Attractions In And Around Pecos
As Pecos was the Gateway to the West and is an ancient village, there are many amazing attractions to explore!

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Used with permission. Article by Lisa Westerfall:
http://laughingorcaranch.blogspot.com/2012/10/trail-ride-of-lifetime-pecos-wilderness.html

I recently went on a trail ride with two of my good friends, Shelley and Kendra, up into the Pecos Wilderness, New Mexico. This ride had been on my Bucket List for quite a while, but we picked the best time of year to ride these gorgeous trails in the mountains, and hour northeast of Santa Fe, NM. The Autumn colors of orange, red and yellow leafed shrubs and trees were in their full splendor and it was magical to ride beneath the gloriously, golden aspen groves.

We had planned to ride up to Pecos Baldy Lake but it’s a 14 mile round trip that climbs most of the way, and we didn’t get to Jack’s Creek Equestrian Campground until noon.

Click the arrows below to follow the rest of the adventures...

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TRAIL RIDE OF A LIFETIME ~ PECOS WILDERNESS (PART 1)
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A view of Jack’s Creek Equestrian Campground looking down from the trail. Our two horse trailers are in the center of the photo.
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Kendra was smiles all day!
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Beautiful views of mountains as we headed uphill. Apache enjoyed them just as much as I did, and was constantly looking around.
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Shelley stops in a meadow on a brief level area on the climb uphill.
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Shelley’s Mustang gelding Macho, on the other hand, is an endurance athlete, and was able to move pretty briskly up those mountain trails.
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One thing I’ve come to realize with all the trail rides we’ve been on this year, is that my mare truly enjoys leaving her pasture and going someplace new. She is less bored and isn’t chewing on the trees ever since I started riding her at least 1-2 times a week. I believe we have become closer and have developed a strong bond now, too. She takes such good care of me, and I try to do the same for her, too.
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We finally crossed over from the Santa Fe National Forest into the Pecos Wilderness! And thankfully the trail leveled out at this point, so we stopped to check cinches and take a rest.
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Since we picked a weekday to ride in the Pecos, we only came upon a handful of hikers, and just a few horseback riders and hunters with pack horses. I didn't know if Apache had ever seen a hiker wearing a backpack, so I wasn't sure what her reaction would be. As always, she was rock solid and calm, and was only curious about the strange looking human up ahead.
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Amazing views started appearing as the trail opened up.
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And we were all amazed and in awe of the views when we reached the shoulder of the mountain! It was much breezier, but the colors were breathtaking!
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Even my Apache mare loved being up there!…I have a funny story to share about that on our return trip! So stay tuned.
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And even Shelley, who is usually focused on the destination, and not so much the journey, due to her endurance competition rides, soon relaxed and enjoyed our slower pace and admiration for the beauty all around us.
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Shelley had ridden up in the Pecos before, but I could tell she was seeing it all brand new again through mine and Kendra’s eyes. I think our excitement was contagious.
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We thought we had reached the top of the mountain when we arrived in this lovely meadow completely encircled by aspens and a few evergreens. The meadow felt like a cathedral. So we let our horses take a rest and then we trotted around and played for a little while in that huge, beautiful space.
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In this particularly beautiful section, Kendra was creatively inspired, and asked for my camera, then told Shelley and I to ride back into the aspen forest and then come cantering or trotting out, so she could take photos of us. You can see Apache’s white rump in the middle of the aspens just beneath that leaning evergreen.
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And here we are trotting out of the aspen forest! This is one of my favorite photos from that day.
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Apache really seemed to be enjoying our silly human fun, just as much we humans did!
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And Shelley, who just began confidently cantering Macho this past Spring, did something she had wanted to do for a long time: Drop the reins and canter through the forest! I love this photo of Shelley!
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After we left the aspen forest behind, we continued to climb and entered into a very large meadow filled with free range cattle……yes, in the wilderness. Seems kind of strange to me. But this was something new for Apache and I to experience together. I had no idea how she would react to having to travel through an open meadow filled with large cattle.
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But as usual, Apache was just curious, and I let her check out the cattle as we rode into the meadow. I’m learning that Apache is a very trustworthy horse, and that she will take good care of me.
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Kendra, Shelley and I did have concerns about what our horses would do if one of those big cows mooed, but we needn't have worried, because when they did let out a moo, our horses just looked and kept walking.
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And then we continued to climb higher.
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We met up with more hikers as we rode through the open meadows. Some of them had dogs, but the dogs were always polite and leashed.
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These two hikers were so friendly, so we stopped to visit. Kendra shared some of her venison jerky with everyone and Shelley introduced us to the hikers. The lady hiker was from Santa Fe while the man hiker was visiting from Ohio. They seemed impressed that we were just three women out in the wilderness riding our horses, without any men to “protect” us. *grin*
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We could see Pecos Baldy in the distance, at least another 3 miles away. The additional 6 miles, added to our 8 miles we were already covering, was much too far for us to do in our half day ride.
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There were a few springs that crossed the trail. Unfortunately they were mostly mud, so we didn't get to practice any real water crossings that day. And we soon discovered that all 3 of our horses did. not. like. mud. Both Kendra’s Bailey and Shelley’s Macho did some very impressive jumps and airs above ground flying across the mud bog…..while I just decided to choose my battles and simple walked Apache around the mud instead.
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There were still more aspen groves to ride past and cattle scattered up on the hillsides.
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And there were more boggy, muddy springs to ride through, too. There wasn't an easy way to ride around, so Shelley and I walked our horses across the wood protected section, while Kendra went for a flying leap across.
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Where all 3 of our horses enjoyed a refreshing drink of cool, mountain spring water.
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Not much of a water crossing, but we’ll take it. One thing I’d like to add is that all 3 of our horses are barefoot. But they never became gimpy even on the rockiest sections of trail. Apache’s feet have become hard as rock and rarely even chip on the roughest of trails that we ride.
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Not long after crossing the creek, we found the meadow we were looking for to stop, rest, and enjoy a picnic.
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My very smart Apache mare took advantage of our picnic to take a well-deserved nap.
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