The Box, only a few miles outside of town, has trails and activities for all skills and ages.
Jay Ann Cox | El Defensor Chieftain photos

“I climbed a rock!” Six-year-old Cobie Pound exclaimed and then ran down the riverbed to show the enormous rockface she had attempted a few days’ prior. In a pink sparkly hat and unicorn T-shirt, she was dressed for a good morning of hiking with her family in The Box.

Cobie Pound, age 6, joined her family to explore The Box at SCOPE’s “Celebrate and Elevate” event on June 3. Cobie demonstrates just how to start a climb.

The first “Celebrate and Elevate” event last Saturday was held at the Box Canyon Recreation Area. SCOPE (Socorro County Options, Prevention and Education) Health Council planned  the event with an eye to attract lots of people who have never been to the recreation area.

There are a variety of opportunities in the canyon—it’s not all hard-core climbing and bouldering. There are numerous hiking trails for all levels of skill, mountain bike trails, plenty of rock hunting areas and glorious vistas of the high desert.

The Pound family had come out with their three children, and an aunt and grandmother. Billy Pound, the father, admitted that his parents ranched over towards Magdalena, and he was raised here, but he had just had always driven past the recreation area. Until a few weeks prior, when there had been some climbers doing a demo. That’s when Cobie climbed her rock. Billy said of his daughter, “Now, she’s just kind of got the bug, you know?”

Sam Winter of SCOPE said, “There are so many who live here who have no clue that the Box even existed.”

SCOPE scheduled a day of hiking, biking, climbing demonstrations, even mindfulness sessions with Maureen Wilks. There was a “selfie scavenger hunt” (two versions: easy and hard). “Scavengers” who completed their tasks were eligible for a drawing later in the day for a gift card from Que Suave and other goodies from local businesses.

Many of the trails are mountain-bike friendly and provide technical challenges for cyclists.

There were also two group bike rides—one for beginners on a six-mile loop and the other a community ride for the more technically skilled, from the canyon to the convention center.

A guided hike up to Black Canyon and a portion of Blue Canyon took advanced trekkers on a seven-mile trail through varied terrain. Climbing demonstrations were conducted at Waterfall Wall. Despite a surprise rain shower around 1:30 p.m., everyone enjoyed the day outside.

Back at the event area, several outdoor recreation organizations pitched their tents to share information and swag with participants.

The Mineral Museum at New Mexico Tech was present along with Socorro Trails, a local volunteer group that establishes and maintains multi-use non-motorized trails in the county. Socorro Search and Rescue, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, Bosque Del Apache National Wildlife Refuge and the outdoor recreation division of the New Mexico Economic Development Division all showed up to highlight the many outdoor recreation opportunities in the state.

SCOPE will consider adding a yearly excursion to the canyon to its list of many events and activities as part of its mission to improve the physical wellbeing and mental health of Socorro.