After our failed attempt on our trip this summer to locate a hike south of our Taos home base, we shifted gears and looked to the north. Still eager to get out and stretch our legs, but knowing we were planning a major hike when we arrived in Colorado later in the week, we were seeking a shorter hike, something that would take no more than half a day; nothing more than 3-4 miles. The Williams Lake Hike in the Taos Ski Valley seemed like the perfect choice. Four miles long with a trailhead only 40 minutes from Taos, and a not too significant elevation gain so it would appeal to Meghan, the non-hiker among us, it seemed the answer to our quest.
The day following our impromptu Santa Fe trip, we planned the Taos Ski Valley hike, thinking we would enjoy a leisurely morning and head north just after lunch. However, once we had finished eating and looked to the north, it was clear they were getting some significant rain up on Taos Mountain. The weather report on the radio indicated that showers were expected in the Ski Valley as well. Alas, we busied ourselves close to camp for that day, receiving NO rain in the very dry Taos area. But as we looked north and watched the rains fall it seemed only prudent to save our hiking plans for yet one more day.
The following day dawns sunny and clear and we plan to get an early start to avoid an afternoon storm if one should spring up. As it is monsoon season in northern New Mexico making afternoon thunderstorms likely; elevation increases the likelihood of storms and precipitation. We take our leave of Taos by just after 10 am, making a quick stop in town on our way north. This leads to our arrival at the Williams Lake Trailhead just after 11 am, with the skies now clouding up a bit. We have the three dogs with us and they love to hike so we were not about to undertake this venture without them. We get them out of the car and leashed up and then Terry and I use the restroom at the trailhead. While the kids don’t seem to need to do so, those of us older folks have learned it is better to be safe than sorry.
We are finally organized with our leashed dogs, water, day packs; prepared to leave the parking lot. We had no sooner hit the trail, then we feel a few sprinkles of rain. Yet we are determined to hike. This is the third day we have planned to hike and come hell or high water, hike we would!
Well, high water it was. By the time we had traveled the first half mile, it was raining steadily. However, at that point both we and the dogs were soaked to the skin, the rain was warm and the temperature a relatively mild 58 degrees, so we plugged on. Also there was no thunder or lightening so it was like being in the shower—for the 50 minutes it took us the reach the lake. OK, as soon as I had that thought, it did thunder a few times, but no lightening ensued!
For more information traveling in New Mexico, read more about New Mexico camping and things to do in New Mexico.