Traveling with The Peacemaker does make for a more exciting trip. For the most part, I drove, my son was my co-pilot, investigating every town we drove through, Yelping restaurants in every city…. with Blue Eyes working (or napping) in the back seat.
Our destination after Moab was all the way to Taos, New Mexico. The drive took us through Durango, Colorado where we stopped for a bathroom break, a snack, and a walk through a pretty park on the Animas River.
Next stop on Day 7 was in Pagosa Springs, Colorado. The Peacemaker decided we needed a proper hike to break up the day, so we drove up the long and winding Four Mile Road to Four Mile Falls trailhead near the top of Pagosa Peak in the Rio Grande Forest.
The main trail was pretty slushy with melting snow, so we took the reverse horse trail and found our own path to keep from getting too muddy. We didn’t hike all the way to the falls (which are probably pretty sparse this time of year) because we wanted to get back before sunset to a viewpoint we had passed on the road. Blue Eyes stayed in the car.
We grabbed take away po-boys in town from The Lost Cajun (very good) and hit the road. Little did we know that we were in for a slow drive to Taos. Our route took us up and over a very snowy pass on highway 64 where we didn’t see a single other vehicle, however, we saw dozens and dozens of elk. It was slow going as it was, thankfully, because it was that very special time just after dark, when animals love to cross the road. Although it was really too dark to take decent photos, we ended up stopping numerous times, turning off the car and watching and listening for the male elk bugling (mating calls).
It’s an eerie and beautiful sound that we learned about five years ago in the Grand Tetons. As we turned out the car lights and our eyes adjusted, we could see herds of elk just yards from the road. We definitely felt like the outsiders. Eventually we did have to get back on the road though or we weren’t ever going to make it to Taos.
Taos was the one location where I had chosen an airbnb for our accommodations. Next road trip if I can, I will choose more airbnbs. This 1895 adobe near downtown was really special. There was even a separate one bedroom casita on the property for The Peacemaker. I had informed the property manager of our late arrival and they kindly had the authentic Kiva fireplaces burning for us. We woke to snow on the ground and a view of the Taos Mountains.
The entire time we were in New Mexico, The Peacemaker was in search of green chile everything! Every food we ate had to have green chiles!
Turns out The Peacemaker and I needed that big breakfast to get us through the next few hours of some serious hiking on the big mountain in Taos Ski Valley.
It all sounded so reasonable… he’d researched the trail the weekend before. Beautiful 4.5-5 mile round trip hike up to Williams Lake. The pictures looked so green, and lovely. Even though we would be starting the hike at 10,000 feet (gasp), there was only about 1,000’ elevation gain and the times given seemed do-able for a Friday afternoon. Notes in the All Trails app warned of lack of parking and some crowding on the trail, but we figured with the snowfall they’d had earlier in the week, it would be less crowded than normal.
When we arrived the parking lot for the trailhead (or what we thought was the parking lot, still not quite sure—since we hiked quite some way and past a ski lift, a restaurant, and some other out buildings before it felt like we were actually on a trail), there were exactly two vehicles and one looked like it hadn’t started in many a moon.
The parking lot was plowed, but there was 2-3’ of snow accumulation all around us. We parked, I put on my heavy-duty Danner hiking boots, realizing a little too late that I had ordered the boots a half size larger in order to accommodate some nice heavy duty hiking socks, which I had neglected to bring. All I had with me were my little ankle socks. Prior to this hike, I had been wearing my crossover walking/hiking Merrells which are nicely broken in and worked fine. This time I needed the real thing.
We were rewarded with a gorgeous sunset on our way back to town.
Next stop, Santa Fe! 🚘