Hamilton Mesa, La Luz and Aspen Vista - Tom Liles

Here are a few images from our three June 2019 hikes.  The weather in New Mexico has been drying up and heating up so hiking in the high country is the way to cool off!

The Hamilton Mesa hike was a New Mexico Mountain Club event with the goal of early season wildflowers.  The top of the "mesa" is wide expanses of open alpine meadows.  We did not see a lot of variety but some areas were covered with flowers.  The trail is a moderate route in the Pecos Wilderness northeast of Santa Fe.  Hike statistics:  8,800 to 10,100 in elevation for a total vertical of 2,000 with ups and downs, 11.5 miles round trip.

The La Luz Trail is the premier trail in our local Sandia Mountains.  We utilize this route for training purposes due to the large elevation gain required.  A lot of vertical but longer so not as steep.  We park at the bottom of the Sandia Tram, walk across the base of the mountains, then up the La Luz.  This allows us to come down on the tram, saving our knees from that long descent.

There were quite a few wildflowers, though not nearly as many as on Hamilton Mesa (the Sandias are much drier).  The Prickly Pear cactus blooms are beautiful.  Hike statistics:  6,500 to 10,300 in elevation for a total vertical of 4,300 with ups and downs, 9.5 miles one way.

The Aspen Vista road is Forest Road 150 in the mountains Northeast of Santa Fe.  No colorful Aspen in June but lots of green vegetation and flowers, though not as profuse as on Hamilton Mesa a couple of weeks ago.  A bazillion caterpillars all over the place at the lower elevations.  2,000+ feet of vertical with a gradual gradient and easy footing.  We started around 10,000 feet and went up to 12,026 feet on Tesuque Peak at the top of the Santa Fe ski area.  Round trip about 12 miles.

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