One of the first things we did after we accepting this job in New Mexico was map out our weekend adventures. We had grand plans of several backpacking trips.
However, we didn’t account for the unpredictable spring synonymous with living in the mountains (case in point, I packed shorts and sandals. I will probably never wear shorts and sandals here. What was I thinking? I have barely worn short sleeves.).
So last Saturday when we woke up to snow at 8,000 feet and plans to camp at 10,500 feet, we decided to make some adjustments. Interesting fact about New Mexico. Ninety percent of the state receives less than 20 inches of moisture annually. We are in that 10 percent part of the state that receives more. But I digress (again).
Without any of our winter camping gear, day hiking would have to suffice for the snowy weekend. We still headed to the Vacas Trail in the San Predro Peaks Wilderness. Then we encountered speed bump #2. Forest Road 70 to access the trailhead for the Vacas Trail was still closed for the season.
Thankfully, it was just an extra 5-mile roundtrip to Gregorio Lake, a manmade reservoir. The lake was well worth the extra miles. It is an extremely popular spot in the summer for anglers, so to have it all to ourselves was a treat.
We were not really alone, though.
Why yes, that is a mountain lion track.
Aside from the extra miles, the trail was great and it was nice to enjoy some winter scenes again. Now, go away winter.
By the time we returned to our car, the daytime temperatures had warmed a bit and the dirt roads we traveled were not snow-covered. It is important to mention that this particular trailhead is about 15 miles from where we live. Remember that.
We started making our way back home. I was dreaming of a shower, a cup of tea and curling up in bed.
Ever try driving in thick mud? Not only are you at risk for getting stuck, but it is similar to driving on slick oil or black ice. J gripped the steering wheel as the car fishtailed all over. Up ahead, we could see an Audi that slid off the side of the road, waving us down. J found a suitable spot for us to stop and help. Soon after, another car came from the other direction. The consensus was that the mud was horrific for the next 15 miles. The next 15 miles that would take us to our doorstep. Avoid if possible, the fellow travelers advised.
For us, the alternative was a 100-mile detour.
We took the 100-mile detour.
Don’t worry, I still made tea, but opted to hold off on a shower.
The next morning, we woke to a foot of snow (so, so happy we vetoed camping) and no power. The shower would have to wait another 12 hours until our power came back on.
So, yes, we had a pretty epic weekend, even if it wasn’t exactly as planned.