I wake up to the rising sun shining out of the window of the hotel room in the Taos Ski Valley. I get out of bed and stretch thinking about of the exciting day ahead. I have been in New Mexico for about a week now and this will be one of the high peaks that I will hike during that week and the next week to come. Mount Wheeler is the mountain I shall climb today, I thought to myself. A peak that is 13,161 feet high, one of the highest that I will climb during my awesome trip to New Mexico and Colorado
I eat breakfast quickly and gulp down a cranberry emergen-C energy drink. I talk to my parents about what route we will be taking, from which side of the mountain, and what time we need to be at the peak. My parents tell me that we should be at the summit no later than noon because thunderstorms occur frequently when the sun is highest in the sky and fading. My parents also tell me that we will be coming up from the Williams Lake trail and taking the steeper but shorter way up. Then we will go down to the Bull-of-the-Woods back to our car and hotel. So that is how my day came to a start.
On the Trail
We set off into the cold morning with a light pack. At the first part of this amazing hike I was very interested in an area where an avalanche struck. The trees were wiped out and only stumps with many wild flowers and grass remained. This is the first time I saw something like this since it was also my first time in the Rocky Mountains. The trail curled its way through the dense spruce woods on the chilly morning. We had finally reached the lake and took a short break there. Along the way to Williams Lake I encountered all sorts of wildlife including deer and groundhogs. I loved being out here in the mossy and spruce-filled forests with steep hills and scattered boulders!
To the Summit
From Williams lake there was quite a steep hike to the summit. Still with some trees and more dirt and rock then a forest floor, we started the steep hike towards the summit. The trees began to thin out and the steep grassy peak of Mount Wheeler began to appear. I was amazed by the beautiful scenery. There were huge snowfields with alpine flowers and grasses abound. Many fuzzy little groundhogs scavenges the hills in search of some grubs or foliage to eat. In the distance mountain goats were visible, some of them outlined against the brilliant blue sky. I trudged on to find my very first large snowfield. It really amazed me how it could with stand the blazing sun and all the summer days. My parents spent there time in that area to take yet another break while my brother and me decided to build our first summer snowman!
I finally reached the peak from hiking the steep mountain. I was quite exhausted but great rewards awaited me at the summit. There was a friendly dog, which on the picture seemed very serious but that was only for a moment. Apart from petting this hikers companion I enjoyed a sandwich and Gatorade. This would be our main stop so it was good that I filled up pretty well. My parents, both proud of reaching a pretty high elevated peak let us have a break for a longer time so we could enjoy the beautiful view of the mountains surrounding Mount Wheeler.
We finally started descending down to the Bull-of-the-Woods trail down to our car and hotel. I really enjoyed this hike. It was a beautiful mountain, extremely grassy and flower-filled. With many great sites along with the plentiful wildlife. There was a huge storm cloud growing just as my dad, Tomasz, had predicted. We had to hurry some more as if the not get caught in a violent rainy storm with lighting thrashing the summits. During the descend there were still deep patches of snow in the more shaded areas. This is a hike that I shall probably never forget, it is one of the greatest mountains I have hiked so far.