Filed under: Activities & Attractions, Historic Places & Landmarks, Nature & Wildlife, Outdoor Recreation & Hiking
Hiking the Picuris Peak Trail
…AKA a pleasant memory after a trying time. This past July, Terry and Ryan drove the remainder of our belongings and our camper from Wisconsin to New Mexico to join me in our new home, as I waited up all night, anxious for their safe arrival. Once they settled in, we decided that the best way to celebrate being reunited was to spend some time in nature to help us appreciate the beauty surrounding us.
We headed up NM 518 to Forest Road 114 to hike the trail to Picuris Peak. It was especially memorable because Ryan was with us, knowing he would be headed back to his summer job in Des Moines in a day or two. He seemed to notice this sweetness as well, stopping to photograph wildlife and the profusion of wildflowers we encountered along our way.
Hiking in, the forest road was at first level and quite passable. We remarked that we could have driven in further, as did the trucks passing us heading into the Carson National Forest to collect firewood. But we were there to hike, so hike we did.
We enjoyed the varied topography of the trail, which maintained the character of a forest road more than a trail, even though the traffic became nonexistent and the road less navigable (by motorized vehicles) the further we traveled. This only enhanced our enjoyment of the hike.
Various layers of sediment were evident in the rock formations we passed. At one point, it appeared a number of large boulders tumbled down from some unseen location and piled, one upon another, to form a massive stone wall lining one side of the trail. It took on the appearance of a fence built by a giant, but none-the-less made for some interesting and beautiful scenery. It also provided many opportunities for discussion with our son who studies environmental science and geology at Drake University. It became an educational experience enjoying this particular hike with him, though he is one of my favorite hiking companions over any terrain.
We hiked on, for several hours, not sure how far we were from the “peak” as the trail had no signage. After a period of time, we began to think about turning back, knowing we would have to hike out as far as we had come in, but continued on the curving trail as it was always a mystery what we would find around the next corner.
We were treated to a wide variety of wild flowers in addition to the varied terrain. Given that it was mid summer, our hike probably came at the point of greatest color along this trail and both Ryan and I were stopping regularly to photograph curious birds, perching on brush to observe us wandering on this little traveled trail, other wildlife or the spectacular color of this flower or that. We even spotted a number of recent elk tracks along our journey.
To be continued…Up Next: Picuris Peak 2: The Royal Road!
To find a spot for your next adventure, search for a national park.
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