Nogal Peak: The Journey

2:56 PM

From Trip 1:

Although we took the wrong trail, we got decently close

Peak in the background
Nogal Peak
Nogal Peak is located in Lincoln National Forrest, near the town of Ruidoso, and is the tallest mountain in southeast New Mexico. Although not far in distance (measuring under 1.5 miles one way) the elevation gains over 1,000 feet, making this a butt-kicker.
I label this post "The Journey", because we have yet to make it to the destination: the peak.
We have discovered that just about every evening in the summer, it storms over the trail. We have had to run back to the cover our Corolla provides twice, after making it some distance. We have learned to pack an extra shirt whenever we try to make this excursion. Next time, we will also bring umbrellas and rain jackets.
First (wrong) trail, but cool view.
The trail follows the crest of the mountain, so you are able to see for miles on either side. We can not imagine what the peak itself, with it's 360 degree view will be, but the views from the trail are breathtaking. I have decided that this has to be my favorite hike of all time (although Feather Falls comes pretty close), and we haven't even made it all the way yet!
Our first attempt was started off at the wrong trailhead. Which was understandable, as the trail we took was labeled Nogal Peak. Apparently, it was not. We had gone over two steep miles, before we came to that conclusion. It was still a good hike with a nice view, though. We headed back, and eventually drove to the correct "Crest Trailhead". I was worried the Corolla wouldn't be able to make it up the steep, dirt road, but it was a trooper.

Trip 2 
By the time we started on the correct trail, it was around 4pm. Clouds had started to roll in, and it was starting to sprinkle on us. Our excitement drove us onward still. The hail that followed made us pause and question our decision. After a few minutes of consideration, the increase in hail size and density caused us to turn tail and run. It was painful but hilarious, and we ended up soaked by the time we made it back to the car. We had a blast and could not wait to come back again the weekend after.

On the most recent excursion, we knew where we were going and we had made it around 3/4 of the way, when we decided to pause and sit on a ledge to enjoy the view. It was gorgeous; we could see mountains for miles. For a moment, that is. After a few minutes, I pointed out "fog" rolling in that was making it hard to see farther away.
"That isn't fog, Kaley. That is rain," Spencer informed me, both of our jaws dropping.
Wall of rain on it's way
Gulp. It was moving in fast. You could literally see a wall of water rolling toward where we were sitting. Being so far from our car, we were torn.  Should we wait it out or make the trek back to the car, in the direction of the storm, when we were sure to get soaked either way? (Video on my Instagram kaley.barrow)
"I can see the trail, it is right there," Spencer pointed, in the direction of the storm.
Rolling in
It would have been comical, had it not felt dooming, for at the moment he pointed, lightning hit near the very spot.
You know in movies, when somebody points at something and right then lightning fries it? That is what it was like - no joke!
We decided running in to the storm on the crest of the mountain would be a bad idea, as we would be the tallest things out there. So we ducked under some nearby brush/small New-Mexican trees and decided to try to wait it out.
It was mere seconds before the storm hit us. We were immediately soaked, as the brush did little to help. Thunder boomed directly above our heads. I was shivering, for multiple reasons. We huddled together, praying it would pass. It definitely was not planning on it.
We decided we had no choice but to risk running back. Our shoes were soaked, Spencer had given up his shirt for me, we were tired, but we made it. Eventually, we got to the point on the other side of the storm, and we could see it making it's way toward the peak. Awesome is the word that would best describe the whole experience.
That mountain presents a challenge. I can not wait to go back. Nogal Peak is no ordinary hike.

More from Trip 2:

Mr. Horny Toad - Spencer's new friend

The top there is where we hiked to the first time

Green snake

There were loads of these guys on the trail

On another note, Spencer got a raise! He has now been working for ARC for six months, and is doing fantastic! He is such a hard worker! He works long hours in the blazing heat and still returns home with a giving attitude. That man is incredible.

Also, we just bought plane tickets to visit family! We are going camping with them in California over labor day week. We can not wait to see everyone!

Homemade icecream has been getting us through the summer
Oreo is our favorite

First time making Salmon. Used homemade garlic herb lemon butter.

My hubby got me a Linewife hat!
Stud making pizza

Went to Popo's after church - SO GOOD
Sunday best 

Stick bug Spencer found while working

6 months ago yesterday, Spencer dropped to one knee. This journey has been more than I could have hoped for.

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