Saturday, February 4, 2012

Ellis Trail to North Crest Trail Loop

The snow we got last night was just about perfect for cross country skiing. Around here, snow trails are in the mountains so the terrain can get a bit rugged. Today, we set out north from the Ellis Trailhead in the Sandias. This trail follows an obvious clearing but is not heavily travelled. We cut fresh tracks most of the way.
The trailhead is somewhere way back there.

Cutting fresh tracks through little ups and downs.

Vixen grows an ice beard.

 Eventually (after about 3 miles) we met up with the North Crest Trail and started to circle back. The Crest Trail hugs the ridge of Sandia and so it can get rather windy. The trees grow a bit stunted and unless it has snowed within the past couple of days, there probably wouldn't be much for skiing. It was a bit chilly up there today, but the sun started to come out a bit as we found ourselves on a narrow trail between snow-covered trees.
Winter wonderland.

Enjoying this before we really hit the uphill climb to the crest.

Frosted trees.

Wind-swept aspen.

Enjoying the view to the west.

You might be able to see Bernalillo down there.

All of these trails on the north side of the Sandia Crest trail are pretty quiet and beautiful with fresh snow. We worked our way back uphill past the radio towers to the Crest parking lot and crossed the road. South of the road, we found a lot more people (but it's still not crowded) with wider trails that have more packed snow. From here, it was a quick, fun glide back down the Kiwanis Meadow Trail and Switchback Trail to Ellis Trailhead.

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