Sunday, May 04, 2008

Not Spring Yet in Valles Caldera National Preserve

A traveler on the trail with good friends. Good friends let you set the itinerary when you come from far away. So we drove up into the Jemez Mountains and had a small picnic (just the dessert) out in the Valle Grande. And then back to the car and down the highway to the trailhead on the East Fork of the Jemez River, and walked along the glittering river to a suitable spot to eat the rest of our lunch. Exactly what I wanted.
Trail into Valle Grande. Still snow in the woods. Elevation about 8700'.
Grass not green. No elk.

P. and I kept scanning for elk in the Valle. No elk. R. reminded us regularly that since there was nothing to graze on out here except last year's grass, the elk wouldn't be here yet. I suppose that's right. But they have to be somewhere nearby eating something, late-winter-early-spring or no.

Near the Las Conchas Trailhead, elevation about 8,400'

Beautiful sunny day. There were flocks of rock climbers out. I could sit and watch the river flicker by, and light beams dance on the undersides of the rock faces, forever.

East Fork of the Jemez River.

Back in Santa Fe: long conversations, supper out with M. and I., more long conversations. Perfect day.

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