Tuesday, July 6, 2010

San Pedro Parks

Once again, we ventured into uncharted territory (for us) within New Mexico for a backpacking trip over the holiday weekend. This is the San Pedro Parks wilderness section of the Jemez Mountains, a high-elevation wilderness of dense forest and grassy parks. Along with a friend who is visiting before moving to Colorado, we spent 4 days hiking about 40 miles. Couldn't really say exactly how many miles because we frequently found ourselves without a trail, despite bringing along a good trail map.

Above, is the highest point we reached: San Pedro Peak itself at 10,500 feet. As you can see, it was quite an accomplishment scrambling up those rocks to a height almost the same as Sandia Peak. Actually, the Geronimo Lake trailhead where we started is at about 9200 feet, so this whole area stays pretty high in elevation. We'll have to go back with cross-country skis in the winter!

Often, the trail was easy to follow, but other times it would disappear under thick grass crossing a park, or underneath fallen logs in the forest. Most of the time, we were able to pick the trail back up again, except on day 3 when we deliberately left the trail shortly before lunch. We didn't find a trail again until later in the afternoon, and then we had no idea what trail it was because it was not labeled. We didn't figure out where we were until the last day when we finally came across a trail intersection with a sign. Fortunately, we were about 8 miles from the trailhead and it was an easy walk out on Monday.

Apparently, carving names into trees is a tradition going back 70 years in this area, and it's hard to find an aspen with any blank space left. The handwriting on the trees helped us find the trail when it wasn't visible in the ground, but then it also led us down trails that certainly were not on our map.

1 comment:

  1. Pretty! Must've been cool up higher. Is it hot down there? Seeing names in trees usually makes my blood boil but ones like you found from the far past are interesting. I came across that in Great Basin NP with dates in the 1800's. Have you found the Knitters at Campfires group on Ravelry, BTW? Heather