Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Mountain Hiking Adventures

Once again, my family and I went to the Red River, NM area for vacation.  Last year we went during the week of the music and chili festival.  This year, there was much more hiking.  I got to try out some new hiking gear including a new pair of boots I had been breaking in prior to the trip.  I did five hiking trips in total.

Monday rolled around and the Red River Nature Trail was the hike I decided on for the day.  I was going solo for this one.  It was only a 2 mile hike and I thought it would be a good distance to shake out any gear issues in mountain terrain.  I was mainly concerned with my boots.  I threw on my day pack and walked from where we were staying over to the trail head by the ski lift.  The highlight of this trip was coming across a bedded down mule deer.  I came up over a small ridge and spooked it not 15 yards away.  I immediately stopped in the hopes of not scaring it further.  The deer got to it's feet and trotted off.   At this point I had come up to the ATV trails that lead to Goose Lake.  Ten minutes later, as I was coming down the ATV trails, I came across another mule deer (and I suspect it may have been the same one from earlier, but who knows) and was able to get a picture of it before it popped out of sight.

Not the greatest picture, but still was cool to see.  This was on the ATV trails coming down from the RR Nature Trail.
Tuesday we hiked up the Old Pass.  Round trip was about 5.5 miles.  We hiked up to the highest point, picnicked and then went back down the way we came.  There was not much excitement for this one.  This was probably my least favorite of all the hikes I took during this week.

Approximately half way up.  The upper valley is visible to my left.

Wednesday was the day for the "big one".  Our destination was Lost Lake.  My father and brother came along for this one.  The total mileage for this hike was 10 miles (5 up, 5 down).  We hit the trail head at 7 am.  I have done this hike several times over the years, but it had been a long time since the last time.  I had forgotten the great views while on this trail.

The switchbacks leading up to Lost Lake.  This was within the first 2 miles.

Out of the switchbacks.  About a mile and a half out from the lake.

We arrived after about 3.5 hours of hiking.  On a side note, my wife and I had planned on camping at this lake a few years ago, but never were able to.   The lake makes a good base camp and the fishing is great as well.  As we came up on the lake itself we saw about three camps setup with one being part of a boy scout group.  My father, brother and I sat down and enjoyed a nice lunch at 11, 500 ft.

Lost Lake Elevation 11,500 feet
We spent about an hour at the lake, but knew we had to start heading back down if we wanted to be home by dinner.

Thursday and Friday I hiked the same path, Columbine Trail.  The first was with my mother, father and brother and the second time was with just the wife.  It was approximately 3.2 miles round trip each day.

Hard to see, but there was a little rapid right by me.
It was a good week of some easy/moderate level hiking.  That being said, having the right items with me made the trip much more pleasant and it was good to give them a test.  The items below were ones I had not taken on a solid outdoor adventure prior to vacation.  I really had no complaints:

Tactical Tailor Fight Light Removable Operator Pack - The price is fairly high, but you get what you pay for.  The stitching and material are both quality.  I was able to fit my Camelbak 100 oz bladder no problem into the dedicated pocket for it. The main compartment easily held my lunch along with my "just in case" items if we were to find ourselves in a jam.  The straps are comfortable and cinch up nice and tight so that the little pack stays close to my back.  It is definitely only a day pack, but it's perfect for that use.

Merrell Sawtooth Boots - These were probably only needed for the Old Pass and Lost Lake hikes as the other trails were not nearly as rocky and uneven.  I did find that for my feet and the boot that I needed to lace the boots up in a way that kept my heel more secure.  This combined with the next item on my list kept my feet blister free.

Smartwool Sock Liners - Prior to vacation, I had been trying to break in my boots.  I wore them as often as was possible and walked on the treadmill when I could not get out the door with them.  I found that my heel was either forming a callous or blister (I am fairly certain it was a callous), but to be on the safe side I picked three pairs of these sock liners.  They did just the trick and kept my feet dry and gave me a "second skin" to mitigate any further foot problems.

Everything else I had used in the past and also performed as I expected them to.  I really enjoyed my vacation and highly recommend to anyone who likes to spend time in the mountains to go and visit this part of New Mexico.  You will not be disappointed.

What are some of your favorite places to spend in the great outdoors?  Share any tips or items that you absolutely swear by in the comments below.  Thanks for stopping by.


  1. I didn't know New Mexico had trees! All kidding aside, it looks like a great trip. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Whenever I tell people I hike in New Mexico, I have to explain that the Rockies do extend into the northern portion. They imagine it as all desert.