, I didn’t get to do all of the dirty work though.. I purchased an extremely used set of beadlocks for a reasonable price off Craigslist. The wheels themselves had lots of rock rash, and even quite a bit of coning on the outer beadlock ring (the term used to explain the outer ring warping like a cone). Lets assume you are a cheapskate (like me), and are interested in the DIY kits... Below are some helpful basics specific to the DIY kits: 1. Coning: When the outer ring is tightened by the 40

Explore Magazine 2014

numerous cap head screws to the inner ring, ideally you would want equal spacing between the inner and outer rings (keeping them parallel). This would allow the tire to be clamped equally across the entire contact surface with the rings. However, most of these kits do not take this into consideration, and let the inner edge suck itself towards the inner ring without resistance. The force of all of the bolts tighten is more than enough to ‘cone’ the outer ring, as shown in the picture. The solution to this is to weld in an anti-coning ring to the inner ring, which will keep the inner/outer rings parallel, and more importantly force an equal clamping force on the tire. I used a strip of 1/8” steel that is ½” wide, welding/ bending as I went around the wheel:

2. Choose your hardware wisely!: The beadlock is only as good as it’s weakest link, of which is usually the hardware. If you choose weak nuts/bolts to secure your beadlock rings, you better hope you have good life insurance! The 1st thing that comes to my mind is a bolt snapping in two and hitting a car/ person as you drive by them. Do your research, and you choose hardware that best suits your application. Here is what I used, purchased from for ~$40:


- Grade 8 Hex head screws, 3/8”-16 thread, 1.5” long. I paid extra for them to have a silver coating, and not one bolt has any of rust. - Grade 5 Steel Nylon-Insert Hex Locknuts. The Nylon insert provides vibration resistance and prevents loosening. Do not skimp out, and buy regular nuts! - Zinc-Plated 3/8” Steel Washers, one for each side. 3. Valve Stem: The stock valve stems interfered with the beadlock rings on my kit. To inflate the tires, I had to manipulate the chuck onto the stem, which with each time risked breaking them. I opted to welding a plug in the stock stem hole, and drilling a new hole in a better location for a new stem. 4. Balancing: Your standard weights are useless on beadlocks, as the area they usually mount to is now the home of some ¼” wall beadlock rings. Rather than deal with trying your hand at adhesive weights, there is a much better solution: Airsoft BBs! By tossing in a calculated amount of plastic BBs into each wheel, each wheel now has it’s own dynamic balancing system. Scientifically speaking, the law of momentum conservation is at work. When the heavy side of a tire 42

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tries to force the wheel center in it’s direction, it forces the BBs to the opposite side of the tire, and (assuming there is enough BBs) will cancel out the opposing force. Try to imagine the force you feel on a roller coaster... When it shoots forward, your body gets thrown backwards in the opposite direction. The predetermined amount is not exact, as every tire/wheel combo is different. A good starting point for me was 10oz for my 35x12.50 BFGs, so I stuck to that. Keep in mind, you can always add/ remove an ounce at a time until it smooths out. 10oz in each tire, allows me to cruise smoothly at 65mph. Beadlocks, although a bit more work, have tons of benefits offroad. Whether you drive a competition buggy or a weekend warrior, traction is key in getting you where you need to go! Happy wheeling!


Fish Enchantment Guide Service Bluewater Lake| |505-264-2999


Explore Magazine 2014

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Explore Magazine 2014

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Last Words on Suriving the Winter-


he winter can be so fun, we love to go skiing, snowboarding, fishing, hiking, whatever. However it can be quite the harsh mistress as well, all too easily you could lose yourself among the uniform trees in the snow covered forest. You could easily fall through ice while fishing and be in a survival situation immediately. The obvious challenge here is that it’s cold and dark. So how can we best overcome this if something bad should happen? The answer is clear, BE PREPARED. It turns out the Boy Scouts were on to something with this. The easiest thing you can do is try not to panic, try to think of where you were, and which direction would be best to walk back to safety. In most areas of New Mexico, you will likely find people. They’re everywhere. Without a compass this is easily done with the sun. Around here, it always rises in the east and sets in the west. This should give you some idea of where to go. On a cloudy day one can cast a shadow on some reflective surface like the edge of a knife and still pick up where the sun is likely at. The snow will also be thicker on northern slopes due to the lack of sunlight in the northern hemisphere. The opposite is true in the southern hemisphere. Along the same wavelength, but less reliable, many mountains in New Mexico often have more vegetation, be it moss on trees or the trees themselves, on the northern side of the mountain, as it receives less sunlight than the southern side. This is only a generalization however, and one should always carry a compass especially if nightfall is upon you, and in most cases two compasses are handy. Many people can become quite stubborn when they “think they are right” and it has been documented that many will choose not to believe a compass if they think it’s wrong. They will assume it is faulty. With two compasses, it is VERY unlikely that they are


Explore Magazine 2014

wrong, and being a very small lightweight tool, why not throw an extra key chain version on your coat zipper for luck? Having the right gear is always important, but nothing can beat a little knowledge. That being said, why not carry a little extra gear? I don’t know how many times I’ve been in a situation where my day pack has come in so handy. In fact, I always leave it packed and ready to go in my car just in case. Beyond getting lost in the woods, I’ve also been stranded due to car trouble, you just never know. So, what do I keep in there that’s so handy you ask? It is very important to think of safety, food, rescue, shelter, among other things, but with that in mind this is what I carry: • First Aid Kit • Granola Bars • Full Water Bottle (Metal, to be able to cook, boil water) • Para Cord (Make Shelter) • Fire Steel • Lighter (Because in the words of Mykel Hawke “Bring a damn lighter!”) • Sewing Kit • Duct Tape (A few feet at the very least) • Backpackers Hammock • Knife (You should always have one of these anyway) You don’t want to bog yourself down too much, but just keep in mind “what if”. All of the things above are fairly lightweight and most you should have anyway if you go out in the wilderness. So, stay safe, and read up! I’ll have more safety advice in the spring issue! Have fun until then!


Explore Magazine, Winter 2014

Winter Photos From Around the State 50

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Explore Magazine, Winter 2014

Wintertime in the Gila, looking east Photo: DJ Rivera 52

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Explore Magazine, Winter 2014

Will Walking to La VentanaPhoto: DJ Rivera 54

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Explore Magazine, Winter 2014


Santa Fe Ski Area Lysette Bryant Tyler Allman 56 Explore Magazine 2014


Explore Magazine, Winter 2014

Santa Fe Ski Area Lysette Bryant Tyler Allman


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Explore Magazine, Winter 2014

Contributors Will Wells- Editor in Chief, Writer Daniel Chavez- Editor, Writer, Photographer Gary Lawson- Writer, Photographer Matt Pelletier- Writer, Photographer DJ Rivera- Photographer Ciaran Clark- Photographer Perry Muller- Photographer Lysette Bryant- Photographer Tyler Allman- Photographer

Above, Opposite, and Back Cover: Santa Fe Ski Area, Perry Muller


Explore Magazine 2014


Stay tuned, the spring issue will be back in April!


Explore Magazine 2014

Explore Magazine Winter 2014  

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