Stomping into the New Year –

I just finished making all of the annual changes that are involved in adding a new year to the diary and web site. When I changed the title page it struck me that starting the 14th year represents a significant chunk of time during which I have been keeping this journal of sorts.

On thing that is readily apparent is that during the last three years the actual writing of entries has suffered but the redemption is that there are many issues and events preserved in the photo blog. That really was kind of the plan, that the photo blog would serve as a placeholder until I had time to write, but somehow the time never seemed to appear.

I am also starting year four of my current job, at least from the travel count perspective. I started in August of 2008 and really didn’t start hitting the road until January of 2009. In the past three years I’ve averaged 100 flights a year and about 60 nights on the road.

Is it any wonder that just a couple of days ago I decided to bag another four day “trip” to San Francisco over the New Year? I told Mrs. that I’d had it with airplanes and that I was quite happy to stay in New Mexico for the weekend.

So we drove the seventy miles to Santa Fe and stayed there on Friday night, had great meals and experienced even more wonderful music over two evenings and were home by 9:00 on New Years Eve, long before the drunks hit the roads.

We even got in a trip to the hot springs at Ojo Calliente.

But that’s an entry for another day, photos and all.

Yesterday, on New Years day I took advantage of my season’s pass and rode the tram up to the top of the mountain for the second time in a week. I took out the snowshoes that were my Christmas present this year and headed on out to the trail. I was thinking that I might try and climb the whole mountain today but after a little over a hour of trail bashing, I decided that enough was enough and there was no reason for me to beat up my body for hours on end.

Although you can’t see it clearly in this image, there is a slight indication of a trail that is about 100 feet or so below the top of the ridge line, detailed below.

Unfortunately for me, the hiker who braved his or her way through the snow was not wearing snowshoes and basically stomped deep holes into the snow all the way across the lateral portion of this trail.

As you can see from this image, the slope is severe, and a fall could send you rolling downhill into some serious rocks or trees.

Had our errant wanderer used snowshoes I’m sure they would not have cursed the entire trip over from the saddle and they would have made it a lot easier for those who would follow behind.

I almost got to the first major turn to the west before I decided that I’d have enough and figured it would take a somewhere between one and two hours just to cover the one mile to the saddle, and then the same amount of time to return. When you consider that I can climb the entire mountain in about three hours in the summer, that kind of slog after a day of climbing is now off my agenda till the spring.

Looking to the north you can see the trail as it crosses from east to west. You can also see the incline that doesn’t really seem all that treacherous in the summer, but when it’s all leveled out with a blanket of snow and ice, everything changes.

Among the other things that I’ve done to keep myself busy from time to time is to build a portfolio of images that are inserted into Google Earth. So far just about every image that I’ve submitted has been accepted. Hopefully the larger image of this will be as well.

Like I said, I almost made it to the point where the trail makes it’s westerly curve, which would also be the point that is visible from the first image that I took a couple of days earlier.

Check out the larger image and perhaps you can imagine what it’s like to stomp through the snow at a little over 10,000 feet.

In the middle of last year I got this great new GPS from my daughter and son-in-law. Among other things it measures is your heart rate. I can tell you, and the print out is proof, it’s no walk in the park.

The devil, as they say, is in the details.

Anyone care to join me on my next slog? At least if you wear snowshoes, you don’t have to worry about punching “post holes” which is what happened to the poor person who made this trail.

This entry was posted in Hiking, Hiking in New Mexico, Snowshoeing in New Mexico, The Sandia Mountains and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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