This was my first venture into the Sandias. I chose the hike from the Hiking New Mexico book
by Laurence Parent. I wish I'd have looked a little more closely at it,
because at the trailhead, I was confronted with 10k North and 10k
South. I just figured they made a loop that would cross the highway at
some point. A case could be made for this, I suppose, using the Crest
Trail, but it would involve a much longer hike than the 6.5 miler that
the book is showcasing.
Anyway, I chose the 10k South,which is not the
hike in the book. It crosses the ski runs at one point ,but mostly stays
in the forest. When I got to a couple major intersections I had to pull
out the Cibola National Forest map for the Sandias,which luckily has a
detailed map of the crest area. I took an unintentional detour on a use
trail which lead to nice scenic overlook,but then got on the Crest
Trail, which seemed to be my only way back without just turning around.
Well, we made it to the top, almost, the Crest Trail,kind of just dumps
you out unceremoniously, at the chairlift, tramway area without any real
clear directions. So we just followed the the dirt road that leads back
out to the highway. I kept hoping that there would be signed cut-off
trail back to the 10k.
I even started down what I though was one. But I
thought better of it,seeing as how it was unsigned,and not on the map.
Instead we just hiked about a mile along the highway back to the car.
Next time I'll prepare better and avoid the crest,which can be little
jarring if you're looking for a natural experience. Still, I saw deer,
and a turkey and hundreds of butterflies,and at the high elevation, the
forest was relatively green and lush,which gave me a nice feeling, even
as the smell of smoke, reminded me of what was happening in a once lush
forest not so far away.
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Painting By Featured Artist MJAckley "Sunset Behind Fall Tree II"