Overnight at Hamilton Mesa

Hamilton Mesa is a beautiful place high in the Pecos Wilderness, one valley over the Sangre de Christo mountains from Santa Fe. Because it takes a while to drive and then hike there – and because I wanted to be there with evening and early morning light – I decided to spend a night. To save room, I just brought a hammock instead of a sleeping bag. Even so, with my cameras and tripods, plus water and some food, it felt like a significant weight on the hike in.

There was a little bit of a storm around, but the main one was supposed to be in a day or so, and I wanted some clouds as opposed to a clear sky. But it rained lightly off and on, and I had to keep my cameras covered, with one in a cheap waterproof housing so I could take photos without worrying too much. Occasionally I sheltered under trees waiting for the rain to pass, and then headed back to my hammock as it got dark.

I really thought I had it worked out. I had rain gear on so if it rained on me I wouldn’t mind, and a hat to cover my face. What I hadn’t realized, though, was how cold it got up there at night. Eventually, after shivering kept me awake, I built a fire and stayed by it’s warmth for the rest of the night.

IMG_5092
The path to Hamilton Mesa goes through a pine and aspen forest. In the distance is the valley of the Mora river.
IMG_5103
The sunset was pretty much obscured by clouds. One never knows what it will be like each time. even when it’s not perhaps the ideal lighting conditions, it’s always amazing up there. A forest bath.
IMG_5117 Panorama
In front of the setting sun is the aspen forest on the slopes of the mesa, where my hammock was.
IMG_5130
This is just after the sun set, looking southeast. 
IMG_5126
Occasionally I would stop under a tree and wait for the rain to let up.
IMG_5123
Looking towards Truchas Peaks as rain blows over. Around this time i heard a very large group of coyotes; much more intimidating when you’re camping!
_DSC9179_80_81HDR
Just as night falls in the aspen forest. The moon was pretty bright.
_DSC9185_6_7HDR
Here’s the fire that saved me from being so cold! 
_DSC9197_8_9HDR
Looking out from the forest as the moon rose.
_DSC9210_09_11HDR
This is the light before dawn; things are just beginning to emerge from the darkness.
_DSC9233_4_5HDR Panorama
Walking towards the peak of Hamilton Mesa as the sun was about to rise, about 4:30.
IMG_5142
Looking east as the sun rises.
IMG_5155
Truchas Peaks, just catching the sun, as is the peak that I’m on.
IMG_5170
One camera was going as I walked around with my other one. I’m wearing a LOT of clothes.
_DSC9288_7_9HDR
Day beginning outside the aspen forest.
_DSC9286_5_4HDR
Real morning now, and the sun is starting penetrate into the woods.
_DSC9315_6_4HDR Panorama
This is a view looking southwest on the way back to the car. 
Advertisements

7 thoughts on “Overnight at Hamilton Mesa

  1. M

    The inner pioneer emerges, coyotes to boot. I appreciate the compositions, esp of : Truchas Peaks, just catching the sun, as is the peak that I’m on, also Real morning now, and the sun is starting penetrate into the woods….and the vertical in the last shot. Love the storm shots, enhancing the Walking towards the peak of Hamilton Mesa as the sun was about to rise, about 4:30. Thanks—this is fun! I’ve missed the Gordelasque so this will inspire me for autumn strolls.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Tyler nelson

    Another spell binding trek through the wilderness! I’m glad you love these
    Wild Southwestern skies throughout the evening and on to daybreak. its surely the ONLY. way i’ll ever get to enjoy them. Thank you!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s