New Mexico Skyline Trail

Aug 2015 (soon!)

Sources vary: between 53 -60 miles from Santa Fe Ski Basin north to Truchas, then east and south…   my co-worker at Santa Fe Mountain Adventures somehow found this and made me a copy, super helpful!:

skylineNot heaps of info on this trail.  Here is one basic map

and a different somewhat better map w/ tracks… it has been suggested to me to summit Jicarita Peak, so there’s that to add on at the Northermost part.

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Beef packets – YES!

This is Libbys Seasoned Beef Crumbles – I got for $1  at Big Lots discount stores.

They also carry Rosarita Spicy Beef Crumbles – also $1 which I have had and like, but I can only eat  1/2 of the package with my meal and I don’t like to feed my dog the spicy kind.  I give her the part I don’t eat.  At 6 Ounces you want to carry this!  Tastes good.  Not weird.

Use this with dehydrated refried beans, fresh cheddar cheese, avocado in a tortilla.  Maybe use quick rice if you like it also. (I don’t really like rice)

Works with “3 minute pasta” and the pesto tube (look in the produce section for herbs in tubes refrigerated) and/or dried tomatoes sauce packets.


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CDT 2016

Let’s see if I can get my act together to SoBo it…  with Sammy D.

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Sandia Crest Trail Thruhike

A bit north of Albuquerque rise the Sandias, which boast America’s longest Cable Car ride- which I did not partake of.

Imagethis image is from the web


My first overnight backpacking trip of the season was this 26 mile thru hike up, across, over, and down this big rock.  It was my dog Sammy’s first big hike and being out of shape, this was a great accomplishment for our first trip of the season.  A really big thanks to my friend Cedra for picking us up at the Southern terminus, going out for food, and shuttling us back to the truck at the N TH.



We arrived at the Northern TH in Placitas and started our hike at 12:30 pm… not exactly genius timing, but I’m a “wing-it” kind of girl.

The trail starts gravelly/rocky and steadily climbs up up up up.  All afternoon.  It was grey and got a bit drizzly.  We came upon a few wee patches of snow, and this is how Sammy reacts:


We had some nice views, though to be real about it, the Sandias are hardly a “wilderness area” as there’s roads all over it, numerous connecting trails, a sprawling view of the city and interstate….



It drizzled during my lunch break and weather moved in, foggy, and threatening but not horribly so.


So after maybe 4-5,000′ elevation gain and 10 miles or so we made it to the top where all the radio towers are.  There was rather a lot of snow up to 5′ in some areas.  We stomped and slid our way thru it as sunset approached.  I was feeling it, the nonstop uphill and then the snow slog!


The trail levels out, somewhat and we finally arrived at the big parking areas with the (closed) restaurant, shop, and cable car in some pretty gnarly sleet.  I put on different layers in the unlocked pit toilet.  Convenient!  Sun was setting, not to decide what to do and where to pitch in this weather and wind.

Image Image


As the sun sets and I keep walking thru this signed tourist mountaintop area, the irony of “yikes” sets in just a touch.  I’m an expert backpacker dammit and I have GOT this, although it’s not what I had really anticipated, and the wind picks up and the snow is sideways and it sure is pretty and where the heck can I pitch.  I found a great low tree that would provide some shelter but it felt weird so I kept on and came upon the Kiwanis stone cabin, built in the early 1900s precisely for THIS kind of situation.


No, I actually am sincere when I say that.  Only seasoned hikertrash will feel this way.  I was adequately supplied for this, rain pants instead of the rain skirt would have been cool, but all was well!  The major downside of my Tarptent Contrail is how difficult it is to pitch properly without using stakes (like in the ground) and the sideways snow/wind didn’t assist.  Sammy was kindof scared and couldn’t wait to get inside the tent, which was a first!


The morning after.  It doesn’t look windy, but it (still) is.  I thoroughly enjoyed my coffee in the sack, and was impressed with my success in using my rain skirt to protect myself from my wet dog while forcing her shivering puppiness to succumb to my loving spooning!  I had to use earplugs the wind was so bad and Sammy groaned.  A LOT.


