This weekend found us wandering the higher elevations of the Jemez Mountains. The forecast was gorgeous, allowing us to enjoy the day without being buried in winter gear. Just a couple of layers and our snowshoes…and no TVs!
We had one goal, but two ways we could achieve it. We would either do the 5-mile hike to the San Antonio Hot Springs near La Cueva or the 8-mile hike to the top of Los Griegos Peak. Being the perennial early bird, I was ready to leave by 7:00am, only to walk laps around the house waiting for Miss Thing to pull it together. She mentioned something about not being rushed and leisurely enjoying her Saturday morning. A phrase that sounds like fingernails on a blackboard to me, but I own that, because I get a bit excited when it comes to the weekends!
En route, the dreaded “where will we stop for breakfast” question came up. My first thought (besides more fingernails on a blackboard–and one I kept to myself) was: if we stop ALL the snow will melt! But again–I get excited. Long story short, the Jemez Springs Café became our new focus, not the trailhead. I was thinking that a hand-held burrito would be just the thing, but she was thinking of something more time-consuming and served on a plate, UGH!
Sleepy little towns lean toward the slower-paced breakfast, and on this particular morning there was a local playing morning music on her cello. I really wanted to take it all in, but c’mon the snow was melting, and if we thought we would complete a snowshoe trip, we would have to get a move on. Somehow, I managed to relax enough to enjoy my burrito con papas y chile rojo, but it was overshadowed by her amazing blue corn, blueberry pancakes.
OK, now we were moving! We drove up to the Hot Spring Trailhead and it was loaded with vehicles. Why you ask? Because we didn’t leave the house at O’dark thirty, that’s why! We moved on to plan B: Los Griegos. There, we found only a lone vehicle–perfect! This was a new trail to us but we weren’t scared! We strapped on our snowshoes, donned our daypacks and hit the trail. Immediately we came to a fork in the trail and opted for the uphill choice. We climbed and climbed, wandering through changing vegetation. Scrub and pine gave way to aspen as we ascended. We found ourselves huffing and puffing as we tromped in the soft, north-facing snow, peeling off layers of gloves and hats. The sights and sounds were incredible! After hours of trekking, we finally made the summit.
The views in all directions made us do the Julie Andrews twirly dance. Picture that on snowshoes and it’s hilarious, mostly because you step on your own snowshoes and tip over. Which leads to why we thought snow angels would be a good idea. Why not?!
This hike can be done as a loop or an out-and-back. We opted for the loop. That means no tracks to follow home. It was exhilarating to utilize our orienteering skills, compass, and map. That’s right: old school baby! Toward the end, we were getting tired, which is what led to me finally acknowledging that the breakfast with cello music had been a good idea, and that there was plenty of time for our fun day, which after all was our goal in the first place… to have fun!
On the way home, the light was magical as it danced off the land. We would love to go back to this area, including the fantastic breakfast and music; maybe next time, you’ll join us …