14. Land of Enchantment
The Telephone Trail

The Telephone Trail

I like looking at maps and running to random places on them.

Recently, I found a paper written about the Jemez Forest Telephone Line, a telephone system that played an integral part in the Forest Service’s campaign against fire in the Jemez Forest from 1906 to the 1940s.

The Jemez Mountains/Forest rise over the town of Los Alamos to the north and west (we lived in the Jemez Mountains for the first six months of or time here in New Mexico). The Jemez Forest Reserve was created in 1905 – an area reserved “for the use and benefit of the people…”. A year later, in 1906, work began on the telephone system that would help protect the area from fire. The telephone system was basically one single, bare telephone wire hung on trees, going from tree to tree to connect the ranger stations and lookouts across the Jemez Reserve. You can still see some remains of the wire and the insulators that were hammered into the ponderosa trees to hold the line.

Hanging the Telephone Line, 1933. Men used climbing spurs to attach telephone insulators twenty feet up in tall, straight ponderosas.


Because part of this new telephone line followed the Pajarito Trail (an old trail which existed in the area before the telephones and the government), homesteaders and area locals began nicknaming the Pajarito Trail The Telephone Trail. At the very northern end of The Telephone Trail is the Pine Spring ranger station which served as the forest district’s headquarters from 1918-1940s. Every year the Pine Spring station hosted an annual ranger meeting.


What is so special about Pine Spring? What’s it look like there? It sure seems like it’s in the middle of nowhere – which is where I like to go. So, I started researching the area and found a research paper on the telephone line of the Jemez Mountains (the photos and history of which I am sharing in this post).

And decided my next trail run needed to be an exploration of this area and to check out the remains of the Pine Spring ranger station.


Myra and I head out for the ten mile run, hitting the trail mid-morning.


Desert flower just off the trail.


Heading down into Guaje Canyon and then back up the other side.


Soaking up the sun and pounding the dirt.
I was surprised by how lush and green it is! These hardy flora and fauna still grow and bloom even in this driest of climates.
Sections of the Telephone Trail were old forest / logging roads.


After getting a bit turned around, we finally reach Pine Spring Ranger Station. I was a bit disappointed with the remains. I guess I thought it would be a little more well-preserved. Regardless, an excellent day of exploring on our local trails!
Myra soaking her tired and very sore paws in a little stream that ran through Guaje Canyon. She had a rough final two miles out but she made it back to the car.
Sections of Myra’s paws tore off during the run. I felt horrible! She healed up after a few days though, and joins me on shorter runs now 🙂

Thank you, Telephone Trail, you did not disappoint! A challenging run, beautiful vistas, a few scares on the trail (those pesky free-rangin’ bulls), and a little history made for an excellent excursion and a very memorable Mother’s Day (the rest of which I enjoyed with my  boys upon my return).





1 thought on “The Telephone Trail

    • Author gravatar

      I’m a little behind on your blogging but enjoyed the history lesson and seeing Myra’s sporty sock fashion 😢🐶

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