Wheeler peak summit trip, July 4th weekend

Wheeler peak is the highest mountain in NM at 13,159 ft, and when we got tantalizingly close last summer on a hike we decided that we needed to return and get to the top. So we did. Here’s the crew before embarking on the trail (>6 miles and approximately 3000 ft elevation gain) up to Horseshoe Lake.  That’s my good natured cousin who moved to town a few months ago.
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We made it to a camp site just below the lake!
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Looking up the mountain towards the lake from our campsite. My cousin and I and the dogs navigate one of the snow fields.
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The lake! It does exist after all.
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It’s not easy living up here right at tree line. I wonder how old this bristlecone pine is?
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The next morning we got up, had a leisurely breakfast, packed our lunch in the dog packs, and headed up to the peak.
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There were a whole herd of these mountain sheep, up close and personal. We kept the dogs on leashes to keep them from harassing the sheep, but I’m pretty sure this guy could have taken the dogs.
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I love alpine views.
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We made it to the top, very slowly. The oxygen level at 13,000 feet really slows you down. We ate lunch up top, since the clouds weren’t yet threatening.  photo IMG_7808_zpsfaeduccn.jpg

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You can’t actually see the lake from the summit, once we got a bit of the way down we could see it. We spent some time fishing after we got back down, but none of us had any luck.
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The next day we packed up and hiked back out, which was for some reason more exhausting than hiking up. It was the first time I’ve ever seen Heidi tired out. Ken actually took her pack off and carried it for her the last half mile or so.
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This particular hike has to be one of the prettier ones we’ve done in NM, I’d recommend it. Most people hike Wheeler from the Taos side, as evidenced by the huge stream of people we saw at the summit, but the back side, accessed from the road out of Red River is really nice (and evidently much less crowded).
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