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Monday, January 10, 2011

Skiing the Bandelier Nordic Trails

Solitude in the Pines
For anyone seeking quiet and solitude I recommend visiting Bandelier in winter. Winter at the Monument provides opportunity to marvel at deep blue skies while traversing high elevation trails by skis or snowshoes. Bandelier’s Nordic Ski Trails wind through aspen, fir, spruce and pine, each species offering a visual delight of textured bark and heady fragrance.

After a snowfall I delight in the opportunity to hit the trail. Each stride of my skis fractures the stillness with the sound of crunching snow, adding punctuation to a landscape bathed in silence, where only an occasional bird provides afternoon company. I look for chickadees, red crossbills, stellar jays and nuthatches busy in their task of procuring food. I admire the tiny chickadees' ability to adapt to the heat of summer and chill of winter with equal measure. Crossbills work steadily prying open cones for treasured seeds. In the distance the “yank, yank “call of the nuthatch reminds me a of tiny tinhorn. Bandelier's high elevation trails are a reminder of diversity in a world filled with simple beauty.

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