May 17, 2010

Santa Fe and the Pecos Wilderness

After Bandalier National Monument and Los Alamos, we headed to Santa Fe, the capital of New Mexico. It is a nice looking town that requires all homes be built in "adobe" style. In addition, being at 7,000 feet it is heavily forested. That makes the homes disappear below the trees.

Santa Fe also has very expensive housing, due to the exclusive nature of the community. But, nonetheless, we liked the area being so green and the housing being so much more subdued.

Downtown is also a cute little area.

Santa Fe Neighborhoods

From Santa Fe, we headed out to the 10,000 foot Santa Fe Ski Area for a hike into the Pecos Wilderness and to the base of 12,630 foot Santa Fe Baldy. This area is near the southern limit of the Rocky Mountains. You could call this area the "Southern Rockies". In fact, there are no "higher" summits in New Mexico south of this peak.

Ski Santa Fe, one of the higher ski areas in the United States at over 10,000 feet

Aspens along the trail

We hiked through mixed conifers and aspen stands until reaching some mountain lakes with views of the Santa Fe Baldy. Aspens require open sun, so they require periodic fires to open the canopy of firs and spruces, so they can regenerate. Below, you can see the spruces coming up in the mature aspen overstory. Eventually, without fire, these spruces will shade and crowd them out, and the aspens will disappear until the next major fire.

Santa Fe Baldy appears like a round dome at the angle you can view it from here. But, apparently it is a long ridge and we are just looking head on. We hiked up about 1/2 of the way before deciding to turn back because the day was getting late and the hike long.

Rocky Slopes of Englemann Spruce at 11,000 feet in the Pecos Wilderness

The view of Santa Fe Baldy from the meadows

1 comment:

Keith Ganger said...

Thanks that was a well written and helpful post. It was useful information to have when planning our recent trip to the area.

Here is the story and video of our trip.