At 13,159 feet elevation, Wheeler Peak (just north of the city of Taos) is the tallest natural point in the state of New Mexico.
When I found out I would be vacationing just miles away, I knew that mountain was mine. (Not to mention, hiking in New Mexico is an absolute dream!)
Having lived my whole life at the DFW elevation of about 600, I did not anticipate this journey to be an easy one.
But given this wasn't my first climb, I had hope my body could handle what this hike had to offer.
I found out my body could handle it... but only barely!
The climb to Wheeler Peak was one that was both physically and mentally challenging. The nearly 50-pound pack on my back didn't make the trek any easier!
Besides the many amazing hikers I met along the way, I was alone.
I started on the trail shortly before sunrise in near-freezing temperatures and I had to make sure my trip (up and down) was completed before the afternoon monsoon thunderstorms created a danger-zone for the hikers on the mountain.
This is just one of many breathtaking stops on the trail. The small lake tucked away in a sea of trees and rock is a creation of nature that leaves you stunned. I had my breakfast on a small patch of grass that overlooked the water.
Up the Mountain
William's Lake is the break in the trail where many hikers decide one of two things. To back down or go all the way to the top.
With my trekking poles in hand, I started up the steep mountain all over again.
A steep hike on solid ground is one thing... a steep hike on giant loose rock is another!
Miles of the trail involved slipping and sliding on what I dubbed "super-size gravel."
If you make it to this part of the trail, you're closer to the peak than you are the trailhead - but I had to highly consider whether or not I had the physical capacity to pull my body up this mountain under these conditions.
The number one question I was asked following my hike: "was the view the best part?!"
My answer is always, "no."
Don't get me wrong, the view from the top of Wheeler Peak was remarkable. But knowing that I used my two feet to get to that place of pure beauty was an indescribable high of its own.
To those who've have come before you... and those who will follow.
My signature joined hundreds of other names who are saved in a canon at the top of the Mountain. A beautiful tribute.
A shower of love and support at the finish line! What more could a hiker ask for!? My awesome three aunts and adorable grandmother waited for my afternoon arrival at the start of the trail!