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09.16.2012 ~ hiking wheeler peak, i

by | Sep 18, 2012 | landscape painting, new mexico landscapes, Taos, taos ski valley, wheeler peak, williams lake trail

hiking wheeler peak, i ~ by dawn chandler ~ oil on panel ~ 6 x 12 inches ~ copyright dawn chandler 2012

Was there a more perfect day than yesterday? I can’t imagine. 

Up before sunrise to tea and homemade breakfast burritos (made the night before and warmed while tea steeped). We owned the empty road from Santa Fe northward. Quick stop in Dixon to pick up our potter friend and be revitalized by a spot of green tea served in perfect ceramic vessels. Then on to Taos for coffee and a sweet roll at the counter of Michael’s Kitchen while we waited for the rest of our party coming in from Cimarron — nine members and friends of the Philmont Staff Association’s board of directors who had just finished their annual autumn meeting.

Bundling up with hats and mittens, we hit the Williams Lake trail just before 9:00 — later than planned, but still a respectable time. An hour later, after a break above the lake, we cut north on the new trail, eager to experience the relative ease and graduation of this new path. The weather was a perfection of mild temps, blue sky, and only a smattering of clouds — just enough to add interest to the vast expanse of blue over our heads. Though still steep, the new trail makes for a much more gradual, middle-aged-joint-friendly hike. The climb out of the trees is enchanting, as you then rise up into spacious alpine plains. By noon, with layers peeled, we high-fived on the summit of Wheeler Peak, our ascent celebrated at 13,161 ft. with the consumption and sharing of all manner of toothsome snacks.

An equally glorious descent, albeit with above-mentioned joints getting a bit cranky. Clouds painted the nearby ridges shades of purple-blue; in the distance flecks of gold just staring to appear in the green stands of aspens.

More high-fives on the sunny deck of the Bavarian, as we toasted ourselves and this perfect day with the consumption of fine German lager, hot pretzels and sweet mustard.

A long satisfied drive home in the fading light. Crawling into bed, weary. The best night’s sleep had in many an eve.

Then… SHAZAM! The morning after and I sprang out of bed with excitement to get busy painting! Decidedly ignoring my “Monday To Do List,” I just had to try my hand at recapturing a little bit of yesterday. So here it  is  — a sweet little 6 x 12 inch oil ‘sketch’ of our descending hike, just above timberline:

Can hardly wait to capture more of this grand day and hike!

Below, a detail: