After waking up on the side of the road, we headed towards Ruidoso, New Mexico. I had never heard of this town before, but apparently it’s a pretty popular ski town… and the name is fun to say… Rooeydohso.
Our plan was to hike up to Lookout Mountain where we would camp for the night.
We drove to the trailhead which was located in Ski Apache. The trail started off decently steep and wound through a forest that had been affected by a fire not that long ago. Lots of downed trees meant lots of obstacles to cross over and under on the trail.
We passed an Elk who had seen better days…
At one point the trail just disappeared, and we couldn’t find it again. Between the wildlife tearing up the trails and the regrowth from the fire, we were lost at where to find the trail again. We spotted a service road off in the distance and decided to hop on that to see where it led to, instead of just turning around and giving up altogether. As we were walking up the service road we passed two hikers who looked like they knew what they were doing. We asked them how to get back on the Crest Trail and one of them gave us directions that sort of went like this: keep going, go under the orange tape stretched across the road, walk diagonally ‘this’ way and you will see the trail again. The other guy asked where we were camping, and then gave us directions to a supposedly better, secluded summit. Those awesome guys definitely gave us some trail magic and restored our hope that we would make it to the top after all.
After a few – I hope we’re going the right way-‘s, we made it to the summit at 11,500 feet elevation… And then realized just how much trail magic those guys gave us. We stood in silence, just observing, completely speechless. What we were witnessing was absolutely otherworldly.
We found a flat spot and set up the tent, deciding that it was too cold and too windy to go rainfly-less that night.
We were a bit unprepared, clothing-wise, for the temperature and the wind. But neither of us minded being uncomfortable in exchange for sleeping on top of a mountain at 11,500 feet.
In the morning, we had coffee with the best view and then took our time packing up as we looked back at our enchanting view every few seconds just to soak it all up.
Knowing that was our last real adventure for this trip, we begrudgingly left our summit to hike back down. The trail disappeared again, as we knew it would eventually. We looked around for about 45 minutes for the trail again until we finally found it!
We had skipped breakfast, so as soon as we got to the car, after 3 hours of hiking, we dropped our packs, sat on the ground, leaned against the car and tore into our tuna packets!
That night we stayed in a hotel and showered for the first time in 3 days, which felt glorious! In the morning, the post-adventure blues started to kick in as I headed back home.