Aug 16, 2011 at 10:37 pm #1278158
@hknewmanLocale: Western US
The Pecos wilderness next to Santa Fe, NM reopened after being closed for about 2 months due to fire danger.
Coming from the south, I start at Jack's Creek and the smell of nearby horse trailers is pretty strong:
Switchbacks are divided between hiker and horse so you aren't climbing through the horsey doo (nice)
On the ridgetop, I am surprised at the soil dryness – this area is usually muddy, though the vegetation looks lush from the monsoon rains (nice for hiking but bodes ill for drinking water):
.. so far the tree rich start of the trail has a burnt smell usually reserved for dry season down south is another observation.
Approaching the junction with Beatty's trail, normally this would be the end of a muddy slog but not this time:
First trail junction appears soon:
Reminded me of an old ABC Saturday morning educational cartoon lyric, "[trail] junction, what's your function?" – must have been the altitude at about 11,000 ft. I need to get out more ….:
Summer cottages are hidden and you cannot make out the road to the world famous Hamilton Mesa, the veg being so lush.
Cattle roam some parts of the Pecos:
Later I would see them up higher looking for water – a first
.. as I started wondering about water
… and more trail:
Normally there's some springs I refill at but not this time. A little worried, getting more worried.
Made camp and found water.
If I hadn't found water, with my lighter pack I could have gone back the approximately 9 miles. But then I would have missed ….
Full moon over camp
The goodness that is orange stuff from Mountain House lasagna:
Actually made a soup but it was so dry, a soup is what I needed:
Deer at Baldy lake looking for a drink (another first)
Saw cattle coming up the next morning which was really unusual.
Baldy lake was an epicenter of wildlife and livestock, and the water was brackish. Normally there are plenty of springs and one does not see such a conglomeration of animals. So I said bye and vowed to return next year when water was not in such short supply.
I could have gone with a 40F quilt but luckily brought my Moment since there were biting flies, bees buzzing about, etc…
Note: I will be editing the above to straighten the pics ..
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