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  • Writer's pictureMegan

First Backpacking Trip, NM 2020

Updated: Feb 18, 2021

Our family is into camping. We love camping! We've reached the point last year where we can either shift into backpacking or shift into RV/trailer. And this was pre-pandemic thinking. After lots of research, we decided to try backpacking over the summer!

First up was gear. I'm not going to do a huge gear post here, but we had to figure out what we needed. Lots of youtube videos and blog posts to help narrow that down! My favorite help (coming from someone who knew nothing about backpacking) was going to REI. Their employees helped set and adjust the boys' backpacks to the right fit, and educating us along the way.

Once we felt that we had all of our ducks in a row, we hit the road and headed to Taos New Mexico! It was in the heat of summer, so driving through West Texas we passed through some crazy heat.

Since we knew it would take a lot for us to go up the mountain, and our drive out there was most of the day, the first night we stayed in Taos Ski Valley at a hotel so we could rest up. I wish I took a picture of the temperatures here, but it was SO nice and cool!

The next day we headed around the mountain the next morning to start our hike up Middle Fork Lake Trail.

This is where my novice came against us. Though it was only about 2 miles, the incline was HARD with a TON of switchbacks!

But we took lots of breaks, especially when it came to enjoying the three waterfalls along the way.

And we can't forget when Ryan fell and hurt his head on the way up. We were almost to the top, and this slip made me start questioning my sanity in the trip.

But then, we made it!

Kitty was pretty warn out. Really warn out. She unintentionally helped pull us up the mountain, and she still insisted on taking a swim in the water. We made sure to pamper her and let her rest.

We "could" have packed up and continued further to another lake, but since the climb kicked us in the butt, and so did the altitude, we used the next day to just relax and enjoy the lake pretty much to ourselves. Just a few fishermen and day hikers visited a little bit throughout the day.

For our last day, we woke up early to catch the last of the amazing views of the lake all to ourselves.

And then it was time to pack up and head back down. This was SO much easier than our trek up!

And then we headed home. Phew! It was a definitely an adventure! Would we do it again? Yes, but we did need a few weeks at home before we would say that! I wouldn't take away all that we learned from this trip, and I have a feeling it is only going to be much easier next go around. Here's what we learned overall from the trip:

  • We overpacked in food

  • Elevation is no joke

  • Kitty will always get in the water no matter the temperature

  • Trekking poles might be next on the list of things to get

  • The boys loved it!

  • We can do it!

And here's some stats just to remember where it all started:

  • 4.3 miles out and back

  • 1,230 ft elevation gain

  • About 10,850 ft high

Have you ever gone backpacking? What would you add to the list?

Want to see more? Check out the video from this trip below.

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