Mar 21, 2011 at 6:02 pm #1270896
"Spur of the moment"/salvaging a so-so ski trip, I did my first backpack trip with a pack weight below 10 lbs to see if it makes a difference * (see last entry). Backpacked here before but never had the time or energy to explore the "star" attraction though. So this was a good first test.
Upwards towards the mesa, looking over the Frijoles to the cliff dwellings.
Hot mesa … know your water situation before preceding
Dome Wilderness in background
Fire and ice. Ski runs at 100% at Ski Santa Fe in the distance while I'm slow roasting on this mesa … but I am enjoying this oddly enough
Getting closer to the intersection and junction with guaranteed cold water.
Starting down and finding leftover snow on north slopes …. below the desert
Below the arid mesa, conifers hide from the sun on these north facing slopes
5-6 miles while mostly gaining elevation gain from 2pm to 5:30 pm approximately. Tough but under a heavier load I would have been in far worse shape … A few sharp switchbacks and it's cool forest with sweet running water …
Dinner, then another mile plus before camp just before nightfall. Chose the Moment for quick set-up. Fast pitch but a little too much shelter for this benign environment. Maybe next paycheck ….
Only problem about a late camp is thinking a site is level but finding out differently. Planned to be up for the supermoon but crashed after a several miles in the afternoon. Woke up surprisingly fresh at 6am wanting to hike and not freeze waiting for breakfast, so slammed my canned Starbucks Espresso doubleshot, packed up in a few minutes and hit the trail.
Hiking by headlamp, feel light enough where stream crossing over a narrow (but high) board isn't an issue
OK, I could have just hopped over the rocks but couldn't resist.
Forces of erosion shape the canyon …
Undercut by water
Keep following the trail
Hoodoo hovering over trail, walk gently
Long way down just on the side of the trail. Trail breakfast 3 hours later Place to myself Time to play tourist again …Mar 21, 2011 at 6:18 pm #1712364
… Doing the tourist thing as I complete the loop. No tourists at almost 9 AM. With UL gear, no need to leave my pack down below
Deluxe apartment in the sky ("the Jeffersons")
Ceremonial room on the "balcony"
Yeah, this ultralight stuff is going to work out just fine ….
Long way down … here's some from the previous day. Another idea I had was using a small pack to conceal the fact I'm backpacking but as hardly anyone had even a fanny pack, it was pretty obvious. Still, hard to imagine doing this in a large backpack.
Late Sunday brunch warming up on the heater vents leaving Santa Fe NM as I drive home.
… still hungry despite UL gear.
*UL Gear making a difference:
Generally, I felt much more energy to explore with the lighter gear, though there's room for improvement, especially with La Nina bringing the hot season fast to New Mexico. High miles will still wipe a hiker out and demand calories.
Specifically, jury is still out on hiking poles, though skiing soreness was a culprit in my slow start and the poles helped speed me through the last miles.
Better camera: there were some bluebirds that I couldn't photograph on the mesa, so still looking at getting a better camera (my current camera is in a cargo pocket, and not on pack currently).
Other gear notes – Windshirt: Added a Patagonia Houdini which was used a lot in the canyon, but could have just used my rainshell. Gloves: Hands were cold using a pair of new Mountain Hardware "running" microfleece gloves, which replaced my thicker Manzellas with Patagonia glove liners – maybe a windproof fleece? Experimenting with a smaller pack when leaving from my auto to hike, so observers may think I'm wearing a daypack – didn't work. Glad I had the stove and hot food since the temps when down to freezing once the sun went down. Patagonia GI II pants worked in warmer conditions, cooler conditions, then discovered they are water-repellent when washing the dust off them…
Well I could go on but I will just be shopping the sales for vendors wares, as there's no 100% solution to any gear questions.Mar 21, 2011 at 8:36 pm #1712439
@eugeneiusLocale: Nuevo Mexico
HK, This was a great writeup, enjoyed your captions and photographs. I've never been to Bandalier, hasn't been on the radar. So I take it you did a UL stealth camp since Bandalier is a day use only recreation area? La Nina is wreaking havoc on the southwest, the USFS has issued a high fire warning with our winds and drought conditions- closures are a possibility at this point if conditions fail to improve. Maybe next paycheck you'll be able to pick up a tarp and get out there and free up some ounces from the pack. Thanks for sharing!Mar 21, 2011 at 8:51 pm #1712443
Only the cliff dwellings are day-use. Away from the ruins, backcountry camping is allowed via free permit by zone and a few interesting trips can be put together with neighboring agencies (Dome Wilderness, etc…). North there are national security restrictions due to Los Alamos labs obviously – no stealth camping there.
In terms of gear, love the Moment but an even lighter solution is in order for these dry conditions. Putting together my gear notes and shopping the sales right now. Hopefully the gear people can talk the price of cuben down ….Mar 21, 2011 at 8:54 pm #1712445
But you have to go back, 'cause you missed the stone panthers.Mar 21, 2011 at 9:09 pm #1712449
Actually hit the stone panthers on a previous "traditional" trip I did with a group years ago before I left the States. My idea was to compare this trip on the long, climbing mesa with previous experiences using a heavier pack – but will be back regardless.Mar 22, 2011 at 3:55 pm #1712902
@ikeLocale: Central Michigan
I enjoyed your trip report and pictures. Love seeing geography so different from what I'm used to. Thanks for sharing.Mar 23, 2011 at 3:58 pm #1713628
@chrishansonLocale: Eastern Wyoming
Great report. I'm hoping to make it down that way this Spring and hoping it won't be too hot for this Alaska transplant!
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