March 29, 2014

Up pretty early, I wished to have some diet soda. The motel vending machine was out, so I had to get regular soda, some 240 calories. When the fast food eatery was open, I went to get more drink and food. From the past, I knew that there were good trail hikes and summits, to bag, however smaller than the nearby Humphreys Peak. I have already done that 2X, so drove in the dark to check the trailhead for the Elden Lookout Trail. It was there as the computer maps said, but you have to be careful about that! Going back to my motel, I decided to wait a bit before starting my climb.

There was wind. I drove back to the trailhead, with a few more cars, there, then. Preparing my gear, I started up the trail. It was signed well. I had to stop for a rest, using my bottle, and never then polluted ever on this trip. This was the only longer hike. There were other users, and the signs’ distances seemed wrong or inaccurate. I asked others about the trail, and got answers that I was on the right one. Taking lots of photos of the trail ahead, and the developing views, I gained altitude. A faster hiker with a cap emblazoned, “Mountain Rescue,” caught up with me and we chatted for a bit. I let him by to take more stops for photos, and then some other hiker came on down. Both characters who stated to use this trail a lot.

Coming then to the ridge saddle, with a signed trail junction, I rested, and did more video. It stated to be only “0.2” mile to the top. So, after encountering a slight bit of old snow on the trail, I bagged the peak. Signs warned of radiation hazard, but there was no fence surrounding the highest point, a rock by the lookout tower. The antenna farm on top is seen from much of the town, so I knew the view would be good.

I tried for a 360 and panoramas, then my summit twirls. Down a bit from the toprock is a benchmark, and more views. I hiked to the ascending summit road, by which mountain bikers come up. Taking photos of the slightly better view of the town, I shortly went back to the trail, and hiked back down.

On my descent, many hikers were now coming up. No shortage of plump females. Very little with good gear, mainly a water bottle and belt packs, some clad in lycra or what. I had started with three layers, and stripped down to a medium jacket. With the wind, I felt sorry from the discomfort that these hikers might encounter on reaching higher elevations. Like hikers in the Sierra from Los Angeles, I figured some of them were from Phoenix. The low here this morning was 21 degrees. None of these lightweight equipped hikers would survive such a night. There were also dogs, one running loose, but then leashed as I came along. Well behaved enough, none growling or aggressive.

Back then early to the overflowing parking area, I headed back to my motel. Resting then, I lay in bed, having done the most gain and miles for a few months. Up again, I motored over to the restaurant for more food. The thought entered my head to come back by bus, as I saw a major line stopping here. It looks like you can then take local transit to about the trailhead, so, like Lone Mountain and the Pack Trail by Las Vegas, I can climb Elden Lookout by mass transit.

My stick shift was a bit tight, now, so I had worries about my car breaking down. I checked websites for a luxury hotel stay in Vegas, come Monday, but with the 48 hour cancellation notice requirement or then forfeiting the big deposit, then some terms and conditions, I declined. I had the thought of another list, the major hotels on the Strip, to lodge for at least a night, with scanned and e-mailed receipts for proof, as another “emblem” type goal for old peak baggers. Though no one that I know would stay, even paid for!

Going to bed early, there’s nothing like a road trip to sync with the sun, rising with the dawn, and sleeping with the dusk.

2014 New Mexico Road Trip Home, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 1, 2, Movies