Back in January, Michael and I started planning for an upcoming trip to Texas to give my Mother a 90th Birthday Party. We decided that we would add some vacation time to this trip and spend a few days in Santa Fe, New Mexico. As we talked we started reminiscing about our honeymoon that was spent Backpacking in the Pecos Wilderness area of the Santa Fe National Forest. As we talked further, we decided that we would return to the area and re-trace a portion of our honeymoon journey.
Now it gets interesting…..first of all, our equipment was all old, out of date and HEAVY, so Michael has spent a lot of time in the last few months searching for and purchasing some nice new equipment.
The next worry was whether or not my knees would hold up to such a journey. My Physical Therapist said that he felt sure that I wouldn’t have any problems, but I was concerned anyway.
So, we planned to do a day hike along the Appalachian Trail to test out the equipment and my old (and remodeled) knees. Today was the day for the journey………….
We had postponed several times due to the rainy weather, but since the weather service was predicting a decreasing chance of showers as the day went on, we decided to give it a try.
We arrived at the approach trail to Blood Mountain (the tallest mountain on the Georgia section of the AT)……
The first thing that we noticed were TONS of mushrooms, of all sizes, shapes and varieties….
This one was really interesting……
….and Michael climbed the side of the mountain to photograph this one……
As we hiked upward, the weather changed from fog, to rain, to sun and then back to fog or rain again……so much for the predictions!!!
Our first view from the top of the mountain was shrouded in fog, so we continued a bit further to the Blood Mountain Shelter…….
….where we proceeded to have morning tea (coffee, tea and Trail Mix)…..
We enjoyed using our new stove……
….which weighs over a pound less than the old one!!!!
As we started the return journey, the clouds started parting and the sun began to shine……
At each outlook we were able to see the surrounding mountains more clearly…..
We learned a valuable lesson when we missed the White Blaze that marked a turn in the trail…..
….and instead ended up on this shear face of lichen covered rocks……
As the rocks became more and more slippery, Michael decided that we had indeed missed the trail. We ended up traversing the rocks on our butts and then climbing “cross-country” to return to the trail. Needless to say, we watched diligently for blazes for the rest of the journey!!!
As we arrived at the turn to go back to our car, we were both feeling healthy and the weather looked good, so we decided to climb further down the trail and visit the backpacking store at Mountain Crossings. Most of this leg of the journey was wonderful, except it started pouring rain just before we reached the bottom.
We made a mad dash across the road to the store, only to be met with movie cameras and crew. They were apparently making a Sci-Fi movie about a backpacker….will have to watch for it!!
The rain returned while we were in the store, but stopped long enough for us to make the short hike up the road to the parking area…..
The great news is that my knees didn’t hurt at all and should be fine for future hiking.
The bad news is that we found out that the area we were planning to hike in New Mexico has been closed due to potential fires and/or floods, so we will not be able to backpack there this year. After today’s success, we are thinking that we might make a day trip to one of the other National Parks in the Santa Fe area…..will let you know!!!!