Holes & Mountains

We don’t treat them as fragile. It’s ok to push them (within reason) for the sake of a new experience.

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Beautiful day for hiking; Mt. Taylor.

We left Tucumcari, and paid a visit to Santa Rosa, NM, before setting up at the KOA in Bernalillo. For those that don’t know, Santa Rosa is the home of “Blue Hole”, an 80 foot deep body of water with an underground water source. It is 62F all year. When the high temperature is 100+F, that’s really great. Plus, you get to jump in from a cliff from a height of 12-15 feet above the water.

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She made the jump!

Andrew tired himself out after a dozen plus jumps into the water. Sonia overcame her fear of heights and made the jump as well. Allison, who also is afraid of heights, elected not to jump. I told her I’d do a backflip into the water, but she said “I don’t want you to get hurt.” Maybe the combination of concern for her father and her strong sense of self preservation was the wrong way to try to encourage her to test herself. Regardless, a great time was had by all.

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Today we tackled Mt. Taylor (outside of Grant’s NM), a 6.4 mile round-trip hike, starting at 9,300 feet and ending at 11,300. It’s hard to call anything a must-do, but if you like something a bit away from the usual haunts, I’d say this fits the bill. It was visually stunning, the trail is well marked, and you get some spectacular views.

This was the first hike where we saw cattle above 10,000 feet. It was as though the cows were annoyed by our presence, as though we were trespassing. Our kids love a good bad-pun, so we killed time with the following: “This could be an udderly catastrophic hike.” “I’d say that I’ll stop these jokes, but that would be a bunch of bull.” “I might as well milk these jokes for as long as I can.” There were plenty of worse jokes. Anything to kill time on the hike.

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The crew put in a good showing. Allison didn’t make the summit; she stopped a half mile short because she was pooped (actually, mild altitude sickness.) Sonia and Andrew made the summit while I stayed with her. The three then started to descend while I made the peak. By the time I caught up with them about a mile from the peak, she was feeling much better.

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From the top of Mt. Taylor.

Some people are surprised at some of the hikes our children attempt. They are very active and are enterprising in their own way. We don’t treat them as fragile. It’s ok to push them (within reason) for the sake of a new experience. They are generally up for a good challenge, and I think they enjoy the opportunities presented to them.

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Our kids are not perfect, but they do many things right. One thing they do particularly well is that they are very supportive of each other. Andrew was double and triple checking on Allison the whole way down the trail.

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On the Gooseberry Spring Trail.

We have a visit to Tent Rocks National Monument scheduled in two days. Tomorrow is for recovery, save a trail run for me. We’re reading a lot of books, and generally just enjoying the Southwest. And the view from the campground at sunset isn’t shabby either.

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Sunset on the Sandias.

Author: Jason Kesselring

I am a 40 year old pediatrician on sabbatical, happily married, and a father of two wonderful children. I fell out of the Ugly Tree, and hit every branch on the way down.

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