21 July 2010

Up the Mountain

The bestest hiking buddy ever (and a nice view, too), near South Baldy, Magdalena Mtns., July 2010

Summer in the meadow at 10,000 feet
Feeling pissed off and disillusioned and not wanting to stew in it all, I went rambling instead with my dog and my camera and ended up on top of the world... this part of the world, anyway. After lunch I headed into the Magdalena Mountains via Water Canyon and followed the steep, sometimes-perilous road to the South Baldy trailhead. Once there I couldn't hike far because thunderstorms were approaching from both east and west (this is our stormy season, after all), so I hoofed it to the almost-summit near the Magdalena Ridge Observatory to see the storms off to the west, then dropped down into a beautiful meadow where I took lots of flower shots (of course) and Lucy lolled around and snapped at bees.

After contemplating the flowers for a while, I drove to the Timber Peak Trail and took a serious hike on what is now my new favorite trail in the Magdalenas (there are many, so I'll have to test more to be sure). The image below shows the view towards the south (South Baldy is off to the right of this view) and captures fairly well the steep descent from this ridge into the east fork of Sawmill Canyon (I believe, if I'm reading my topo map correctly). Lucy flushed a deer from just above the trail and I was astounded to see it bound straight down the hill into the thickets below, a good 500-foot descent in a few seconds.

Looking south from the Timber Peak Trail, Magdalena Mountains, July 2010

At an elevation of over 10,000 feet the air is thin, but aside from a few steep scrambles this trail is fairly level until the end (which I saved for next week). Along the way it offers stunning views from both sides of the ridgeline that leads up to Timber Peak. The shot below shows the winding road that ascends from the flats near the top of the image, between the end of the mountains and the small ridge to the north. I get a bit acrophobic every time I make this drive but the drive down wasn't nearly as bad as the drive up, perhaps because I felt so serene from both the beauty and the exertion of the hike.
View towards the east (roughly) from the Timber Peak Trail, Magdalena Mtns., July 2010

Sometimes escape is the best medicine... in fact, I happen to believe it is most of the time. Memo to self: everything happens for a reason, and ending up on a mountain top for the afternoon and evening was exactly what I needed. Lucy and I will sleep well tonight, and I'll have more pics (mostly macro, which I still prefer to landscapes and probably always will) tomorrow.

1 comment:

Deanna said...

Beautiful photos and a lovely hiking companion too!