by Jim and Melanie
For months, we have hiked ever increasing distances and terrain to prepare for hiking in the mountains near Taos. This day, we chose to hike the Devisadero Peak Loop trail just to the east of Taos. We look out the windows of our casita to see these mountains as the sun rises over them in the morning. We arrived soon after 8 am. It was still about 48˚F. The climb was from 7200 ft up to 8300 ft. The trail continued after the peak. It looped around and followed the contours of the mountains back down.
We reached an early vantage point early in the climb which looked out over the town of Taos and the valley beyond.
A lot of prickly pear cactus grew along the trail. Care needed to be take not to bump your ankles onto it.
We were pretty well acclimated by now to the elevation. It was a reasonably strenuous climb. But, we made frequent stops for shade and water.
There were a lot of switchbacks in the trail. We ascended on the left trail and continued on the right. Footing was sometimes smooth and easy. Other times it was loose and rugged. Parts of the trail had larger steps of rock ledges. Closer to the top we got into an area with a lot of round granite rock. We needed to be more careful not to twist an ankle.
Step back just a little bit farther…farther…one more step. Oooooops!
It was a challenging climb to the top for two flat-landers from Iowa. We don’t encounter elevation above 800 ft in our neighborhoods. We were proud of how strong we felt. It was a good feeling to be fit and able to make the climb without feeling exhausted.
The climb down was not as easy as we hoped. Melanie felt a fair amount of pain in her knees. She wore a brace which helped. It took a lot longer that we expected to descend. We got all the way down with no falls or stumbles and no permanent injury. Today we feel fine. We may get one more big hike in before we have to go.