After yesterday's snow, Noelle and I were excited to head up to the mountains and try some cross country skiing. We set the alarm for 6am this morning and had coffee brewing for an early trip up to Cloudcroft. I checked the New Mexico Department of Transportation's highway conditions website and found US 82 to be open but icy and snow-packed near Mayhill. The trip was a go!
Right from the start we hit icy roads and the driving was slow from Carlsbad to Artesia. Once on highway 82 the going got even slower. We were going 20 under the speed limit all the way to Mayhill. At Mayhill driving conditions improved a bit as the roads above that elevation had been salted. Finally we arrived at the cross country skiing trailhead. The parking lot had not yet been plowed, but I put the Subaru into first gear and we made it to an acceptable parking area.
I had a bit of trouble with the binding on my one ski, but after a bit of fiddling around with it we were skiing!
We skied the closed road that leads to several campgrounds. There we two trails that are officially open to skiing, but Noelle didn't feel comfortable with them and so we stayed on the roads. It was great to be on skis again. According to SkinnySki.com, the conditions in the mountains of southern New Mexico are better than in Duluth!
After our ski we went into Cloudcroft for lunch at Texas Pit barbeque. We had a delicious lunch and then hit the road again. We headed to NM Highway 310 and then took the Sunspot highway. We looked for possible areas to go Christmas Tree hunting. We stopped at a nice overlook of the Tularosa Basin at Haynes Canyon
and then hiked a short trail to another overlook.
Soon we found ourselves at the Upper Karr Canyon Recreation Area.
We did a little sledding at the hill there
before we postholed into the woods on our Christmas Tree quest. Finally we found an acceptable specimen.
It's a Douglas Fir I believe. We cut her down and found a dead mouse wrapped around one of the branches.
Then we hiked her back to the car.
We opted to transport the tree in the car instead of tying it to the roof.