Yesterday when we discussed a hike to the Cerro Grande summit, the highest point in Bandelier National Monument, we realized that it had been almost exactly one year ago that we first did this hike.
This is certainly not a challenging hike, and because of the huge 2011 Las Conchas forest fire in the surrounding area, one could also say that the scenery leaves a lot to be desired. While it is true that the burn scars detract from many of the views at the top, there is still enough awesome beauty to make the 2-mile hike to the top more than worth it.
Another reason for wanting to revisit Cerro Grande was to share it with our two friends who have recently moved to New Mexico and are anxious to enjoy all the natural beauty this part of the state has to offer. The four of us had camped overnight last night at the Jemez Falls campground. The trail to Cerro Grande is near Jemez Falls, actually on the road that they would be taking back to their home in Espanola.
Yesterday we had enjoyed hiking with them on 2 different sections of the East Fork of the Jemez River trail. We first went the 2 miles down to the McCauley Warm Springs and back up. Then a short drive took us to the Las Conchas trailhead where we walked for a mile or so along the river, before backtracking to get back to the camp for dinnertime. Both days of hiking were enjoyed by all and we look forward to many other enjoyable hikes together.