All the snow on ONE side of all the trees.  Nowhere near as dramatic as the insane ice storm May 16-17 2011 on the PCT, THAT was insane huge ice growths on the windward side of everything and ice chunks falling like boulders from the sky!




The  rest of the crest and the descent:Image


Sammy frolicks in the snow







Northside: no downed trees, Southside: a bizzilion downed trees

IMG_4878IMG_4883 IMG_4880




Upon reaching the truck at the trailhead, after having rested in Cedra’s car while we ate


Upon having reached home and managing to exit the vehicle


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Colorado Trail 2014

Beginning plans to hike the Colorado Trail (CT) in 2014. I’ll have my dog and a friend with me.

Pmags info:
Erik the Black’s guidebook:

Gear List:  (with Gear List caveats at the bottom)   Items with * denote new to me
Mostly I’m using my old PCT gear, which will be fine.  What that means is- most of my gear is old and tired and could cause problems.  Or I just look haggered.  Being on a tight budget, I’ll probably be wearing the tank I wore on the PCT which is kinda gross.

“The Big 5”
Backpack GoLite Women’s Jam 25
Shelter Tarptent Contrail 28
Sleep Bag Marmot W Helium in new z-packs stuff sack* 29
Sleep Pad Thermarest xlite Women’s Neo Air w/patch kit and sack 11
Ground sheet Polycryo Ground Cloth * 1.6
96.3 oz/ 6lbs TOT
Clothing Packed
pillow/clothes bag ZPacks Pillow Dry Bag * 1.7 oz
Hiking socks 1 pr Smartwool UL running micro 1 oz
Hiking socks 1 pr Injinji toesocks 2 oz?
Thermal top Ice breaker long sleeve V or Smartwool zip upper 4.5 or 5.6 oz
Thermal bottom smartwool 150 4 oz
jacket/vest insulating ? old Patagonia Nano Puff 9 oz
wind/rain shell Marmot Precip XS 10.3 oz
wind pant/rain old REI pants 10 oz?
sleeping socks (in sleep bag) ??? 3 oz?
hat/balaclava Loki 3in1 2 oz
gloves Manzella Tahoe Touch Tip 1.8 oz
rain gloves nitrile exam gloves or zpacks rain mitt* 0
camp shoes *? 4
bug net Sea to Summit 1
TOTAL 55 oz/ 3.45 lbs
stove homemade pop can
pot Wal-mart grease pot 1.2L alum
pot cozy homemade
wind screen alum flashing
mug styrofoam?
utensil spork- from walmart 4 pack
cleaning scrubbie sm. Green thing 7.3 oz
Ursack Minor with zpacks rock bag* and OP Sack 5 oz
12.3 oz TOT
Bladder Platy BigZip 2L w/hose 5?
filter Sawyer in-line 2
hose 0
Bottle/s Aquafina 0.5
Backup Treatment MSR Aquatabs 0
TOTAL 7.5 oz
“The 11 Essentials”
Map Erik the Black 3.5
Compass ? w temp 1
Light Black Diamond Spot or Princeton Tec Vizz 3
First Aid kit INC earplugs custom in LOKSAK 3
Pocket Knife mini swiss army 1
Fire Starter emerg. Matches/vaseline cotton balls, ignition 1.5
Whistle orange one 0.5
Sunscreen kids spf 45 1
Bug repellant coleman deet 3
Cordage Kelty Triptease reflective 50′ 1
Duct tape Duct tape on poles
TOTAL 1 lb, 2.5 oz
Toilet Paper Paper Towel quarters in ziplock 2
Poo shovel Orange one 2
Pee bottle Whiz 1
Hand Sanitizer mini 1.5
Tooth Brush travel 0.25
Tooth Paste mini 1
towel hockey puck thing- Lightload 0.5
baby wipes 2
lip balm w SPF Dermatone 0.25
razor pink 0.25
pee rag 1/2 microfiber thingy 0.5
11 oz TOT
cell phone & waterproof sack iphone 4S+ normal charger+ earbuds 6.8 oz
Rite in the Rain journal, pencil 1.6 oz
total TOTAL 8.4 oz
Worn or Carried (excluded from base-weight)
Underwear Vasarette bikini Walmart
bra Barely-there type Walmart
shirt GoLite tank
pant/skirt Isis skirt
socks Smartwool PHD ultralite running
shoes *?
gaiters Dirty Girl
glasses auto transition
hat Golite visor
trekking poles Black Diamond Traverse

