On a Ryan Ross trip to the Pecos Wilderness in New Mexico, we spent the first night at a beautiful campground on a canyon-rim point, above the confluence of the Rio Grande and the Red River. It was a beautiful clear night among the ancient pinon pine trees and junipers. The next day we took a shuttle from Taos into the mountains to our starting point for a three day backpack into the wilderness. We immediately lost our way and had to take on a way-finding bushwhack to find the trail. This put us behind schedule and we had to camp in a less than ideal location in an alluvial forest at the bottom of the canyon of Quemado Creek. The next day we climbed out of the canyon to the beautiful, large Quemado Falls and then into the alpine basin above. We found that the pass we needed to reach was at the top of a 500 foot wall with a crude, steep trail of switchbacks over loose rocks and gravel. From the top, we could see our destination, the Truchas Lakes below, but the descent was also steep and over loose scree. Our camp at the lakes was lovely with views of the lakes, the peaks above, and the vast landscape to the east. The lakes became colorful mirrors in the evening light.
The third day we climbed back over the ridge on a much more gentle trail and to our second pass which consisted of a wide alpine meadow. That day we hiked thirteen miles back to trailhead down the Rio Medio creek. This hike actually included some up and down sections with climbs to points high above the creek. We were at a much lower elevation for much of the hike, in Ponderosa Pine forests, and the hike was hot. At the end, we had to gain 500 feet of elevation climbing out of the canyon.