Archive for the 'hiking' Category

Happy Thanksgiving!

Some things I’m thankful for:

The ability to work from home if I need to, but maybe not how helpful this cat is when I do it.
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The hiking opportunities near our home, and the company of these goobers on said hikes.
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Gardening. Specifically copious quantities of tomatillos this year. Yes, that is a 5 gallon bucket.
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My good friend from work who invited me to go get afternoon tea with her on one of our Fridays off.
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My husband who can fix the dishwasher with a couple of parts so we don’t have to buy a new one.
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Camping, and family who likes to go camping with us.
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Mountain biking!
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And much, much more that I don’t have pictures of. May you enjoy my favorite holiday!

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Memorial Day Manzanos camping

You may have guessed by the way I’ve not been posting anything that I have a backlog of things to write about, and the thought of getting caught up is just too daunting. The time has come. This was our camping trip over Memorial Day. That’s how far behind I am.

When we arrived, there was some fairly sizable hail on the ground. We felt thankful that it had hailed BEFORE we got there.
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This is why they call it robin’s egg blue. So pretty! Ken accidentally scared the mom robin off of her nest and felt really bad. She came back through.
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There were so many beautiful birds around our campsite!
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We went on a hike to the top of the ridge. Dogs love hiking.
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The dogs were VERY excited about the cows we met along the way.
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This forest had burned a couple of years back.
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We didn’t quite get to the top of the ridge, because there was a very ominous and close crack of thunder and we had to turn around and scurry down the mountain to shelter. It’s a good thing we did. No sooner did we get back to the camp, than it started to hail. A lot. We sheltered in the car.
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I told you it was a lot of hail.
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Oh dear.
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Happily the sun came out when the storm was over and we dried everything out.
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Including Klaus.
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So we might be bad people. We let our dogs tear up this meadow in search of some rodent. They never caught it, but man was it funny to watch them try.
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Heidi got a little bit chilly that evening. She needed a blanket and to be snuggled up to the fire. What a pansy dog.
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The next day we drove up to hike along the ridge. It was a beautiful hike with some beautiful views, but the windfalls from the fire were numerous and made for a lot of scrambling up and over. I think I counted over 100 that we went over.
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From the ridge we could see the clouds rolling in, and by time they were looking like rain it was pretty late in the afternoon, so we weren’t going to have a chance to dry everything out before night. So we chickened out and went home. Which is a nice thing you can do when you’re camping less than an hour from home… And you know what? That was a good decision. It rained ALL night, and my bed was dry and I wasn’t sleeping half an inch or less from two big, wet dogs.

Final bits of the Gila trip

Ken is super allergic to poison ivy, and we noticed on the second day of backpacking that there was baby poison ivy coming up next to all the rocks in our camp, and we’d been sitting and stepping in it. I hadn’t thought to bring the poison ivy scrub (when will I learn? Or maybe when will Ken learn, he’s the one who’s so allergic…), so we had to go in search of some when we were done hiking. That hadn’t been part of the plan, so good thing we’re flexible. We headed back to Silver City and found some Arby’s, poison ivy scrub, gas, and these.

Nothing like lobster tail, steak, peas, and french bread after eating dehydrated food for a couple of days. We were very full.
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We camped at a group camp that night. It was a sorta weird place, just a bunch of fire pits in a very flat Ponderosa forest. But it was free, and there were only two other groups camping there, so it worked for us. The next morning we drove out the impressive road to the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument.

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The cliff dwelling hike is very cool, totally worth the $3 entry fee.

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I think we should explore this part of the Gila some more in the future. There’s a bunch of rivers which come together in this area, and you can hike up various ones. We did a bit of a hike up one to see a hot springs. These are the sorts of hikes where you cross the river a whole bunch of times. And it’s not a shallow little stream, this was high enough to come over the tops of my boots.

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We left that area in the mid afternoon and drove back to the south-east, spending the next two nights at the Black Range Lodge, a bed and breakfast in a very cool old building. The owners were very friendly, and the building and grounds are full of character. We had a nice stay, doing some hiking and finally seeing some lupine close enough to take a picture. We had driven by some, but not hiked by any previously. I think they might be one of my favorite flowers.

