Filed under: Family Camping, Nature & Wildlife, Outdoor Recreation & Hiking
A Hike Not to Be Repeated–Part 2
In my last post, I began with a description of a less-than-pleasant (read seemingly endless!) hike up Long Canyon Trail in the Taos Ski Valley, NM. When we finally reached the beautiful meadow in which we would join the Gold Hill Trail, after two and a half hours of hiking, we had already decided that we would not be turning left, extending our hike, and heading up to the summit of Gold Hill, which would add an additional hour and a half to our hike. Rather, we would rather head right, taking Gold Hill Trail back down to connect with Bull of the Woods Trail.
Interestingly, these trails are commonly used for horse travel and we recalled that on a trip to New Mexico during a prior year, we had ridden horses on Gold Hill Trail up into the beautiful mountain meadows. The trail, and accordingly my mood, improved considerably once we reached the Gold Hill Trail. We also met up with horseback riders who were picnicking in the beautiful mountain meadow and helped to point us in the right direction, as there were no signs and several trails at one particular confluence.
While the trail opened up at the meadow, we noted as we hiked down that the Gold Hill Trail was much more open and visually appealing than the Long Canyon Trail. Additionally, the pitch was less steep, making for more pleasant hiking, either up or down. As we descended, we discussed and planned to use the Gold Hill Trail as an up and back route to reach the Gold Hill. Summit, rather than hiking up Long Canyon and down Gold Hill. The summit is three miles from where the Gold Hill Trail meets up with Bull of the Woods Trail, which is about 1.5 to two miles from the trailhead. Not a bad hike and much more pleasant that revisiting the Long Canyon. This is in our future plans.
But to be honest, in spite of our best intentions and our traumatic past experience, we nearly took a wrong turn once we reached Bull of the Woods Trail, most likely the same place we went wrong the last time. This is due to confusing signage. At a fork in the Bull Trail, one road/trail heads off to the left and the other, forward. The forward trail is labeled “Twining.” We saw this and assumed we were to take the other fork. This is logical unless you know ahead of time that Twining was the name of the Taos Ski Valley in its early mining days. Why they have not changed the sign (which is a relatively new, modern looking sign) to Taos Ski Valley, or even Parking Lot, is beyond me. Luckily a very nice young couple with a map (another great idea! When hiking in an unfamiliar area, bring a map!) wandered by at just the right moment and assured us Twining was the way to go. Crisis averted. If you undertake any hike involving the Bull of the Woods Trail, however, know that Twining is the destination you’re looking for. And know that even if you decide to hike Long Canyon Trail in spite of my warnings, once you reach Gold Hill Trail, your hike will improve considerably!
Read more about New Mexico campgrounds and things to do in New Mexico.