Mt. Wheeler, NM, Jun 2004

I drove to Taos, where Doug & Stef managed to wave me down in a hidden campground turn-off just before dark. We explored Taos for the day, then hiked NM's highest peak, Mt. Wheeler (13,159'). Trailhead is at the Taos Valley Ski Area (9200'); we took the standard route up which goes up a wide trail to the Bull-of-the-Woods Meadow, then turns and wanders along the ridgeline, crossing several peaks along the way. We observed many activities from the marmottes and their friends during the day. Interestingly, the convolution of the solar angle and our ascent profile made it a nearly isothermal day for us (65 +- 5 degrees all day, at all elevations).

On the stairs to the Taos County Courthouse, we saw a sign on step 9:

Each step you climb adds one second to your life.

This begs the question of whether climbing is beneficial or not. Doing a bit of math, it took us around 10 hours for the 15-mile trip, or 36,000 seconds for 30,000 steps. It was therefore a losing battle from the start, and this trip removed approximately 6000 seconds from each of our lives (5 hours total for the three of us!). For safety next time, I suppose I must recommend staying in bed.

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Henry Throop

Last modified Tue Jun 15 18:41:21 2004