With a perfect fall weather forecast, Bill and I cruised up to Taos Ski Valley to hike 12,711' Gold Hill, the 14th highest peak in New Mexico. Snow from an 18" snowfall a week ago still lingered on the slopes of the ski area
We'd make a loop out of it by hiking up to Bull of the Woods Pasture to the Gold Hill trail. From the summit of Gold Hill we'd descend the fast and nice Long Canyon Trail.
Kachina Peak's snow base is well on its way
The aspen trees were quite bright up to about 10,500'. After that they were a bit past prime color.
It wasn't long before we encountered snow on the trail
Near Bull of the Woods we had a nice view back towards the ski area
Bull of the Woods Pasture and the yurt
The gray jays quickly surrounded us looking for hand-outs. Bill tricked this one offering a piece of pine cone. The bird was probably pissed.
The yurt. I stayed here one weekend many years ago with friends Erik and Mark
Rugged looking Lake Fork Peak
Almost looks like winter up there already
We hiked for miles in pretty wet snow. I let Bill break trail most of the way. In many spots the snow was easily a foot deep still.
Bill's a pretty solid navigator and got us to the intersection of Gold Hill Trail and Long Canyon Trail without incident. From here, only one mile to the summit
I was impressed with the size of the cornice forming already. Gold Hill's summit in the distance with Goose Lake below.
Bighorn sheep are all over these parts.
The herd on the run
Summit! It was a leisurely three hours covering six miles to the summit. With hardly any breeze on top, we snacked and relaxed for a bit. A crazy nice fall day.
Looking north to Colorado 14ers Ellingwood Point, Little Bear, Blanca and Mount Lindsey (L to R)
Bill means business
We ran down the Long Canyon Trail for four miles reaching the car in one hour from the summit. It was a sloppy but fun run. This is a colorful scene near the parking lot.