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To Summit Lobo Peak

August 18, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

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As of my last post, Terry and I had hiked the Italianos Canyon Trail off of Ski Valley Road near Taos, NM. However, due to an early afternoon thunderstorm, common in New Mexico during monsoon season which comprises much of the month of July bringing some much needed rainfall, we were unable to continue on to summit Lobo Peak as planned. When we reached the top of the canyon, the thunder roared and fat drops of rain soon began to fall. We turned and headed back down.

Taos Ski Valley, NMDisappointed, but not surprised, we vowed to head back another day to capture the summit that had eluded us. The very next Saturday, we did just that. But we did get an earlier start to avoid a repeat experience.

We began our hike by 9:30 am, still none too early by mountain hiking standards which advise to be off any peak by noon to avoid lightening strikes. But early enough, we hoped, to succeed. We reached the top of the canyon in two hours, at 11:30 am, then turned left onto the Lobo Peak trail to travel the remaining two miles along the ridge of the canyon.

Lobo Peak, NMThough it had its ups and downs, the trail along the ridge was a delightful experience. Much gentler than the canyon trail, it also afforded amazing views on both sides, and cellular service! Aware that we rarely have service on Ski Valley Road before we reach the town of Taos Ski Valley, I was surprised to receive a text message from our son, asking us to call him, while we were enjoying some spectacular views.

The Lobo

The Lobo

After our conversation, we continued on, hiking down, then up again to transfer over to Lobo Peak, so-named because a large outcropping of rock on its face resembles a wolf’s (lobo means wolf in Spanish) head. Shortly after we had passed under the lobo, we encountered a trail split; one fork led to the Lobo Peak Summit and the other led to two other canyons that can be used to reach the summit. Needless to say, we headed to the summit, reaching it after hiking 2 hours 55 minutes in total, on the gentle and very enjoyable trail. This is a hike to be repeated.

As we stood at the peak, enjoying the 360-degree views, clouds again began rolling in so we made haste and hurried back down. But we did take the time to enjoy the views once again and to carefully negotiate the sixteen crossings of Italianos Creek. Molly, our English Cocker who accompanied us, took full advantage to each one, splashing and drinking to her heart’s delight. Our mission next weekend: approaching the summit via one of the other canyon trails.

Terry at the 12,115 foot summit

Terry at the 12,115 foot summit

As always, if you are visiting the area, you will want to know that Taos Ski Valley provides live outdoor entertainment every Saturday from 2-5 pm, which we always take full advantage of, and there are a plethora of spots to camp. In fact, as we were hiking down the canyon on our return trip, a couple had just pitched a tent in one of the beautiful meadows and it looked like a divine place to spend the night. If you have a few more amenities in mind, there are a number of Forest Service campsites along Ski Valley road and numerous RV parks in nearby towns. Happy Camping!

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