OK-  Here’s my caveats, gripes, etc about my gear list

I’m not going to upgrade my pack yet- it’s fine.  Will try to be GG Ambassador-gear tester
I’d love to upgrade my sleeping back to the z-packs 10 deg to save weight, but $$$ (Nope)
Might buy new MH Ghost Whisperer jacket- save 3 oz but $$$
I did change from Tyvek to Polycro groundsheet!

I got a Zpacks pillow stuff sack- should be comfy and a lighter clothes bag! New sleeping bag sack thats lighter too!
I trust this heavy rain gear, tough luck, it’s coming.  Might splurge on a new light jacket
Gloves work with touch screen
Might buy Zpacks rain mitts!  (Nope- fun idea but too pricey, diposeable medical gloves shall do.
Want fancy titanium trowel, but won’t yet $$$
Plan to use old PCT kitchen but might try to “fix” my new smaller kit, save 2-3oz

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Wheeler Peak 2013

My third summit.  My puppy’s first backpacking trip, overnight camping, AND summit!  Sept. 29, 2013

Arrived Taos Ski Valley 6 pm and headed up Bull-of-the-Woods Trail.  I did the summit for my first time this way in fall of 2010.  The Aspens are changing, it’s chilly, gets dark earlier than anticipated…  my pup Sammy did well carrying her new Ruffwear Ascent orange pack.  We used the Gentle Leader on her snout, with leash attached to my pack’s belt.  No problemo.

A couple hiked in just behind us with their two black labs, one a puppy- so I let Sammy free to play.  Camped after two miles at the Bull of the Woods pasture.  Sammy thought it was weird that I wanted her inside this fabric contraption, but she obliged and we spent an uneventful, but chilly (20-25 degree) night.  My new super UL camp set (of my own design) is a tad fussy.  Also my Sawyer Squeeze filter didn’t work at all.  It’s new, only used it twice… good thing I brought treatment tablets, sheesh!  Lovely morning with coffee and breakfast.

Got on our way up and enjoyed the views and saying hello to about a zillion fellow trekkers.  A friend met me on the trail and I proceeded to drag his butt upward into freezing, blustery conditions.  Snow on trail already!  The summit was amazing, perfectly clear and could see for hundreds of miles.  Took the newer (2010?) STEEP Williams Lake trail down- really fast, ez descent!  For my third summit, this was the first time to NOT encounter altitude sick people!  And now that I have my Wilderness First Responder certification…

So-  Bull-of-the-Woods is 8 miles to the summit, Williams Lake Tr is about 2.5 miles down.  My friend treated me to dinner at the Bavarian restaurant (my German ancestry appreciated it) and I headed home, happy and tired.  Spent about 12 hours lounging and Sleeping, Sammy stayed pooped ALL DAY long!ImageImage

Sammy Davis Jr, Jr on her way down the Williams Lake trail (with Lake below)  One tough pup!

Made a pre-hike video of our gear.

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my magic near Grants on the CDT

I spent all weekend, from 5pm Friday to 10 am Monday near Grants, NM set up to bliss-out some CDT Thru-hikers with trail magic.

Last week I went over there to scout out a location and leave a cooler of sodas and treats.  I met with Speed Bump and Softwalker, pals from our PCT hike and they had a good suggestion to drive the “trail” (roads) Zuni Canyon Rd to Bonita Canyon Rd.  It was fun to catch up with them in town and then I set off, hopeful of passing hikers.  First I met Shay on the gravel of Bonita Cyn Rd, which gets dusty as big trucks fly by.  He accepted a soda and candy bar and seemed to be having a good hike.  He has a photo project in the works where his Go_Pro camera takes a picture every 30 sec.  The road is ugly near town, but progressing the canyon is really cool with big rocks like teeth poking up, It turns gorgeous red into Bonita Cyn!  

