Best Hiking In Taos – When an epidemic shrinks their world, the Taos family takes on the challenge of walking and finding a new path.
Rasa Lila O’Donnell paused to take in the sweeping view from her climb to the top of the Hermit Peak trailhead.
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We get up like a prayer, eat light, and rush to the mountains outside our Taos home. There are five of us – me, my husband, our 12-year-old sons Ilan and Skye, and our 16-year-old daughter Isabella, who just took her first steps on a walk. He didn’t meet a mountain he couldn’t climb.
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In March, these trails south to the Sangre de Cristo, the southern fringes of the Rocky Mountains, are dry and bathed in sunlight. The molten earth emits a mineral smell like rain even on a cloudless day. Above, the trail, not yet blessed with enough autumn sun to see through winter, remains snow-packed, cold and scented with snow and pine.
Still no flowers and no sign of the birds I usually associate with spring. Not high. not yet. The wind blows the wise.
Some mornings, while we were out walking, the swift snow squirrels would catch us, then let go and descend into the pine and pine valleys below. Some mornings we are in full sun. In New Mexico, the highest points visible in the north and south are covered with snow. Our feet slip and slide on the street, looking for purchase.
The COVID-19 pandemic has not occurred in the United States for a month. But we were not surprised at all. In early January, we knew how bad it could get, and a month later we started stocking up on food and supplies. We sent our children out of school early. We “put on a mask” and agreed to the uncertainty of what lies ahead.
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Between the fear of illness, the economic downturn, the confusion in our children’s eyes, and the sudden fog of the near future, we needed a way to clear our minds and hearts—a way that would lift our spirits for months, maybe years. to come
We are a traveling family. We hike, backpack, explore. Our first 2020 itinerary includes a 10-day road trip through the Southwest, a retreat on California’s Lost Coast, a week in Lake Powell, a trip to Cuba, photography workshops, and a challenge to complete 52 hikes in 52 weeks. .
I remember when I was an archaeologist, we started the New Year’s hiking race on the frozen rocks at Pump House Wash, Arizona. Our plan was to complete the road tests in the southwest.
We’ve listed nearby trails: Frijoles Canyon, Bandelier National Monument, and the West Fork of the Rio Santa Barbara in the 224,000-acre Pecos Wilderness. We also list trails in southern New Mexico: Argentina Canyon, Dog Canyon, and the Middle Fork of the Gila. Then the trails of Colorado. and Arizona Roads. Her wish list was growing like a child’s Christmas stocking.
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But during this pandemic, travel was dangerous and even wrong. We knew it was better for our safety and the health of our community to stay home. The very big world we grew up in was also very small and, frankly, scary.
Friends join family on a hike up Golden Hill with the Wheeler Peak Wilderness as a backdrop.
It’s mid-April and we’re in the grassy volcanic plains of Rio Grande del Norte National Monument. The five of us can’t stand the spring winds in northern New Mexico. Trip number 27 awaits.
Cerro Chiflo, a 9,000-foot volcanic outlet, rose before us with a trailless, unforgiving pine, juniper, and forest edge. Pinon jays breed in groups of 10 to 20. Bald rises.
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Climbing Cerro Chiflo resembles life in this pandemic world based on patience and endurance. For the better part of the day we prefer to climb up and down the jungle, rocks and katis.
Some trails are dead ends with vertical jumps from the forest. We turn around and lower our hands, then choose another path. Other roads are too steep, we pride ourselves on four legs. Others want us to jump from rock to rock. You need a break to rest.
At the top, he sweats and shakes, convulsing. I change my shirt, we eat among the rocks in the wind. At least four meters away we find one of the largest shelters I have ever seen.
On the east side, the Sangre de Cristos rests on unmelted snow and sits on a white vein that flows through the canyon. Directly below us, the Rio Grande Gorge cuts a black rift across the middle from north to south.
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In the Kesta region, we can see where my husband’s father’s family has worked for generations. I grew up north of the state line in southern Colorado. Our children have spent their lives in this landscape.
I can feel the deep sadness in his voice. Now that we’re moving, what about his favorite summer desert camp, friends, and other trips we have planned? What about my grandmother? He is also worried about how the school year will end. Will he be able to go to seventh grade? Can I ride a bike in the area?
I saw you shoot. I stopped and took my child in my arms. i want to cry Are adults allowed to cry during these times? I have to distract him. No, all I have to do is distract myself.
– Where do you think we can go? I asked. Remember, we live in New Mexico. We have a very big yard.”
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We use the location at Cerro Chiflo to show the landscapes that defined our home during the eruption—from the Sangre de Cristos in the east to the Chama River valley in the west, and from the Pajarito Plateau to the Colorado line in the south. the north
At the beginning of May, we did our 52 walk test. It seems reasonable to double the number, but as summer approaches, it becomes much easier. A hundred and twenty? It gives us something to drive.
As we seek higher elevations—from Wheeler Peak, the highest in New Mexico, to Flag Mountain near Kesta—we now want to broaden our view.
The track itself is not remarkable. East of Taos, an old logging road follows a bullet-strewn towpath through the pines and Ponderosa Valley to the west. After a few kilometres, it narrows into Animal Street. Then it’s just the ghost of a path that appears in the trees and disappears again. We see coyotes, elk and deer tracks. A few hours later we wound our way down the hill to find an all too familiar landmark.
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And it does. The sign points to Davisadero Peak, the hill above the sanctuary and we overlook several times a month. Isabella wonders, “If these roads are connected, what about the roads in the valley, the old logging roads? Can we go from Taos to Angel Fire and Moreno Valley?”
Throughout the summer we explore new trails within a few miles of our home. A 14-mile loop through Ojito Canyon leads to a never-before-seen panoramic view of Taos, then joins the aspen-lined Southern Border Road we know and love. The Talpa Traverse takes us through the low rocky foothills that connect Taos with the neighboring villages. A series of trails along the banks of the Rio Grande Gorge take us past ancient hunting grounds, petroglyphs and the not-so-old wrecks of cars that were used to control erosion in the 1930s.
After a steamy afternoon in the plains east of Taos, my wife, Rasa Leela, suggested that this period of quarantine is like being forced to meditate. We don’t want to sit down. We don’t want to have pain and discomfort. We want to get away from it. Isolation, he says, allows us to see how we get stuck in dysfunctional habits. We have to live with the present pain. Today it means putting one foot forward, following a path to find a new path.
In late July, Rasa Lila and I huddled under the sprawling fir of Hermit Peak, a pre-Cambrian massif of granite northwest of Las Vegas, once out of children. Rainwater seeps into our coats and boots. The lightning strikes so close my teeth rattle.
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We started the trail on a cloudless morning. The storm rose rapidly and within an hour we were stranded. Should we wait? come back Risky pushing?
We wait about an hour before we decide to get back on the road. We will go with the articles.