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Filed under: Family Camping, Nature & Wildlife, Outdoor Recreation & Hiking

A Winter Climb to William’s Lake–Part 2: Snowshoe Issues

March 31, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Downhill ski run near the trail

Downhill ski run near the trail

In my last post (published March 24th), I had begun talking about a snowshoe hike we had taken on a beautiful late winter day up in the Taos Ski Valley. We were snowshoeing the William’s Lake Trail in sunny 60 degree temperatures with a trail depth of 69 inches.

In spite of the wonderful “bluebird” conditions, I did have several issues with the new snowshoes I was wearing that I will discuss in some detail in a later post. Suffice it to say, they are bigger, both longer and wider than the snowshoes I have been wearing for ten years or more, which meant that I had to lift my feet up higher than I am accustomed to, especially since they are also heavier than my favorites and I tripped myself up more than a dozen times. As you can imagine, this did wonders for my disposition!

Rock fields, winter

Rock fields, winter

Rock fields, summer

Rock fields, summer

But it was difficult to stay upset on such a lovely day. And, never having hiked this trail in the winter, we were constantly amazed at how the identical trail takes on a completely different appearance under a blanket of snow. The craggy rock fields we pass in the summer and upon which we climbed to take pictures were now covered in snow. Rather than jagged rocks deposited by the most recent glacier to traverse the area, they rather resembled soft, fluffy white pillows, quite a change from their summer appearance.

William's Lake, winter

William’s Lake, winter

And Williams Lake, the small glaciated lake that is the subject of the trail and the point of the hike, surrounded by majestic Rocky Mountain peaks enjoyed a different appearance in winter as well. Rather than the small lake it was, it appeared to be a snow covered meadow, the water undetectable under the blanket of snow.

William's Lake, summer

William’s Lake, summer

There were a number of other hearty souls we encountered on the trail as well. One young woman was wearing downhill skis but had hiked up the same trail we did. She had “skins” on the bottom of her skis which enabled her to hike in them; a perfect way to enjoy more quiet vistas than you normally find on a busy ski hill.

On the way down we encountered a couple hiking up, pulling a plastic sled in which their two young children lay fast asleep. As the first half of the hike is just about all uphill, I was exhausted just watching them pull that weight. Terry and I wondered what would happen when they turned around to head down and the sled began to pick up speed. Hopefully the children will be awake and able to walk for that part of the trip.

Taos Ski Valley, RV parkingAnd lest you wonder what this post has to do with RVing, let me remind you that if you are up in the Taos Ski Valley taking advantage of their natural beauty or their services, you have a special place in their hearts…and their parking lot! Many visitors, both winter and summer, coming to the ski valley do so in the comfort of their RVs which enjoy a special location in the large parking area. So, no matter the season, whether you want to ski, snowshoe, hike or camp, come on down…they have plenty of room!

Read more about New Mexico campgrounds and things to do in New Mexico.


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