2/24/14: Sublime under the Ponderosa Pines

I lay tonight in my new Zpacks Hexamid Solo Plus tent, and am thoroughly enjoying several facts:

1. I saw Ponderosa Pine trees again today, which I madly adore, and am actually sleeping ringed by them
2. It was relatively easy to pitch the new tent, heaven knows I hate fiddling, and it has TONS of space
3. I am warm and toasty with considerably less wind tonight

Ahhhhh……

Today began with both a lovely sunrise and chasing my belongings being blown all over by high winds. Eh, gotta take the good with the bad! The descent off of Guadalupe Peak was stunning, and we soon arrived back at the trailhead to resupply water (no natural sources here), use indoor plumbing, and generally snack like we hadn’t eaten breakfast. Nancy and Neal happened to be there, about to set off on a day hike, and so we totally lucked out with fresh oranges and various salty snacks, truly appreciated since sweat and the unrelenting sun tend to go together here! Awesome trail magic indeed. 🙂

On the climb out of the valley (another near 3000 ft climb) I couldn’t keep from repeating how well the trail was constructed – truly remarkable. Still definitely acclimating as at about 7000 feet I did the same game as yesterday of stopping quite often. It did seem to be better today though. Topping out on the ridge, I was astounded to find myself in a different world of pine and other trees instead of cacti, and gently rolling hills instead of steady switchbacks. Joan and I are camping at the Tejas campsite tonight in a lovely valley between ridges. We arrived mid afternoon and had a restful remainder of the day. What a life. We saw a total of 2 other hikers after the trailhead, a lovely couple from Vancouver who grinned at our umbrellas and chatted with us for a few minutes. Tomorrow we will head back to the Visitors Center and meet back up with Joan’s parents – and off to the next stop on the Southwest Tour!

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