Santa Fe National Forest
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I've been given a short list of unsolicited you-must-go-tos, and one of them is the Pecos Wilderness. Besides, it's about time for another grand peak and New Mexico's 4th highest county high point should qualify. The shortest way there is a 7 mile hike on Winsor Trail, an old supply route, but I have decided to go along the far less practical route via the Skyline Trail for 10 miles. The thing is, I'm not entirely sure how I'm supposed to get to the start of it. It seems to start at the top of the ski runs and the sanctioned approaches seem to be from Aspen Vista or Big Tesuque Campground down the road a bit. It's not an attractive option, but I bet there's ways on the ski runs themselves, so I'm going that way. Right past a sign warning of man made and natural dangers ahead. It's not like there's any skiers coming down and they don't seem to be catering to mountain bikers and Frisbee golfers for a bit of summer cash. As long as I don't play with the 480V outlets every few hundred feet, it should be no more dangerous than usual.
|Following in the footsteps of many others right past the danger sign.|
There's paths forming up the slopes, but also paths cut through the trees for a little more pleasant walk. I go for the in the trees routes but avoid where there are buildings. Apparently this is "Adventure Land" although it has the feel of a petting zoo. Halfway up, there's even a little very sheltered snow. It is easy to direct myself toward a little peak marked with a benchmark on the map. There is no benchmark, but there are sighting tubes, which can also be fun. They are all numbered and a sign says what you're looking at. Unfortunately, it's a little grey for actually seeing much.
|Up under the ski lifts to the top.|
|Sighting tubes and Santa Fe.|
Still not high enough to catch the start of the trail, though. There is supposed to be a trail from here to it, but I'm not betting on it really being there. There are a couple other hikers up here, so there will be something. It's a popular place to walk. So, down through a shallow saddle and then up some more ski runs. Signs point the way, but not very well. The higher runs have drift fences to keep the snow in place and reduce the hiker options. I just climb on a faint track that might have once been the power line road. It seems to eventually be trail until just before it hits the road to an electronics site at the top of the current local bump. There's supposed to be some trail going roughly with the road, but I don't see it, just a lot of evidence and a few people hiking the road. Anyway, I found the start of Skyline, sort of. It'll definitely break off at a junction a short way ahead.
|On the road briefly with a preview of coming attractions. First the treeless bump to the right which is on the way to Lake Peak, then the bump toward the left, which is the grand prize for today.|
The trail does break off at the junction although no sign marks it. Long snow banks cross it as it settles in on the top of the ridge under trees. They are not quite enough to lose the trail, which is good because I see no markings for it other than the path generated by travel. Once I'm rolling along, there is a old, worn sign I'll need further clues to decipher to "impassable for stock". Like I said, this is the more impractical route.