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Sunday, 15 February 2015

A Breath of Fresh Air


 
 

I was in danger of getting cabin fever. It’s all very well burying yourself away to write, but when your subject revolves around the delights of being in the West, and being inspired by its fabulous landscapes, you just have to make time to enjoy it. Thursday was a scintillating day, so around 9.30 I hopped on the Foundation bike, lowered the saddle, tightened the straps on my back-pack and pedalled the three miles up Kit Carson Road to the trailhead. (Interesting to see a sign outside a house along there, which claimed ‘Kit Carson was an Indian killer and this is NOT Kit Carson Road.’)

The path I’d chosen was on a south-facing slope and fully exposed to the sun, but most of the ground was still frozen; dry, but with snow-banks in every patch of shade. My first objective was Divisidero Peak, at 8034 feet. Sounds high, but I was probably starting at around 7000 feet. It was a stiff, zigzag climb but I was surprised to make it, even with two or three water- and snack-breaks, in well under ninety minutes.

The choice now was between carrying on around the loop – about twice as far as I had already come - and re-tracing my steps. The deciding factor was the terrain. The return part of the loop would be largely on the northern, shady side. Which explains why a hiker from Vermont, whom I met as he made his way down the mountain, asked my casually whether I had crampons.

I made the descent in fifty minutes, just pausing now and then to take in the views of the flat lands around Taos and to the south.

 
So, not a huge hike, but a good starter. Next week I will make an earlier start and attempt the entire loop.