Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Scooter Peak

Today's Wednesday Irregulars hike was Scooter Peak, via Coyote Call Trail. Must say that lower Scooter Peak Road is in decent enough condition and there's even evidence that someone cuts away fallen trees from the road. The area was burnt during the 2011 Las Conchas wildfire. On the upper road, though, it has mostly become a morass of burnt, fallen trees. You can always tell where the road is by looking for dead trees slung across the road and supported at their ends by the road edges.

At one point on the way up, the deadfall became so dreadful that the leader tried to find an easier way around. When I noticed we were no longer following the old road, I decided to separate from the group, informing the leader thusly.  I headed southward toward the live trees, carefully clambering over deadfall and got to where the road breaks out into the lower meadow. At the meadow, I  slowly worked my way diagonally through the partially burnt and rock strewn woods to the upper meadow and Scooter Peak. It helped that a hiker wearing a yellow shirt stood on top like a trail sign!

I can't say I have ever mastered exactly how to get to Scooter Peak except take it on faith that if I go sort of eastward through the woods, I'm going to get to the upper meadow and then, if I muddle about to what looks like a relatively "high" point, I'm going to get to the Scooter Peak benchmark. It's not a strategy that builds confidence so I don't lead this hike!

At Scooter's rounded, barely perceptible "peak", the group, who had worked their way out of the deadfall and traversed the meadows, sat down for lunch. I stood and admired the views through the burnt trees but I determined to forgo lunch and start back down alone. Pivotal to my decision was that the skies toward Los Alamos looked like Armageddon. The way down is a bit challenging because of all the deadfall and to be caught in a thunderstorm would make it even more so.  Even so, I didn't hurry but stopped often to look around. Also, I stubbornly followed the old road down, stepping over sections of truly awful deadfall on the upper part. I love the old road and do not wish to hand it back to Mother Nature just yet!

As I finally meandered in sight of the trail back, I could hear the hikers coming down the Scooter Peak road. It turned out that, in view of the darkening skies and thunder rumbles, they abbreviated their lunch. Despite the threatening skies, we all made it back to the cars and no rain fell on us. I'm really grateful the group hiked there today. I've wanted so much to go there but did not want to do it completely on my own!

Redondo and clouds, from lower meadow, on way back down.

From Scooter Peak Road, looking across at small meadow in sunlight on Rabbit Ridge.

Looking down on Alamo Boundary Trail area, below Rabbit Ridge, from Scooter Peak Road.