Monday, January 30, 2012

Hiking the Dale Ball Trails.

Yesterday, I finally got out of my apartment and went out to the Dale Ball Trails to do some light hiking. The trails are only a few miles outside downtown Santa Fe and right inside the city limits, so they're really convenient for a quick weekend hike. (I know they're in the city limits because I saw the "End of City Limit" sign about half a mile after I missed my turn. Oops.)

I decided to start light with a loop a little over two miles. I knew it would be a good hike when I got this view only three minutes in:

I saw nine other people on the trail during my hike, so it was pleasantly private while providing reasonable assurance that someone would find me if I fell and sprained my ankle trying to hike sections like this:

Those icy patches would pop up every now and then on the shadier parts of the trail. When possible, I plodded along in the snow off to the side rather than walk directly on the icy path, but the angle of the hill sometimes made that just as unsteady. It was also interesting to see the difference between the sunny and shady parts of the trail. At times, it looked and smelled like summer (dry, dusty, etc.), but then I would find myself picking carefully over 30 feet of solid ice. In fact, at one point I turned to the left and saw the end of winter ...

... and then I turned to the right and saw spring.

Overall, it was a good hike! I probably won't do the north side of the hill again until the snow melts, but there are over 20 miles of trail to explore at Dale Ball. It took me less than an hour to do the 2.11 miles yesterday even while going painfully slow around the icy patches, so I'm definitely planning to work my way up to some longer hikes soon.

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