148 Photos - Aug 20, 2009
Photo: On the train to Las Vegas, NMPhoto: Plaza on the New Mexico Highlands University campus. Look at that nice, green... artificial turf. Water conservation is big in New Mexico, and there are hardly any lawns. This whole square was carpeted in artificial turf.Photo: Hiking the road on the way to Hermit's Peak.Photo: Sunrise from Hermit's Peak.Photo: View from Hermits Peak at dawn. Looking southeast over the rolling forested foothills to the grassy Great Plains in the distance.Photo: Me on the summit of Hermit's Peak.Photo: Photo: First of many roughed grouse I would see during my trip.Photo: Big ant hill - these were common on the east side of the Pecos Wilderness.Photo: Douglas fir forestPhoto: Photo: This species of butterfly was all over the place.Photo: Trail through the meadow at Lone Pine Mesa.Photo: Photo: The lone pine..., surrounded by its progenyPhoto: Cows on Lone Pine Mesa - grazing was grandfathered in when the wilderness was created, for families that already had cows there.Photo: Two ages of aspens in this grove. Aspens are clonal, so these are probably all the same genetic individualPhoto: In an aspen grovePhoto: Looking toward the backside of Hermit's PeakPhoto: Looking toward the Truchas Peaks. The gray forest in the middle distance has burned, and the trees are all dead.Photo: In a burned forestPhoto: Photo: Burned forest again - the low grass in the foreground is the trail. I discovered that trails disappear quickly after a fire.Photo: BluebellsPhoto: Photo: Tall fire-killed treesPhoto: Photo: Photo: Balloons in the wilderness!? I was way off trail at this point (having lost it in a large burned area), and deep in the wilderness. These balloons, some still filled with helium, must have floated in from a long way off. I popped them and carried them back out.Photo: Traversing a talus slope and looking for the trail.Photo: Antler. Elk, I think.Photo: FireweedPhoto: Mora FlatsPhoto: Photo: Photo: Horse in a meadow. The owners were camped nearby.Photo: Trail through a flower-strewn meadowPhoto: Photo: Hamilton MesaPhoto: View east from Hamilton Mesa. You can see large burned areas on the distant ridgePhoto: Trailrider's Wall from Hamilton MesaPhoto: Me on Hamilton Mesa with the Truchas Peaks in the backgroundPhoto: Indian paintbrushPhoto: View of the Truchas PeaksPhoto: Tall treesPhoto: Beattys CreekPhoto: Trail signs in a meadow - this one looks to be a favorite perchPhoto: These dead trees were not killed by fire - they still have bark and are covered in lichensPhoto: Flowers and butterfliesPhoto: Photo: Dense stream side vegetationPhoto: View of North Truchas PeakPhoto: Aspen grove with conifers (mostly douglas fir and spruce) growing up in the understoryPhoto: View of South and Middle Truchas PeaksPhoto: Ahh...that feels good!Photo: Photo: Flowers in a wet meadowPhoto: A carpet of low blueberry under the treesPhoto: View of Pecos Baldy from below Chimayosos PeakPhoto: Chimayosos Peak and self-portraitPhoto: Southeast across the Pecos WildernessPhoto: Late evening below Truchas PeaksPhoto: Truchas LakePhoto: Truchas LakePhoto: South and Middle Truchas Peaks at dawnPhoto: Moon in the morning from Truchas LakePhoto: Upper Truchas Lake in the early morningPhoto: Pika in the talusPhoto: Crossing a talus slope on the way up to North Truchas PeakPhoto: South Truchas peak in the early morning. I think the dark spots on top are bighorn sheep.Photo: South Truchas Peak and Truchas Lakes from the slopes of North Truchas. My campsite was between the two lakes.Photo: On the ridge leading to North Truchas PeakPhoto: Campers near a small tarn below North Truchas LakePhoto: View north from North TruchasPhoto: Middle Truchas Peak. There must be a large fault