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Well, it has been a while since I posted anything and to tell you the truth not much exciting has happened. The motorcycle riding has been non existent and other than that I have just been trying to make a living. I got the urge to get back out in the wilderness though and to be honest, riding the motorcycle so much wasn’t doing much for my physical conditioning except for when I would ride off the side of a mountain road or burn my clutch out 20 miles from the nearest paved road.

Backpacking has always been in the back of my mind but I have grossly neglected the activity so I set out to change that. I have not purchased any gear for this activity since the late 80’s. except for a nice Mountain Hardwear tent I purchased in Fl for kayaking and my mountain bike trips (yes, there are actually mountain bike trails in Fl). So I had to scrounge through the boxes in the attic to see what I still had. When I live in South Carolina my old friend Bill gave me his old Vector pack from the Marine Corps. Now, we were all issued one of these at one point but they had to be turned back in. It is actually not a bad internal frame system aside from the fact it weighs as much as damn tank.

But now I have a pack! I can get on with this trip now. I mentioned it had been a while since I had done this and it was readily apparent in how much I over packed. I forgot “every ounce counts.” It was fine until I hit the first set of steep switchbacks. Anyway, so I packed it up and set out for a short overnight refresher hike.

The plan was to take the Holy Ghost trail near Tererro NM and intersect with the Winsor trail and then end the day at Lake Katherine. Well, after I got to the Winsor junction I had to resort to one of the back up lakes, Stewart Lake. I think it was my feet that made that decision. I did not have on proper hiking boots. I had on a pair of what I would classify as an urban Hiker made by Timberland. They are all leather and very water resistant but they did a number on my heels.

So, I made Stewart lake with relative ease and set up camp. I definitely under estimated the mileage using my topo and compass. I put Stewart Lake at 5 miles and it ended up being 6.5.

A lot of stuff came back to me and my next hike this weekend will be planned and packed a lot better. I am going to use the same footwear but I went to the local REI and made sure to get proper wool hiking socks and sock liners instead of using my everyday white socks. What was I thinking?

So here is a low grade video of some of the trail and the lake:

awoke, it was cold, it was raining. I packed up the bike took me a quick PTA and topped it off nicely with some Old Spice High Endurance.

It took all of a mile for me to realize the gear I had was not adequate for this June winter storm that rolled in on me. The 10 mile ride to Angel Fire was brutal. I could go maybe two minutes a hop then I would have to stop and thaw the digits.

All I wanted was a nice big breakfast to make up for the pitiful beef jerky dinner I had the night before. I stopped at the first place I saw open and promptly setup camp. They didn’t know but I knew that I was about to make that place home for a couple hours.

Breakfast was good and got the scoop on sporting good shops in town and headed to Mountain Sports to get some winter supplies. A hundred bucks later I was much better equipped.

Off to FR76!

It looked unassuming. Low clouds, weak drizzle. I knew I would be having some quality time in the mud which I don’t hate.

As I gained some altitude I noticed something white in the grass, ya, snow. The snow got thicker and was still falling on me ever so slightly.

About 12 miles in got the 25 mile pass was when I started thinking about a flat or another clogged jet episode. I wouldn’t die but it would have sucked. My feet were soaked and beyond pain into the numb and even with my new waterproof/windproof (ya right) gloves I was still having to stop every 5 miles is so to regain feeling. I remember at one point I was literally running in place on my pegs while motoring down the road.

I didn’t have a track for this road and signage stopped a while back. However, I did have that free NM topo map uploaded into the Garmin 60 csx and it let me know I was doing ok.

So finally I round a curve which I suspect is the area I got stopped at coming from the other side about 3 weeks ago. It is the spot so I know it is all downhill from here. The only obstacle in my way was a couple of Elk. They stopped for a photo op then hightailed.

(Now look at the pic in my first post)

So that’s basically it, sipapu for a BLT and then slabbbed it home on the high road to Taos. Not the greatest adventure but it taught me a few things:

  1. People really still use guard dogs
  2. GE has some splainin to do
  3. Never under estimate the Rockies in June
  4. Truchas takes their Graffiti very seriously
  5. Waterproof gloves, waterproof gloves….

So it was planned and it happened, not without hitches though.

The first leg over the mountains on FR 83 then down an old jeep trail into San Pablo almost ended in me being eaten alive by a pack of guard dogs. Luckily the lady who owned the land in which I ended up on came out of the house and was happy to let me through her gate.

She was nice, and honest as she told me to watch myself as her dogs circled an took individual sorties at my ankles.

Anyway, I got through and hit mostly dead ends on my planned route. Oh well, still saw some nice scenery and plenty of wildlife.

So after a late start and much exploring I ended up at Coyote State Park at around 8PM and got the tent setup just in time for the rain.

Note to self: never, ever, forget the thermarest again…

After a quick dinner of beef jerky and Jack Daniels I slept, kind of, I mostly slept in between intervals of rolling over all the rocks under the tent.

I had to be a semi-contortionist to get all parts of my body on smooth ground…