The Jemez Mountains
We were looking for a new area to hike outside of Santa Fe this past weekend, so our friends brought us to the Jemez mountains. Our morning started off with breakfast burritos from Santa Fe Baking Company followed by a lovely, scenic drive to Los Alamos. Kua and her new friend, Osa, could hardly contain their excitement as we ventured toward the mountains.
I had never been to Los Alamos and I enjoyed riding past the laboratories on our way to the trails. It turned out that our first planned hike was part of Bandelier National Monument, and therefore No Dogs Allowed. Well, the dogs were even more excited to hike than we were, so we had to make a Plan B. We decided to hike Las Campanas.
This was a relaxing hike that followed the Jemez River. The trail was surrounded by massive, green pine trees and outdoor rock climbing routes. Kua didn’t know what to think of the water, but Osa was having the time of her life! When the trail ended, we hiked up a steep terrain to a cliff that offered views of rapids and a waterfall below.
The green atmosphere and cool temperatures at Las Campanas made me feel like we weren’t in New Mexico anymore. It was a beautiful hike and I hope to make it back here to rock climb sometime this year.
After the first hike, our friends took us to Deer Trap Mesa. As the name implies, this is a location in which Native Americans trapped dear. The footprints of people who walked along this porous, malleable rock are still visible, as are the caves in which deer were trapped.
We were enjoying the hike as we negotiated the narrow, ancient stairways and looked for alternative routes for the dogs. That is, until we came upon… a rattlesnake! I heard the rattle before I registered what it was, but as soon as I looked down and saw it curled up next to the trail, I freaked out. My first instinct was Flight, followed by Save the Dogs! Everyone got out of the way safely, but my heart was racing for a long time. (Well, until we aborted the hike and got margaritas in Tesuque shortly after.)
Overall it was a gorgeous day and I have come to appreciate the many different types of beauty in this area of New Mexico.