Saturday, July 28, 2012

Another goal accomplished

 I have met several goals over the past few years-- things that i always wanted to do, but never had the courage to try, or things that i was not in proper physical shape to do.  Several years ago, I made it up the East Fork Trail and down Las Conchas canyon, which was wonderful.  Two years ago I hiked to the top of Pajarito Mountain and back down.  Last summer, we went down the blue dot trail and up the red dot trail into and out of White Rock Canyon and along the Rio Grande.  And today another goal was met.  We rode the ski lift to the top pf Pajarito Mountain, and then hiked the ridge and back down to the lodge. Above is a picture as we ascended the Aspen lift.  Below are my fellow intrepid adventurers on the journey to the top.  It was my mother-in-law's first time on a ski lift.  That's something special at almost 86 years of age!
 At the top of Aspen Lift, one is rewarded with this view South (below), over the Rio Grande Valley and towards the Sandia Mountains.  We had gotten this far two summers ago when we hiked to the top. But the goal to be met today was to continue hiking along the ridge line of the mountain (from ~10,300 feet to almost 10,500 feet) and see the Valle Calderas to the West (and let me tell you, doing anything at over 10,000 feet is exercise for me!) and visit the places my children loved on this mountain: the Fab Four. These are double-black diamond ski runs where they spent much of their teen years. I have spent countless hours at home or in the ski lodge waiting for them to return with stories of adventure.  And now I finally was going to see those sights for myself.  And part of the reason for all these photos posted here is that I want my boys to see their old haunts, and know that I finally got there.
 The walk was gorgeous with beautiful vistas on every side.  In the distance we could see the devastation from both the Cerro Grande fire and the more recent Las Conchas fire, but much of this upper section of the ski area is unharmed.  We passed the Mother Lift (below) and then took a spur trail that took us towards the West.
 And there we were met with the view below, looking down on the Valle Grande and the heart of the Jemez Mountains.  It was spectacular!
 Also along this walk we came across another amazing view to the South, and a bench of particular importance (below), where one daughter-in-law, after being taken on a forced march of more than a thousand vertical feet, accepted my son's proposal of marriage!
 It wasn't until we got to the final of the Fab Four, Precious, that we entered the new burned zone.
 As we passed beyond, on what used to be a forested trail, we now have vistas into the north end of the Valle as we turned down the hill and began our descent.
 The scars of the burn from Las Conchas are everywhere on this end of the ski area (below) just as they are on the eastern end from the Cerro Grande. 
 As we descended through first the burn area, and then back into the trees, we were sad for the damage and changes, and yet awed by the new beauty.  There were wildflowers in profusion, and berries, and that amazing New Mexico sky.
 While the downhill trek of a couple of miles was harder on my thighs and knees than I thought it would be, it was a glorious morning. Our two and a half hour hike was a wonderful reminder of God's many gifts in this life, and I am so very grateful!


threesismom said...

Definitely enjoyed the armchair version. Not at all hard on the knees :0)

Jenifer Hanson said...

I love that you finally did this, Chris! It sounds like a wonderful way to spend the day. And I feel especially close to you tonight knowing we are both dealing with sore knees and thighs from our physical activity today!