Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Diablo Canyon

Lately, Sundays have been dedicated to hiking in the Morello house over the past few weeks.  I love planning a day a week to be spent outside surrounded by nature, not to mention Santa Fe is known for amazing weather and gorgeous blue skies.

Last Sunday we tried a new trial, Diablo (Devil) Canyon.  According to one of my co-workers it is called this because at certain times of the day when the sun hits you can see a shadow in the shape of the devil.  I don't know if I believe him, I think it is named this because it is hotter than hell in the canyon.  I got sunburned in the middle of September!

Diablo Canyon is considered a section of the Caja del Rio, a part of the Santa Fe National Forest.  We saw a group of horseback riders, rock climbers, a few hikers and tire marks from off-roaders. (Of course Andy wants to take the Jeep down here now!)  There are many trails we came across, but we wanted our destination to be the Rio Grande.  It only took us about 3.5 miles to get there and the dogs loved it.  Tikka even went in to her belly all by herself.  We are hoping she starts liking water more since Andy wants to train her to be his sidekick while hunting next season.

This trail was extremely scenic and pretty simple.  We had to stop more for the dogs this time since it was so hot.  I think that we probably should have waited until next month to experience this hike, but nonetheless it was very enjoyable.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Nambe Lake (aka the hardest F@!$#&G hike EVER)

Last weekend Andy and I hiked the hardest hike thus far, Nambe Lake.  At nearly 11,500 feet, this trail and I have a love/hate relationship.  I knew it was going to be long, but after talking to my Santa Fe friend (who I now think is a robot created from the world's greatest athlete) I thought I could do it, no problem.  Think again, Sandy ... think again!  

This hike is approximately seven miles round trip from the Santa Fe ski basin.  Within the first 30  minutes I was winded and thought How in the hell am I going to complete six in a half more miles of this?  The beginning few miles where slightly uphill with a few switchbacks, but once that ended the trail became pretty even and flat/downhill for awhile.

Once I was comfortable and kept a pretty good pace I was brought to waaaaayyyyy steeper gradients than before.  At this point, I joked to Andy about how there is NO WAY I'm going up there and voiced my opinion of the author of Day Hikes in the Santa Fe Area, the book we use for each hike.  In the Nambe Lake chapter the author explains that there are a few challenging areas, but overall the hike is moderate.  I just have to say that this man must hike every single freakin' day of his life for this trail to be marked as medium.  Moderate my ass!  I told Andy I am going to write a hiking book called Hiking for the Out of Shape, Asthmatic, and Acrophobic

I digress, these couple sections were nonstop, uphill climbs that didn't still well with my empty stomach.  (Note to self - Don't worry about your calorie counting diet before a hike. You will burn more calories than you will eat that day!!)  Andy and the dogs were probably a mile ahead of me during the whole trail, but I was determined to finish even if that meant having to stop every four steps.  I am happy I kept going, because this is where the beauty of Santa Fe truly shined.  I was impressed with all the color, the green.  And then when I turned around I saw the below.  Absolutely breathtaking!

Finally, after 3 hours we made it to the lake and rested for about an hour.  Andy complimented me over and over, he couldn't believe I completed the hike, it was even hard for him!  Once we headed down to return to our car we noticed poor Kimber was extremely tired and her hips were failing.  Since we were mostly going downhill, I thought it wouldn't take us 3 hours to get back to the car, but in fact it did due to Andy having to carry poor Kim.  When we had maybe 30 minutes to go I noticed a small opening to the left of us that led to the road to the parking lot we used.  Andy decided it would be easier for him to get the car and meet us on the side of the road.  He did and Kimber immediately feel asleep in the backseat.  Poor girl! 

Kimber using Dad's backpack as a pillow - SOO Sleepy!!

Side Note - If I saw other patrons carry their dog on a hiking trail I would immediately ask if they needed help and end my hike to do so.  Not one person asked if we needed help, some didn't even acknowledge that fact that my husband was carrying a 65lb lab!  Again, I digress.

Driving back home I calculated my calories, I burn almost 3,200 calories!  I only saw fit to treat myself to the best green chile cheese burger in Santa Fe at Blake's LotaBurger. Delicious and so worth it!!

This trail was extremely difficult, but I always think back to last year during my first hikes and how at this time last year I would never have even considered a 7+ mile hike, uphill nonetheless.  I am getting better and better and have learned that going slow does not matter, getting to the destination or goal is what does.