The Santa Fe Canyon Preserve is 190 acres of restored wetlands owned jointly by The Nature Conservancy and Santa Fe. At one time it was comprised of overgrazed hillsides surrounding a silted-in reservoir. TNC worked with the county and the water authority to restore the land and the wetland. Now it is a songfest of warblers and red-winged blackbirds and a construction zone for beavers. A gentle trail loops the wetland with options for mucking along a muddy trail or avoiding the mud on higher ground. We chose the would-have-been-muddy-if only-there-had-been-rain trail and were rewarded with a press through vibrant desert willow, fenced-trunk cottonwoods and wildflowers. From the higher points along the trail, we looked down on cattails, peering among the reeds for illusive beaver. And in the distance, the mountains rose to the 1.6 million acre Santa Fe National Forest. And all within 1/2 hour of town.