02 October 2010

Sunset over Magdalena, Oct. 2010

Painted Lady on chamisa, Magdalena Mtns., Oct. 2010
The best thing about yesterday's hike in the Magdalena Mountains was... well, all of it. We're having a warm autumn so far (unlike last autumn; it had already snowed by this time last year), which makes for delightful hiking and keeps the flowers and butterflies and other summer life abundantly busy. I had set out to just do some exploring but felt an urge to conquer the mountain as I got moving, especially as the crest and its changing colors came into closer view. The elevation gain was staggering -- close to 2000 feet -- and the old forest road I took had some serious straight ascents with only a few switchbacks. The loose, rocky trail made for tough footing, especially on the steep sections, which added just enough peril to make for a real challenge.

Although I did bring water, Lucy and I were both relieved when she finally found a good puddle, very near the top (we were at 9000 feet at this point). She took a few long slurpy drinks and then plowed right in to cool off for a few moments. Up to this point I had been more than happy to share my water with her but didn't have enough for her to wallow in....

As difficult a hike as this was, pushing through my resistance (both physical and mental) and reaching the top was exhilarating. From one spot (shown below; that fist-pumping shadow is me in my goofy but highly effective sun hat) I could see both west to the San Mateo and Sawtooth Mountains and east past the Rio Grande Valley to the Manzanos and Sacramentos. Just getting to almost 9200 feet above sea level on my own power felt like a great achievement and gave me some insight into why people become addicted to mountain climbing.

At the crest (looking east toward Rio Grande Valley and beyond), Magdalena Mtns., Oct. 2010

1 comment:

Steve Bodio said...

I know that spot! Exhilarating to "top out", isn't it?