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We headed home on Saturday so we could go to church and get ourselves sorted out before we went back to work. It was a very enjoyable and relaxing trip. If only we could take more 9 day trips to the middle of nowhere!

Gila Wilderness Backpacking part 2

We day hiked up the valley further the second day. We found that the stream-restarted about a half mile up, so we totally could have continued backpacking. Oh well.
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They aren’t kidding around when they build cairns on this trail. Good thing too, the trail was washed out a few places, but the cairns remained.
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For all the geologists out there, we thought this was a pretty cool rock formation.
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On the way back to camp, we saw: A BEAR! We came over a little ridge, and it was down in the valley. It took one look at us and took off running. That’s how I like my bears. Running away from me. It paused at this tree to look at us for long enough for us to grab the camera before it took off up the ridge. There’s nothing there for scale, but that is a pretty huge Ponderosa it’s standing in front of – I could probably have put my arms around half the diameter.
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Day 3 we bushwacked to the top of the ridge above our camp for a view of the surrounding area. It was sorta hot and everything had been recently burnt on the top, so I don’t have any beautiful pictures. Mostly we wanted to get back down and stick our feet in the stream.

Day 4 we hiked out and found a beaver dam on the way out. Somehow we’d missed it on the way in – the trail washed away at some point in the past few years because there was a big fire upstream, so it was a bit hit and miss.
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It wasn’t the backpacking trip we were planning – it was way less epic. But we still had a good time, and we didn’t have to pack up camp every day, which I greatly appreciated. Plus we saw a BEAR. Awesome!

Gila backpacking trip

When I left off, our brilliant backpacking plan had been ruined by lack of water. Happily, the previous valley we had gone through DID have a stream that was running, and there was a trail up it. It was even on the bottom of the maps we’d printed out for our planned route, so we had some idea of what to expect.

Traditional embarkation photo. Note the stream in the background!
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The Aldo Leopold Wilderness! Aldo Leopold was the guy who advocated making the Gila Wilderness, which was the first wilderness ever designated in the US. Incidentally, I think the name Aldo should be brought back. Also Leopold.
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I don’t know how well you can see this. This is a bear print. They were plentiful, as were fresh-looking bear droppings. We were glad we bought and brought bear cans.
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A SNAAAAAKE! I think it might have been dead. It was not very energetic.
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We hiked a ways up – maybe 3 miles, then the stream disappeared. So we camped. The place where we camped was pretty cool though, there was this cave thing where we set up the kitchen.
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We know how to eat while backpacking. Just not how to pack light.
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Mr. Ken goes to Washington

Well, we both actually went to Washington. But I think the title is a movie reference. A movie I have never seen, so maybe I should be careful. Maybe it’s a horrible movie. How would I know?

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Regardless.

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We went to Washington to visit our families because we hadn’t been to our hometown together in a fairly long while. Christmas 2011, maybe. Ken had never met my sister’s beautiful, neurotic dog.

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I was a terrible photographer and got basically 0 pictures of our immediate families. We saw everyone except two of my sisters, who had the nerve to be hanging out together elsewhere. Here’s Ken hiking though. I take pictures of him out of habit.

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We saw some of my friends from college, who all seem to be having babies for some reason.

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We did some hiking.

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This is rumored to be the tallest treeless mountain in the US. We didn’t climb to the top. But alas, we had a dinner date with my inlaws to get home for.

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You can almost see the yearning to be at the top in his eyes.
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Still had a nice view though!
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We did have an adventure the day after this hike. But that will have to wait for it’s own post. Be prepared for epic.

High altitude Haleakala

Sunday after church we headed up the mountain. The mountain being Haleakala. From sea level up to 10,023 ft along one very twisty road. Incredible. The top was pretty enshrouded in cloud. We took a hike down into the crater anyhow.
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We didn’t have much visibility.
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But at least the company was good looking!
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At one point on our way back up out of the crater the clouds cleared for about 3 minutes so we could at least see where we’d been.
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This plant is called silver-sword. Because it’s silver. And has sword-like leaves. Clever.
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We hung around the summit until sunset, hoping the clouds would clear enough to give us a good view. And they did! But it was FREEZING. And we didn’t really bring many clothes along. All I had was my un-lined raincoat. Happily Mom loaned me a vest. I still didn’t warm up for hours.
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