After two winter storms passed through our fair state, it was a challenge today to come up with ideas for doing our first hike of the New Year. Here in town the ground is clear and dry, and even looking East to the Sandias, most of the snow on the visible slopes has melted. But we know there’s a lot more snow on the other side of the mountain and probably the trails on this side would be snow packed and icy. Most of the interesting desert hikes that we do require driving on miles of dirt roads. Those roads would still be too muddy for our car to handle.
The hike that we decided to do is an old favorite and is the one Sandia trail that we were fairly certain would be free of snow. The Three Gun Springs trail is on the south end of the mountain and gets plenty of sunshine so it, also, would be a warm spot, since the day was starting off quite chilly.
As we started up the trail it became quickly evident that we had underestimated the amount of snow and overestimated the amount of clothing we would need for warmth. Even under normal circumstances the steepness of the slope makes this hike a good workout, but today required extra work to keep from sliding off the packed down footsteps of previous hikers that allowed us to hike over the snow. Without those footsteps we wouldn’t have been able to do the hike at all. We were soon shedding layers of clothing and welcoming any small breeze that kept us cool.
I was ready to turn around after 2 miles. A nice ledge at that point provides an ideal sitting spot to have lunch and enjoy the view. I know, that’s pretty wimpy of me to turn around after 2 miles. But I have a good excuse since I’m still in recovery mode from the recent 10-day “stony” episode that sapped my usual strength. A good story for another time.