Since we had been easy on ourselves for the other hikes we took this week, I thought it was time to do something a bit more challenging. Lee wasn’t too happy when I suggested Manzano Peak, but, being the good sport that he is, he went along with the plan.
It’s a good workout to get to the 10,000 foot peak, the highest point in the Manzano Mountains. The trail starts at 8,000 feet elevation and intersects the Crest Trail after 3 miles or so of uphill. From there it is about a mile of up and down along the Crest to get to the peak. It’s not the most scenic place to hike because much of the trail goes through a large area of forest that was burned during the disastrous Trigo Fire of April 2008.
We have done this hike twice before, November 2017 and November 2018. When I considered how different our lives are now than they were in November 2018, it was comforting to look around on the trail and over the vast forest and desert expanses to see that the beauty of the landscape does not change. Since it was spring this time, there definitely were some differences in the fresh green of the trees and in the plant life sprouting up along the trail.
We have had such a dry spring that there weren’t very many wildflowers, but there’s always something to surprise us. For example, we didn’t have too much further to go getting back to the bottom of the canyon, when we spotted a single columbine blossom hiding in the undergrowth. We see lots of those hiking in the Sandias, but I don’t think we’ve ever seen one in the Manzanos. Another surprise at the peak itself was to find numerous cactii in blossom of a variety that has become a favorite of mine. I think they are Simpson’s Hedgehog, but haven’t researched them in detail.
Obstacles are many on a hike, and often you feel tired and want to give up. But you keep going and before you know it you are there and the view is marvelous. Kind of like life, in general.