that bisects the peak - notice the rock layers meet at right angles in the middle.Photo: PikaPhoto: Photo: Photo: Photo: View north from near Middle TruchasPhoto: View south from near Middle Truchas. South Truchas is in the middle distance, and Santa Fe Baldy is in the background.Photo: Middle TruchasPhoto: A green finger of forest reaching up into the rocks below Middle TruchasPhoto: Big horn sheep near South Truchas. These are females or juveniles - they have smallish horns.Photo: Photo: View south from South Truchas. Pecos Baldy is in the middle distance, and Santa Fe Baldy is the background.Photo: Big hornPhoto: Young big horn who wanted to share the trailPhoto: Backpackers near Trailrider's WallPhoto: Trail sign on the way to Pecos BaldyPhoto: Bighorn sheep near above Trailrider's Wall. These are the big guys.Photo: They lost interest in me pretty quicklyPhoto: Looking north along Trailrider's Wall. Surprisingly, the trail doesn't actually go along Trailrider's Wall for most of its length, so I was bushwacking at this point.Photo: Cairn marking the trail to Pecos Baldy LakePhoto: Spot where the trail does come close to Trailrider's WallPhoto: On the way to Pecos Baldy LakePhoto: Conical conifers!Photo: Weasel in a treePhoto: Birds on a stumpPhoto: These stumps by Pecos Baldy Lake have been there a long time. They didn't look much different when I was here 14 years ago.Photo: Dam at Peacos Baldy Lake. Odd thing about this dam was that on the other side, there was no above ground drainage. The lake was drain underground. If it filled up the whole basin it would be another 20 feet deeper.Photo: LarkspurPhoto: Bunches of larkspurPhoto: ColumbinePhoto: Indian PaintbrushPhoto: Pecos Baldy LakePhoto: Flowers and butterflyPhoto: Gray JayPhoto: View of Santa Fe Baldy (right) and Lake Peak (left)Photo: Photo: Thistle, about to openPhoto: Photo: Open thistlePhoto: Not sure what happened here. I'm guessing a person put these antlers here, but the animal must have died recently - there was velvet and blood still on the antlers.Photo: Meadow in the late afternoonPhoto: Aspen grovePhoto: Photo: Moon through the treesPhoto: Lichen-covered forestPhoto: Unnamed lake. The white specks over the water are swallowsPhoto: Big newt - there were dozens of these in this lakePhoto: MoonsetPhoto: Squirrel in actionPhoto: Granite outcrop on the way up to Santa Fe BaldyPhoto: Talus slope on the way to Santa Fe BaldyPhoto: Lake Katherine - cold and deepPhoto: Don't touch me!Photo: Looking down on Lake Katherine from Santa Fe Baldy. The Truchas Peaks are in the distance to the leftPhoto: Looking southeast fro Santa Fe BaldyPhoto: Southwest from Santa Fe Baldy. Santa Fe is in the middle distance, and Sandia Crest, above Albuquerque, is the distancePhoto: Looking west over the high desert fro Santa Fe BaldyPhoto: Summit cairn of Santa Fe BaldyPhoto: Rain showers to the southeastPhoto: Hoary MarmotPhoto: What's that?Photo: Trying to get the self-timer right.Photo: That time it workedPhoto: Descending form Santa Fe BaldyPhoto: One last view across the PecosPhoto: AspensPhoto: More aspensPhoto: Leaving the wildernessPhoto: Ponderosa pine grove on the descent to Santa Fe - getting warmer and drierPhoto: Pinyon-juniper scrubland in the foothills above Santa FePhoto: Riparian area along a small streamPhoto: Stonehenge? In the upscale suburbs of Santa FePhoto: Old church (Catedral Basilica de San Fransisco de Assisi) in Santa Fe (although not the oldest (in the U.S.) - that's  a few blocks away). Parts of this building were built in the early 1600s. The statue is of the first Native American (from North America) to be declared a saint.Photo: Looking back towards the Pecos Wilderness from near the train station in Santa Fe.