Wheeler Peak

I am at the top of Wheeler above 13,000. I said to Eric “I’m in the best shape of my life!”

My favorite part of camping at the Taos ski area: slithering out of the tent in up-dog style at 2am to use the bathroom (I couldn’t work the zipper to get out!). Unfortunately up at 9,000 feet elevation the temperature was in the 40’s and the bathroom was decidedly primitive. So, why was this my favorite part? Because I saw the Milky Way on my walk back to the tent. I always feel so lucky to see that shining clear night view of our galaxy.

We started the Bull of the Woods trail at 7AM, Eric in the lead. For the first mile, I honestly thought I wouldn’t make it half way. Fortunately another member of the group needed frequent breaks and I was quietly able to get warmed up without admitting my own struggles. Eric also stepped out of the lead: realizing that someone slower should be pacing the group.

This was the point that the hike started to hurt less and just be fun.

We hiked up 8 miles with occasional breaks to snack, rest, and look at the animals. We saw an alpine species of sheep, little critters I think were marmots, and some lovely birds. The hike itself was a fairly steady incline with many switchbacks. We were almost constantly climbing up and never had to scramble up steep areas. We were passed by one man running up the trail and his trusty golden retriever running all over the place.

The sheep. There were several… do alpine sheep flock?

Laurie. She is a seriously tough hiker!

The peak itself had amazing views. It was cold, windy, and crowded, but we enjoyed our lunch at the top. There is an aggressive chipmunk population up there: they are so tame they’ll accept food out of your hands.

The top of New Mexico!

We took the other trail down: the “short one” that goes by the lake. It was a rough trail to walk down since it was composed of loose rockslide. I comforted Laurie, who struggles with unsteady terrain, with girl talk. We discussed our own personal love stories and how we went from grinning like idiots on the first date to (practically) married. It was past noon and as we descended, it became very hot as the elevation droppped. We made a point to stay out of the sun as much as possible.

Rock slide.

We wanted to end our day drinking beer at the Bavarian restaurant at the base of the trail, but we’d eaten so well on the trail we skipped it. Unfortunately we found out after leaving the Bavarian that the “short” trail was simply so because the parking lot of the Bavarian is a mile uphill from the Bull of the Woods trailhead. So in the afternoon heat we walked down and down, talking about the ice cold beers in our coolers in the car.

We stopped at the Taos Cow on the way home for ice cream. It is a spot that received glowing reviews from the NYT and I was very excited. I wish I could say the Cherry Ristra (New Mexico pepper) was fabulous, but I prefer my ice cream more creamy and less icy. Yet it was a lovely way to end a long day in the sun.

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About mcddanielle

nature loving geek
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One Response to Wheeler Peak

  1. Pingback: The rumors are true: the Santa Fe art scene | corn2cottonwoods

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