Miles with Smiles

Carson National Forest outside Taos, NM
18.4 miles
Elevation Gain 3384
Pack weight 41 lbs

This is a new trail for me that has more mileage available for training.  It has a very steep climb for the first 5 miles or so where most all the elevation gain for the hike happens.  About half the climb is a smooth, gradual incline and the other half is miserable, rocky, steep hell.

Miles of this

Miles of this

 Once you reach the top, the trail is flat, well defined and quite beautiful.  Lots of tall pines mixed with aspens and other deciduous trees.  The views are spectacular.

Most sections of the trail are along the side of the mountain with extremely steep drop offs, to the point that if I lost my footing, I’m not sure how far I would tumble before stopping by a rock or tree.  Quite scary to look down.

Luckily, the trail is very clean and easy to traverse.  This was by far the best trail I’ve found in New Mexico so far.

I ran into a couple of dear hanging out at the edge of a meadow.  They were quite large.

The photos really don’t capture the views very well.  Here’s one anyway…

The weather was very hot at the bottom, hitting in the low 90′s, but at the higher elevation it was cool and comfortable.

I ran into a couple other day hikers with small, light packs and I was sooo envious.  They were motoring along at twice my pace.  Also had 3 mountain bikers come up from behind.  They were all courteous and gave me plenty of warning that they were behind me.

Coming down that steep, rocky slope at the end was misery amplified.  My old, arthritic joints were displeased and let me know it.

I hope to do this trail one more time before leaving for San Diego on the 8th and then on to Washington on the 11th.

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