Passed no more hikers, but when I got to the (fabulous) Mumms water cache near Hwy 53, I saw two hikers in the shade, and they had just gotten there.  Trail magic!  I made them sandwiches and they enjoyed chips and soda.  Cheese and Bonelady.  We had a nice chat.  They pressed on and I told them I would camp near them and provide water (and more snacks) so they wouldn’t have to take from the Mumms cache.  It is such a valuable service the Mumms provide, I hoped to ease the burden just a little bit for a day!  NoAmp showed up, who I remembered from the PCT sierras section!

I went across the Hwy to the Zuni-Acoma trailhead to leave a note about my soda cache and out pops more hikers, wow!  Max Chill was psyched for a root beer.  He said Pod and Gnar were right behind him.  I know them from the PCT and it was fun to chat with them!  They were psyched for sodas and snacks too.  I decided to camp with/near Cheese, Bonelady and NoAmp.

My puppy Sammy barked at them in the morning and ran around with cow pies in her mouth.  Fabulous.  I made us all hot water for coffees and we chilled for awhile before they moved on.  I started to walk with Sammy down the road and we hit MaxChill and Gnar with Pod right behind so we went to my site and I filled them up with a bit of food and stuff.  It was fun to see so many hikers in less than 24 hrs!  I was amazed!

So I planned my return the following weekend.  Oh man- I set up a hammock, lawn chairs, a table, shaded area, it was pretty dope.  But I hit nasty cold rain and thunderstorms on the drive there and had a cold first night.  Wired had warned me that as far as she knew no one was ahead of her, but I’d committed to being there, and there I was!  Some times plans don’t work out ideally!  But my Malpais park ranger friend Dave came by for dinner which was nice.  Before dark we climbed up a rocky canyon onto the mesa and Sammy met her first rattlesnake!  She did pretty good and all was well.  We had a nice view from there, and Dave pointed out the Arch everybody talks about, the Datil mountains further west, and explained the geology and how the lava field came to be.  

I’d hoped to climb Mt. Taylor in the AM but it took forever to pack up.  See, some poor New Mexican stole my trail magic cooler, which I hid under a shady tree just off-ttrail.  They must have purposely sought it out from my kinda vague directions on a tiny note on the side of the info panel at the Trailhead.  Oh well.  It’s funny though, a cheap K-mart cooler full of root beers, boiled eggs, and homemade ice-tea.  With a huge CDT thru-hiker sign and a notebook register inside.  Jeez.

Anyways, I went to the Visitor Center a bit further south on 53 and the ranger said he thought Balls and Sunshine came thru Fri early morning, so I figured they were long gone, it being Sunday now.  I decided to go into town and down 117 to look for Wired and other hikers.   Hey, if they ain’t coming to me, I’ll come to them!  Once I got cell reception I had tons of messages from Wired, and Balls.  Sunshine got ill so they were in town.  Too bad I didn’t have reception with AT&T or I could have picked them up.  BUT I really enjoyed visiting them at the hotel and feeding them!  Sunshine seemed totally recovered.  I can’t believe how tall she is now.  She just turned 13 and will be the youngest Triple Crowner by far when they (which I have NO doubt) complete the CDT (probably in record time)!  Beacon and Rambler were there too and we all had a nice time catching up on all things Hikertrash.

Wired was flying thru the trail, and lured by my lemonade and Chocolate milk temptation was headed into the lava field to where I had been camped.  I went back to the TH and gave her some snacks and the Choc. milk which apparently is “Wired crack”, she will do pretty much anything for it!  I figured she would want to walk the 3.5 miles to where I would set up camp (again) and it gave me time to set it up while she walked.  It was nice to do magic for a friend. I set up my Contrail for her, as I know she misses that tent and the new lighter tent is more of a bear to pitch.  Me and Sammy had been sleeping in the bed of the truck.

We sat around with lemonade and my pulled-chicken quesedillas. In the morning she went off for her easy 18 mile road walk into town for her first Zero day, and i went to pick up Balls and Sunshine and take them back to the trailhead.

It’s funny- there are 3 or 4 different CDT routes in the area, many choices.

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