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Ascent of Taos Peak on 2014-09-12

Climber: Phil Robinson

Others in Party:My dog Daisy.
Date:Friday, September 12, 2014
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Taos Peak
    Location:USA-New Mexico
    Elevation:11257 ft / 3431 m

Ascent Trip Report

I originally planned to do these 2 peaks with my daughter Christina and dog Daisy. Christina recently said that she would like to bag some more peaks, she has 13 peaks. I bought prime cut rib eyes for the campfire and was making plans for a 3 day, 2 night trip. She ended up feeling bad shortly before the trip, so it was Daisy and I. This is Daisy’s first trip of the year. All the other peaks I have hiked this year were too brutal for an almost 11 year old dog. She could have made one of the peaks on our family Labor Day outing but our lodging location would not accept dogs. I have 5 personal days that I can use for any reason so I took Friday off. I was excited to be doing a trip with my dog Daisy! She used to go on most of my hikes.

I got up at 4:00 AM on Friday September 12, 2014 and rang the little bell on Daisy’s backpack. She knew what that meant and was so excited to be going. Her tail was wagging full steam. There is not much weight in the pack it is mostly for her fun. I left the house at about 4:30 AM and began the drive to the Red River, New Mexico area. Daisy was so excited she stood up the first hour of driving just looking out the window. From the eastern part of the town of Red River we headed south on Highway 578 to a parking area on the East Fork of the Red River. This is the trailhead 58A and trail 56 starts from this point. It was a chilly morning, 39 degrees. Because Christina was going at first I had my “family backpack” packed. It is an exterior framed Jansport , one of the few they still make. I like carrying a framed backpack when I have to carry a family’s worth of equipment. If something gets to heavy for anyone else I can pop it on my back. Originally I was taking 2 tents. My larger one was packed so I took it, and left the smaller one behind. The extra room was nice. Recently I have been ridge hiking and had to take nearly 12 pounds of water. It was nice to only be taking 40 ounces of water. I knew that water would be accessible most of the trip. My pack weighed 37 pounds. I started hiking at 8:15 AM at an elevation of 9625 feet. There is a beautiful stream that runs along trail 56. The forest is lush and green. About a mile or so up the trail Sawmill Creek trail, trail 55, forks to the left and heads up the eastern side of the mountain. Daisy was going full steam with a wagging tail. At the 3 mile mark from the start, the beautiful Sawmill Creek meadows began. You could already see a touch of gold in the meadows from the high country’s low temperatures. I stopped and set up camp at the start of the meadows, near the stream. It was* three miles from the start and it took an hour and 50 minutes. It was about 10:00 AM. I set up camp and my large tent in the meadow. It took about an hour. Daisy waded in the stream and really seemed to be enjoying herself. We started out to Taos Peak, elevation 11,257. Another reason I took my large pack was to carry Daisy in it if she had any trouble. I put her in the pack at home and my wife and I had a laugh seeing how cute she looked in the pack. I didn’t continue with the big pack because she was doing so well and if she had any difficulty I could carry her in my arms. We were on the west side of the stream. We crossed the stream and the meadow and met the trail. Daisy was so happy to be out and her tail was wagging. I planned to cross the ridge to the peak. I found a low point at a saddle and progressed up. It was some fair work getting to the ridge but not too difficult. I was ready to carry Daisy at any time but she sure did not look like she needed the help. I headed south along the ridge. It was the “Land of Fallen Trees” and very difficult! Daisy was doing fine energy wise, but I had to lift her many times over fallen logs. There is a downed fence along the ridge. It is littered with fallen trees. We arrived at the peak after hiking 5.5 miles. It took 3 hours and 40 minutes from the start not counting the hour setting up camp. The top is tree covered and there are no views. I took some peak pictures, signed a summit log in a glass jar and took a 20 minute lunch break. I shared some of my lunch with Daisy but she did not eat much. We headed directly down hill , bushwhacking to get to the trail west of us. It was not too difficult and Daisy was still doing well. We walked along the trail besides the beautiful golden meadows. Any time Daisy saw a little stream she got in