Saturday, May 21, 2011

Snow Adventure

“great hike for the whole family”
 “4 miles round-trip”

these were the enticing words that compelled us to tackle the williams lake hike starting above taos ski valley and heading up to the lake.  perhaps if we had thought a little harder about the fact that starting (in may) at an elevation of 10,300 feet and climbing would mean snow and lots of it, we might have paused before taking this on….

as it was, even though we were hiking almost entirely in snow and sharing the trail with both cross-country skiers and snow-shoe-ers, the first part of the hike was pleasant and relatively easy.  we stopped to enjoy our lunch with an amazing view of wheeler peak, the highest point in new mexico (over 13,000 ft.) pretty much in our faces.

 beyond that point, things started to get a little hairy.  sometimes the trail was hard to follow in the snow.  some areas were steep and slippery and i started worrying about the trip back down, especially with muffin pulling on the leash, as she has a tendency to do.  my feet started getting wetter (so much for water-proof boots!) to the point of becoming completely soaked and soggy.  clouds were becoming more frequent and with each one the temperature seemed to drop (uh, yea, we were wearing shorts).  more and more steps were resulting in our feet puncturing the veil of snow and plunging downward, sometimes with no end point.  stu’s knees began hurting and we were concerned about muffy getting cold and/or tired.

so the solution should be easy, right??  just TURN AROUND.  maybe on some hikes we would have done so, but this was a “destination hike”.  there was a lake at the end of the trail!  once this much effort has been put in, we seem to find it practically impossible to turn around without reaching our goal.

so we did reach it.  and while i had been picturing a beautiful blue alpine lake,  it should not have come as a surprise to find the lake completely obscured by snow.  (duh!)  a stunning sight, nonetheless!!  knowing what we would be facing on the way back down took some of the joy and satisfaction out of getting there and prompted us, after grabbing a quick photo or 2, to turn around and face the cold, wet trip back.

these blue markers were our saving grace!!

 we were ever so happy to encounter this sign.   i like adventure and we have had our share in the hiking we have done for the last 30 years or so.  there is an element of danger in it, which, as long as it’s not taken too far (a fine line sometimes!) can add a little something to the flavor of those evening cocktails!  don't you agree??

would i do it all again??  absolutely.... in a heartbeat!!


  1. Oh that beer looks good....!
    We had hikes like this, and I know what you mean by "destination hike" - there is no way you turn around before reaching that lake (or whatever the destination is). Good that these blue circle signs were out there... In many places the trails are just marked by cairns and sometimes they're really hard to find.
    Gorgeous pictures! And of course you would do it again - I hadn't expected anything else.

  2. It looks gorgeous! Well worth the trip. (Though I will confess that I might have turned around once it got hairy. At least if I had shorts on. Snow is so very cold. ;)

    I am so impressed with Muffy. She is quite the hiker!

  3. Wow, I'm very impressed but I'm glad that you made it so we could enjoy your grate photos!

  4. Another adventure to remember. Frankly, I get a little freaked out when the snow is wet and deep like that and my feet disappear down down down! Glad you rose to the challenge though .. as you say, good conversation over those cocktails. Love that Muffy hikes with you! Such a sweetheart. Also happy you are 'off the mountain' safe and sound. Isn't it spectacular country? xxDonna

  5. I know all about barely marked trails! Glad you had such a good trip & that the view was worth it.

    It was such a pleasure seeing you last week! And meeting your husband & Muffy. I'm impressed she made the four mile hike!

    Thanks for reading my blog, too. I added the subscribe button to it. Let me know it that works. I know how to put it into Google Reader but not so sure about the subscribing to it through your blog.

  6. Patty-I am so glad you guys had such a great trip. seeing all that snow makes me homesick!!! So glad you guys forged through...maybe you will have to go back in the summer to see the lake??? The weather is perking up over here...a bit chilly for this time of year? Have to catch up soon. xxx

  7. P.S. if you have an Inner Gardening button I can put it on my blog. Had been meaning to ask you earlier. I may just be able to attend Patty-I's only 2 weeks away so ...I have to let you know pretty soon!Seems like our vacation is on hold...Tim can't get away:(

  8. Sounds like quite an adventure..and - I too - would not have thought there would be so much snow. FUN!

  9. what an adventure...yikes!! nice reward at the end of it!!!!


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