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April 2005

Magellan, Muir, And Me: Backpacking the Pecos Wilderness

Invent your own hike, and go where no one (well, almost no one) has gone before.

We make it by dusk to Truchas Lakes, two ponds ringed with spruce. Reflections of the craggy peaks float on the glassy black surface. As expected, we run out of fuel, but we split a Tecate and a can of Pringles left behind by horsepackers, then build a modest fire to boil water. We wake to a blanket of fresh powder and smear hummus on pita and drink smoke-flavored water, soaking up the stillness that follows a snowstorm. The snow melts by noon, and we climb a saddle near Middle Truchas Peak and follow the Rio Quemado out to a dirt road, where a buddy picks us up as darkness falls.

For now, the Pecos Megatransect remains an alluring idea. I’m moving to Oregon, but maybe an envious Michael Fay will call and I’ll get an invite to come back and whack the rest of it. And there’s this: Misty may attempt the whole thing next summer, and link up those lines on our maps-or maybe extend them, or adapt them. Like any new route, this one just needs someone to be the first to walk it.

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