and waded. She loves to cool her toes. We have a little pool for her at home. I knew it might be a little too much for Daisy to do another peak but planned on carrying her if she has any trouble. As we started up the same saddle towards the ridge. She began to have some trouble. I carried her most of the way to the ridge and put her down. Daisy was lagging behind and I would go back pick her up for awhile then put her down. When we reached Peak 11,202, she was exhausted. We had hiked 8.8 miles in 6 hours and 40, not counting camp setup. This peak was also tree covered with no views. The GPS showed camp only about a half mile as the crow flies. Daisy had had enough and would not budge. My plan was to carry her most of the way to the bottom. I put on her leash to keep her with me and I bushwhacked it straight to the west. It is a very, very hard bushwhack and I would recommend another way. I carried her most of the way down. She reluctantly walked a little. She waded in the stream at the bottom but would not drink. We arrived back at camp after hiking 9.5 miles in 7 hours and 35 minutes, not counting camp setup but counting lunch. The sun was just setting in the meadow. I heated my camp stove and cooked a dehydrated meal. I had a special can of food for Daisy but she would not eat. I tried to share my meal with her but she would not eat. We went to bed early. I read while Daisy slept right beside me in the tent. I got up at 7:30 in the morning and packed up. I had a light breakfast and tried to get Daisy to eat and drink, she would not. I left camp a little before 9:00 AM. Daisy would not budge. I carried her to the stream and put her in for a drink but she would not drink. I carried her to the trail. She could barely move along. I picked her up, carried her for a ways, and put her down again. She would take a few steps and I could see the strain so I would pick her up. I carried her most of the 3 miles out, either in my arms or on my shoulders. I felt a little sadness as it felt like our hiking/peakbagging time was limited. We arrived at the car and put I Daisy on the seat. It had taken an hour and a half to get out carrying Daisy most of the time. The total hike was 12.4 miles with elevation gains of 2459 feet. I was so happy Daisy made camp and Taos Peak in her own enthusiastic energy but the next peak, even carrying her, was too much for the little dog. When I got home she was very weak. She drank a little water but would not eat. My wife went to get some liquid electrolytes and liver. She tried to get liquid down Daisy with a spoon. There was an interruption in my writing……….. I put a little *star there up above……. My hiking/peakbagging buddy Daisy, after hiking 38 peaks of the biggest peaks in New Mexico with me died at 8:00 PM Saturday evening. It is sad for us all she had been with us for almost 11 years and was family. She was featured on the front page of the Sunday Albuquerque Journal August 10, 2014. The article was a wonderful tribute to her and us and I guess there is not much more of a fitting way for a peakbagging dog to go, than peakbagging. I do regret taking her on the last peak. I do not know what happens to the souls of animals or if they have one, but I do know that man has a soul. There is a scripture in the Bible, in the book of Mark, that says, “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world , and loses his own soul?” I felt my soul rescued out of the new age, licking the flames of hell in escape, being born a new in Jesus Christ. John 3:16 – “For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” He rescued my soul. I am going to have Daisy cremated. My wife wants to put a few ashes on our property and I am going to spread a few ashes on a mountain peak.

See pictures of Daisy on Peakery.com
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:1732 ft / 528 m
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Open Country, Bushwhack, Stream Ford
    Gear Used:
Tent Camp
    Nights Spent:1 nights away from roads
Ascent Statistics
    Elevation Gain:1732 ft / 528 m
    Extra Loss:100 ft / 30 m
    Distance:5.5 mi / 8.9 km
    Route:Trailhead 58A - Trail 56 to 55 to ridge
    Trailhead:9625 ft / 2933 m
Descent Statistics
Ascent Part of Trip: Taos Peak & 11202 Daisy

Complete Trip Sequence:
OrderPeak/PointDate
1Taos Peak2014-09-12 a
2Peak 112022014-09-12 b
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip


 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Phil Robinson
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Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. Peakbagger.com accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

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