Ascent of Little Jicarita West on 2010-08-08

Climber: Phil Robinson

Others in Party:My wife
4 daughters and dog Daisy to West Fork of Santa Barbara meadows. Lauren it the only one that went to Little Jicarita Peak West.
Date:Sunday, August 8, 2010
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Little Jicarita West
    Location:USA-New Mexico
    Elevation:12266 ft / 3738 m

Ascent Trip Report

I convinced my wife and four daughters to go on a backpacking, camping adventure. Their first backpacking experience was when we hiked to Williams Lake, in the Wheeler Peak wilderness, 2 years ago. That trip was a lot of work for me. We left the house at 5:45 AM, Saturday August 7, 2010, and headed through the town of Truchas to Santa Barbara Campground in Northern New Mexico. We started hiking from the campground at 9:30 at an elevation of about 8,800’. It was a cool, crisp, clear morning. My wife and daughters carried an average of about 20 pounds each. I was the pack horse caring about 50 pounds; 2 three man tents, all of our group gear and most of our food. Our hiking goal was the West Fork of the Santa Barbara river meadows, a five mile hike. I picked this hike for them because it was a very gradual elevation change, only about 1100 feet in five miles, and one of the prettiest places you could ever camp! I was a little worried about hiking problems, but they all did very well! They did much better than our first hike. We arrived at the meadows at 1:00 PM, 3 and half hours, including our lunch. The meadows are about a mile long; filled with wild flowers, a beautiful stream runs on the west side, with beaver dams on the far south. We found a wonderful place to camp at the edge of the meadow by a horse shoe rushing stream. We set up camp and started a fire. It rained for about a half hour then quit. We had a relaxing dinner of different dehydrated foods. I found some puffball mushrooms, cooked them and we enjoyed the delicacy. Later in the evening the 6 of us played cards in one of the tents.
My peak bagging goal was Little Jicarita Peak West or sometimes called peak 12,266. I asked who wanted to go at the crack of dawn and only had one taker, my daughter Lauren. We started hiking on a cool, perfectly clear morning. My dog Daisy went also. We started hiking at about 6:30 AM. The GPS said it was 2 miles as the crow flies, so I figured we would hike about a third more. We hiked south to the end of the meadows and headed straight up the mountain. It was a difficult way to go, with logs to climb over and a real workout on the legs. Part way up the mountain it got a little better and we did not have to go over quite as many logs. We hiked through the thick of trees, bolder fields and steep meadows. I had a feeling at times, that Lauren might have had a few regrets about going. We arrived at the tree covered ridgeline after hiking 2 hours and 15 minutes. It is always a relief reaching the ridgeline. For me the hard part of the hike is over. We had a relaxing 1.2 mile hike over the ridge to the peak. We arrived at peak at 9:45, 3 hours and 15 minutes of hiking and about 3 miles from our camp. Lauren has now done four 12K peaks! It was very chilly on the top. The views were staggering. We took pictures and enjoyed the vistas for about 45 minutes then headed down. I back-tracked our route until we came to the difficult area with the trees, then I went further north. It was much better. We mostly hiked down a steep wildflower and grass filled meadow. Lauren lost her cell phone somewhere along the way. We reached the trail and headed north to our camp. On the way we checked out some very extensive beaver dams. We arrived back in camp at 1:00 PM, six and a half hours and 6 miles of hiking. We had coffee and a very late breakfast and packed up and headed down, leaving camp at 3:30. The girls roared down the trail, we had a very late lunch along the way and arrived back at the car at 6:30. Lauren and I, and my dog Daisy hiked 11 miles today. We all could really feel it. It was a great experience for all of us. My wife said it was the first time she really liked camping and was talking about more trips and my daughters appeared to have a wonderful time. The first time that I took them camping they seemed very tender. This time it felt like they were in the groove. If anyone is going to take first time backpackers for the sheer beauty of the mountains and ease of the hike, I first would recommend the 2.5 mile hike to Williams Lake and camp by the waterfall. For a second trip I recommend this hike, the West Fork of the Santa Barbara meadows.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:3466 ft / 1056 m
    Round-Trip Distance:16 mi / 25.7 km
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Bushwhack
    Gear Used:
Tent Camp
    Nights Spent:1 nights away from roads
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:3466 ft / 1056 m
    Distance:8 mi / 12.9 km
    Route:Santa Barbara Camp to West Fork Meadows then up
    Start Trailhead:8800 ft / 2682 m
Descent Statistics
    Distance:8 mi / 12.9 km
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. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

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