The August morning in the shaded Carson National Forest was at bit brisk at the start of our hike toward Lobo Peak. The Columbine Canyon Trail followed the Columbine Creek, complete with a delightful waterfall, beneath the pines as it gradually climbed from 7,800 feet to 8,400 over a 4 mile stretch before it led us an open meadow home to several chipmunks.
After resting on a fallen tree for a few minutes, we followed some cairns to a trail that led us toward Lobo Peak. Over the next 3.5 miles the terrain turned from flat to steep, with multiple switchbacks traversing the mountain to control the grade, as the trail gained 3,000 feet to a mountain top where we stopped for lunch. This climb definitely got our heart rates up! From the no-named peak, a few miles away from Lobo Peak, the Taos ski area came into view as well as scars that the Sangre de Cristo Mountain Range bears from gold mining blasts from a century ago.
At 11,800 feet we quickly cooled down and broke out the jackets before eventually backtracking to the trailhead, finishing the 15 mile hiking in 6.5 hours including our lunch break…fast! ETB