Retracing Footsteps

My two most recent hikes were repeats of the first two trails I hiked when I moved to Santa Fe – the Hyde Park Circle Trail and Nambe Lake…

Hyde Park Circle Trail

I was so amazed at how green everything is right now!  Summer appears to be arriving in full force and the forests are lush and majestic.  The smells are sensational.  (And, as a side note, I’m really working on controlling my breathing more effectively so I can consistently inhale through my nose and experience all the smells the forest has to offer.)

The Circle Trail has a few steep uphill sections, but overall is a short and easy hike that offers beautiful views of the Santa Fe Ski Basin to the northeast, the Sandias down south near Albuquerque, and the Jemez mountains to the west. 

We did this hike with my friend, Renee, who was visiting from Chicago.  Renee is currently recovering from numerous foot fractures and five orthopedic surgeries after being hit by a car in South Africa when she was in the Peace Corps.  Barely a year after her accident, she is now walking with an almost normal gait pattern, can run at least as far and probably much faster than me, and is hiking in the Rocky Mountains!  She’s an amazing and inspiring person and I was so happy to be able to share this aspect of Santa Fe with her.

Nambe Lake

This past weekend I hiked Nambe Lake for a second time.  Now that I have a few hiking miles under my belt (as well as improved intuition for being able to identify the correct trail to follow), this hike was much more enjoyable than the first attempt.  It definitely has some steep and strenuous uphills, forcing me to hike in silence while I try to control my breathing, but it is well worth the effort to see such awesome (literally, awe-inspiring) views and tranquil landscapes.

Dogs having a blast running through the grassy field
The first half of the hike is enveloped in a serene forest of Aspen trees.  For me, this part of the hike is the most memorable.  The trees are beautiful right now and even while they provide shade, the forest still seems so bright.  The second half of the hike is along side the Rio Nambe, a stream flowing down from the lake.  This portion of the hike offers brightly colored wildflowers, beautiful views of Santa Fe Baldy, and several opportunities to cross the stream (and for the dogs to play in the water!). 
Aspen trees

Beautiful wildflowers

Dogs playing in the Rio Nambe stream

I was surprised and overjoyed when we reached the lake.  The hike seemed shorter than I remembered.  Nambe Lake is the closest alpine lake to Santa Fe.  The water is too cold for swimming, especially this time of year, but there are some beautiful sunny spots around the lake that are ideal for picnic lunches.  To the east of the lake stand the majestic Lake Peak and Deception Peak (potential targets for my next long hike…).
Nambe Lake
View of Santa Fe Baldy

Exploring these hiking trails for a second time allowed me to realize how I’ve changed since last August when I first moved to Santa Fe, and also how much is still the same since that time.  I was able to recognize certain aspects of the hikes that I remember most clearly and form new memories of the parts of the hike that I had forgotten.  I plan to re-explore a few of my favorite hikes in the next few months, but I also hope to embark on some longer hikes in new territory.


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