Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Sacramento Mountains, NM Part 1

Wow, it's November! We've not written for a while because we took a trip to New Mexico to celebrate with our friends in their marriage and it always seems to take a while to get back in the swing of things on the home front. We so enjoyed our time with our friends and feel so lucky to know them!

All their incredible handmade decorations (made by them!) made this quite a wedding and celebration to experience.

We planned for a long enough time in New Mexico that we could get into the beautiful Sacramento Mountains and explore their montane grasslands. The Sacramentos are in the southern part of the state just east of Alamogordo. We spent our first night at the Three Rivers Forest Service campground with great views and a perfect place to regroup for the days ahead in the backcountry.

Here's your two happy bloggers excited to get out into the White Mountain Wilderness. We started around 6500' and worked our way into the higher elevations via the Three Rivers trail.

Asters lined the trail - pleasing us two flower lovers.

We followed an incredibly clear trout-supporting stream up the canyon and enjoyed some nice breaks on the rocks.

Sunshine and rain visited us on our climb up and during the cool periods butterflies waited for more warmth to move off the path allowing us time to study them. This is a Milbert's Tortoiseshell.

The Sacramento Mountains are known for their montane grasslands due to the incredible moisture present in this range. Ruidoso and Cloudcroft are nearby, two popular ski spots thanks to all the white powder that falls in winter.

Colorful fall foliage greeted us at every twist and turn of the canyon.

We really felt the climb in elevation, our lungs used to our low elevation Ohio home, but we felt so happy to be back on the trail finding time for us, nature and the power of our own two feet!

We saw this little azure butterfly hunkered down waiting for some warming sun. Is this a spring azure? We were at a higher elevation allowing for its late flying time, but still - into late October? According to Glassberg's Butterfly Through Binoculars, The West, Summer azures don't occur as far west as the Sacramentos. Hmmm.

Clear water cascading over bedrock:

Intriguing wildflowers:

Rain fell more heavily midday so we took a break under some pondersosa pines and waited it out. Thanks to Ray Jardine's Trail Life: Lightweight Backpacking book, we've taken to backpacking with umbrellas and we are fans. We still have weight to shave off from our packs, but we are getting there!

We used the Three Rivers trail to hike us about 6 miles up to the Crest Trail, which we explored over the next few days. At the end of this challenging hike up with inclement weather, we were grateful for the peaks rising around us....

The aspens we passed on the way up...

and a campspot available at just the right moment so we could eat, get warmed up and snuggle into our tent before the skies opened up and poured rain for most of the night.


  1. Awesome so glad you guys got a marvelous hike in before the cold comes to chase us indoors! So you take the umbrella instead of a poncho or rain coat? Its hard backpacking in rain, seems nothing would ever dry out...all my under wear smelled like wood smoke where I tired to dry them by our campfires..lol I did eventually get a pack cover that helped to shed rain...

    1. Hey Sondra! We still had ponchos on this trip. We will see what we do next. The poncho is great because it covers us and our packs!


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