Thursday, June 16, 2011

10 K Trail, Sandia Mountains- Cibola National Forest

This was my first venture into the Sandias. I chose the hike from the Hiking New Mexico book by Laurence Parent. I wish I'd have looked a little more closely at it, because at the trailhead, I was confronted with 10k North and 10k South. I just figured they made a loop that would cross the highway at some point. A case could be made for this, I suppose, using the Crest Trail, but it would involve a much longer hike than the 6.5 miler that the book is showcasing. Anyway, I chose the 10k South,which is not the hike in the book. It crosses the ski runs at one point ,but mostly stays in the forest. When I got to a couple major intersections I had to pull out the Cibola National Forest map for the Sandias,which luckily has a detailed map of the crest area. I took an unintentional detour on a use trail which lead to nice scenic overlook,but then got on the Crest Trail, which seemed to be my only way back without just turning around. Well, we made it to the top, almost, the Crest Trail,kind of just dumps you out unceremoniously, at the chairlift, tramway area without any real clear directions. So we just followed the the dirt road that leads back out to the highway. I kept hoping that there would be signed cut-off trail back to the 10k.I even started down what I though was one. But I thought better of it,seeing as how it was unsigned,and not on the map. Instead we just hiked about a mile along the highway back to the car. Next time I'll prepare better and avoid the crest,which can be little jarring if you're looking for a natural experience. Still, I saw deer, and a turkey and hundreds of butterflies,and at the high elevation, the forest was relatively green and lush,which gave me a nice feeling, even as the smell of smoke, reminded me of what was happening in a once lush forest not so far away.

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