How to Beat the Desert Heat

We knew that if we picked a hike at a higher elevation we would beat the record-setting heat we’ve had this week here in Albuquerque. But we didn’t expect that we’d have to tromp through leftover snowbanks, sometimes sinking down to our knees in snow, to reach our chosen destination, the top of Deception Peak.

The start of this hike is at the Santa Fe Ski Area and when we parked the car we could look up at the slopes and see a few patches of leftover snow. But by the time that the trail winds its way up Raven’s Ridge you are on the backside of the mountain and in an area of dense trees not reached by enough sunlight to have yet melted the deeper snowbanks. We could avoid some of the snow by finding alternate trails but, at times, when we looked ahead and saw even larger piles we wondered if we’d have to turn around.

But we kept going. Before getting to the top the trail emerges from the trees and at that point, where there is another half mile or so of ascent over a bare, rocky slope, there wasn’t any more snow to contend with. Once we enjoyed lunch and the glorious views from the top it didn’t seem so bad on the way down to go back through the snow again. Especially since we knew that when we got back to Albuquerque the temperature would be well over 90 degrees. It’s so amazing that you can live here in the desert and then with a little over an hour of driving, combined with 3 miles of hiking, you can be playing in the snow.

View of Santa Fe Baldy to the north from partway up the trail.
View of Santa Fe Baldy to the north from partway up the trail.
An overlook on the way up.  Looking west towards Santa Fe.
An overlook on the way up. Looking west towards Santa Fe.
Start of some of the places where the snowbanks couldn't be avoided.
Start of some of the places where the snowbanks couldn’t be avoided.
A unique way to cool off your back after a sweaty climb.
A unique way to cool off your back after a sweaty climb.
Another view of Santa Fe Baldy.
Another view of Santa Fe Baldy.
Looking down at Nambe Lake.
Looking down at Nambe Lake.
Almost to the point where the tree line and snowbanks end before the final ascent on the rocky slope to Deception Peak.
Almost to the point where the tree line and snowbanks end before the final ascent on the rocky slope to Deception Peak.
Lunch break
Lunch break
The Santa Fe ski area is below in the bright green area.
The Santa Fe ski area is below in the bright green area.
Tiny wildflowers growing at 12,000 foot elevation.
Tiny wildflowers growing at 12,000 foot elevation.
Examining a rare bristlecone pine that grows just at the edge of the tree line.
Examining a rare bristlecone pine that grows just at the edge of the tree line.
Makes you feel like you are on top of the world.
Makes you feel like you are on top of the world.

GPS track on Every Trail

Author: bjregan

Enjoying retirement activities. Main goals for retirement are to stay spiritually, physically, mentally and emotionally healthy.

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