Monday, September 6, 2010

Hike in the Sandias, 9/3/10

Satellite View of the Trail
Typical Stretch of Trail
Well, on Friday I tried hiking in the Sandia Mountains for the first time this year.  I felt like I'd been doing a little better, off and on, in the previous few weeks and wanted to see how I'd fare on the trail, so I made plans to hike the Embudito Trail with John Brewer and Jimmy Romero.  Notwithstanding the fact that we got a late start (due to an appointment Jimmy had with the eye doctor), our plan was to hike all the way to South Sandia Peak and back, but it was apparent early on that I wasn't going to make it that far.  In fact, for a while I thought I was going to have to turn around where the trail crosses over to the south side of the main drainage, which (at least according to the guidebook) is only a couple of miles into the hike; finally, however, after gobbling a couple of handfuls of trail mix I was able to keep going all the way to Oso Pass, but I simply couldn't have made it to the Peak, which is two really brutal miles beyond the Pass (see attached photo of South Peak taken at Oso Pass).  I told John and Jimmy that they should go "tag" the peak and catch up to me on the way down, but the hour was getting late and they decided to turn around with me.  The hike down was easier on me than the hike up, but, frankly, I was amazed, given how bad I'd felt on the ascent and the steepness of the trail, that I made it up as far as I did.

I've never had much in the way of aerobic capacity, but the difference between what I could hike last year and what I can do this year is stark. "Disembarkation Syndrome" truly has left me feeling twenty years older!  I'm left wondering if I'll ever see South Peak, my favorite place in the Sandias, again, as there is no easy route to get there (in fact, Embudito Trail is probably as "easy" a route as there is).

View of South Sandia Peak from Oso Pass
View up Embudito Canyon from Near the Drainage Crossing