The last remnants of snow finally melting away

The frozen precipitation started in early October and only the past week have we finally seen unfrozen precipitation for the first time in 2010. Even when it was raining in Taos, our chalet, nestled at about 8400 feet in the Sangre de Cristos, was always above the snow line.

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But this is anything but a complaint; I enjoyed this harsh winter on the mountain thoroughly. Gathering and splitting our own wood for the wood stove was great exercise. Having to stock up on groceries, or paying careful attention for any window of opportunity to get the propane or septic service trucks up the mountain: these are very small prices to pay for the experiences we gained.

An Intro to Snowshoeing

In particular, we have grown fond of snowshoeing. Our neighbor, who has been incredible helpful more times than I care to mention, introduced us to the idea, and since we have miles of wilderness accessible immediately behind our house, we decided to take it up.

We've started with some used shoes from a local ski shop in Taos that we got at a very reasonable price. Not the best in the world, but after a dozen or so outings, they have ben more than adequate. I'll probably invest in some higher-quality shoes next season, along with some cross-country ski equipment.

…our chalet, nestled at about 8400 feet in the Sangre de Cristos, was always above the snow line.

A Frozen Waterfall

By late March, slowly melting run-off water had carved a cavern down the center of the frozen falls. Here a wind gust blows a fresh dusting of snow off the top of the rocks as the sun helps pick up the pace of the run-off.

Our favorite destination, whether hiking in the summer or snowshoeing in the winter, is El Salto Falls. This series of seven or more water falls with caves behind them are a sacred place to many TaoseƱos, but their magic is especially apparent in the depths of winter. El Salto was apparently the inspiration for the name of the entire mountain chain it is a part of in Northern New Mexico, the Sangre de Christo, or "Blood of Christ" range. I can attest that the sunsets in the area definitely cast a red glow on the rocks of the mountain that towers behind our home. Some even believe that El Salto is involved in the mysterious Taos Hum.

You can see all of the photos I've posted of the falls here. We have yet to experience the full power of the falls in spring time, but I'm sure I'll have photos and stories on that soon.