Summer is Over

A friend recently made the observation that Albuquerque only has two seasons–summer and winter.  In my experience, that often seems to be the case.  Last week we were hiking in shorts in the Pecos Wilderness on a trail that took us to 9200 feet elevation and had us hot and sweaty by the time we got back to the car. 

Hiking in Pecos Wilderness
Stream crossing
Some nice, big trees

Cooler weather had moved in this weekend and with partly cloudy skies and 70 degree temperatures it looked like a perfect day for a fall hike.  

,By the time we were halfway to our destination today, however, it felt more like winter.  The temperature was in the 40’s and the dark clouds overhead were beginning to drop down pellets of ice/snow.  It looked like it could turn to rain at any moment and neither one of us had brought rain gear.  We came close to turning around, but, fortunately the clouds seemed to move around to the other side of the mountain.  Before too long we saw the welcome sight of the Mt. Taylor summit sign and we were glad we had kept going.

The Gooseberry Springs Trailhead on the west side of Mt. Taylor starts at 9200 foot elevation, taking a little over 3 miles to reach the 11,300 summit.  It’s understandable that the weather can be so different at such a higher elevation.  But it still amazes me that with a two-hour drive we are back in Albuquerque again with the temperature at 80 degrees, looking at Mt. Taylor on the western skyline, knowing that it’s 40 degrees cooler up there.

Texas High

It was almost exactly four years ago when we made plans to hike up Guadalupe Peak, the highest point in Texas.  We accomplished our goal and made it to the top of the peak, but because a rainstorm the night before had left a blanket of fog and clouds on the day of our hike, we missed out on most of the views.

Today we had another opportunity to do the hike and this time the weather was clear.  Smoky haze from the California wildfires made for less than ideal views but we certainly saw more of the surrounding Texas rangeland in the distance, as well as the cliffs and canyons alongside the trail.

The parking lot at the trailhead had a limited number of parking spaces when we arrived, forcing us to drive back down to the overflow parking.  That meant adding an extra half mile hike just to get to the trailhead.  By the time we got back to our car we had hiked a total of 9 miles with 3000 feet of elevation.  That was a great big Texas-sized feeling of accomplishment to end our day.