Originally I planned to write this blog when we started our trip (end of November), but clearly time has gotten the best of me.
We have been on the road for a few days now (just pretend today is Nov 26, I will catch up with real time eventually). Our original plan was to head to Taos Ski Valley, but we decided with the busy opening weekend and no need to hurry we would start in Jemez Springs instead.
Friday, we had a later start than anticipated and even more stuff to pack the van with. Somehow we are going to have to cull a lot of stuff if we are truly going to have a functional van and living space. Not only are we hauling all our personal items; clothes, outdoor equipment, hygiene stuff; we are also taking tools and some wood to do any on the road modifications to the van. I personally have a feeling that the van will always be a work in progress.
On our way up to Jemez we took a more scenic route, through the Gilman tunnels. It was dark at that point so the photos of the van in the tunnels didn’t turn out so great. After some mild freak outs by me, worrying about our 4×4 van handling the snow (it was a beast, I really had nothing to worry about) and having no idea where we were (of course Eric knew where we were). We finally arrived at, what seemed to be, the only open campsite in Jemez. At some point during the drive we were surprised by either some very large deer with giant antlers or some elk, still no idea which. That night we tried out our heater for the first time all night, it worked like a charm.
Saturday, we went rock climbing at a popular spot in the Jemez, and let the dogs run around. We continued through the Sandia National Labs to Los Alamos then on to White Rock. We camped at an overlook in White Rock and woke up early the next day to see the sunrise. Sadly, it wasn’t one of those technicolor ones, just your usual blindingly bright sun.
We thought about, and attempted, a decent from the overlook to some climbing areas in White Rock, but it was 40F and was only going to be colder down at the climbs. We decided White Rock climbing was best to be left for another adventure, on a much warmer day.
From White Rock we were finally headed to Taos. During the drive we were greeted on the road by some mountain goats, that were quite the traffic stoppers. Did some grocery shopping in the city of Taos before heading up the mountain. It was a good thing we got to the Ski Valley on Sunday before the season pass office closed because Taos is not set up for REF scanning. So we had to register our Ikon passes and get some regular paper passes.
Taos must get a lot of RV’s because they have overnight parking at the resort area. I was expecting Taos Ski Valley to be on par with someplace like Mammoth, but the actual ski valley and resort area is pretty small. Since, the temperatures Sunday night were going to get to 0F at night the heater was definitely being used and kept on throughout the night. Once again it did not fail us, although we did learn the very important lesson of ventilation.
Monday morning we woke up to very frosted windows….on the inside of the van. That was a fun experience trying to soak up all the water before it went all over the inside of the van. Eventually we ate and broke out our skis to start our day on the mountain. Which didn’t last very long, simply because they have a grand total of 1 chair lift open. We had skied everywhere we could by noon. We decided to try out our premium ski set up for a few runs, needless to say our new boots really need some breaking in.
Our day ended pretty early on the slopes so we headed further up the mountain to check out a trail head that goes to a lake. Took the dogs with us and they were loving running around the snow, Asher even pulled Eric down a trail like a mush dog. Tomorrow we will be doing some cross-country skiing with our new ski skins. Then we are headed to Colorado, or at least that’s the plan for now.