Triple Peaks

I offered to pick up a weekend shift at work last Sunday in exchange for having a weekday off – and not just any weekday, but the same day that my good friend, Becky, had off.  You may ask, what did we do with our glorious and rare day off?  We hiked, of course!

After a pre-dawn drive up to the mountain in my Chevy Silverado, thermoses of hot coffee in hand, we arrived at the ski basin parking lot to begin our Triple Peaks hike.  The morning was chilly (or “brisk” as we would say in the north country) and reminded me of early mornings in northern Minnesota.

Kua admires the view as the sun rises over the mountains.
The trail begins with some uphill switchbacks toward the Pecos Wilderness boundary then continues uphill along Raven’s Ridge toward the first peak.  There were some breathtaking lookout sites along Raven’s Ridge that offered stunning views of the surrounding mountains.  I have never seen so many shades of green looking across to the layers and layers of lush forests covering the mountains.  The sun was just coming up over the mountains to the east as we made our way up Raven’s Ridge.

Breathtaking views of the mountains along Ravens Ridge
The forest was so peaceful at this hour of the day.  It felt refreshing to escape the noises of people and cars and technology, and to actively focus on hearing all the amazing sounds of nature in the morning.
Pine cone buds (I think).  We saw a bunch of these at the tops of the trees.
Looking down at Nambe Lake.
After a few hours of uphill climbing through forests and boulder fields, with several breaks to admire the view, we reached our first destination: Deception Peak (12, 320 feet).  It is named perhaps because it is a false summit for nearby Lake Peak, but this peak was also deceiving because we climbed over a few summit-like areas before reaching the actual peak.  Deception Peak offered spectacular views of Santa Fe Baldy, Nambe Lake below, Tesuque Peak and the skin basin, the Jemez mountains to the west, and Glorieta Baldy in the distance.

View from Deception Peak.  That's Lake Peak and Santa Fe Baldy.
Another view of Nambe Lake from Deception Peak.
Standing at the summit of the mountain and looking down at the rest of the world below, I felt as if we had traveled through a trap door into another dimension.  You know the feeling of looking out the window on an airplane, just after you ascend through the clouds?  It was similar to that feeling, except with no other people around you, and instead of clouds you look down and see beautiful, green, mountainous landscapes. 

View from Lake Peak.
After a few minutes of celebration and snacks, it was a rough and rocky jaunt to Lake Peak (12, 409 feet), where the views of the mountains in every direction may have even been more amazing.

Kua enjoying some of the last of the snow on the way to the third peak.
The third and final peak was Penitente Peak (12, 249 feet).  This is where we stopped for lunch.  It was a great feeling to be in our own little world at the top of the mountain, uninterrupted by other people or commitments. 

Looking at Santa Fe Baldy from Penitente Peak.
Feels like the top of the world!
There were some beautiful wildflowers growing at the summit.  I wondered how they could thrive in such a barren environment.  It also got my thinking, how underappreciated these flowers must feel, when so few people pass by them or have the opportunity to notice their beauty.  Perhaps the flowers just grow for their own purposes and maybe they don’t mind not being noticed.

After eating and resting our legs, we began our descent down the mountain through the forest, across the Puerto Nambe field, over Nambe Creek, and back along the Windsor Trail.  I was surprised to see so many fallen trees along the trail, which made it difficult to determine which way to go.  I wondered if this was due to avalanches or wind storms.

Fallen trees in the woods on the way back.

Butterflies everywhere!

Passing through Puerto Nambe.

Kua enjoying a drink of water in Nambe Creek.

Stopping to smell the flowers.

Kua found a surprising number of bones.  Hopefully they were not human...
The puppy needed a few rest breaks on the way back, but after a few more hours we were back at the truck, ready to once again enter civilization.  Overall this was a beautiful and rewarding hike and I look forward to doing it again!


  1. Great hike! I think you should start working more weekends & take more Wednesdays off! ;)

  2. I love this post--especially when you speak for the flowers :).


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