A Yurt in the Enchanted Forest | Day Drunk: A Yurt in the Enchanted Forest

April 21, 2015

A Yurt in the Enchanted Forest

Yes, it's actually called the Enchanted Forest and I can vouch for its bewitchery.

For those of you keeping score, we are still in New Mexico. Actually, we decided to take a detour to northeastern New Mexico to visit the artist enclave of Taos, where we were lured by the promise of yurts and cross country skiing.

Just a little beyond Taos, located 10,000 feet into the Carson National Forest, is the Enchanted Forest Cross Country Ski Area, replete with 30k of skiing trails that wind through towering and lichen filled pines to stunning views.

Inside the winding trails are two yurts that are available to rent throughout the year, the only catch being that you have to ski yourself and your belongings there. That's cool - if you are a good skier, which I am not. Actually, I had only been x-country skiing once before and downhill skiing never before this.

But it was an impossibly beautiful day and the allure of a yurt hidden in the woods was too good to pass up, so we loaded up our pulk sled (a sled that hooks around your waist and you town behind you) and headed up the slopes.

It was the beginning of a freeze/thaw cycle, so the trails were a bit icy, but since we were there at close to the end of the season, we had the whole course to ourselves - so we could fall down without feeling embarrassed.

After a good mile of uphill skiing, we finally found our little yurt, quickly unpacked and then headed further up the trails to the spectacular birch trees that lead to one of the most breathtaking views of the trip. If only we had been skiing (and falling!) with our nice camera, we might have been able to share the love a bit better!

Eventually we had to stop skiing for the day as the temperatures dropped because the trails became too icy to navigate safely and dusk fell on our little hideaway. In fact, we ended up having the whole forest to ourselves! Since the Enchanted Forest trails close at 4:30pm, we enjoyed the haunting calls of owls and a very cold night with a little bit of whiskey, campfires, and a lot of solitude.

Enchantment, indeed. 

The next day we skied out and began the drive towards more desert regions.

My review of the Enchanted Forest Cross Country Ski Area is a 6.5/10. However, this has nothing to do with the quality of the trails, the pristine beauty of the forest, or the awesomeness of the location. 

For a small building that is serviced easily by snow mobile and is only one of two rentals on site, the yurt was actually a tad under-stocked and uncared for. The under-stocking wasn't too much of a problem since we had all our camping gear in the car, but we were in no way informed of this by the two people who were running HQ that day, so we had to waste time skiing back down to get more stuff even though the website tells a different story of its amenities. 

I was disappointed to find that the mantles on the propane lanterns were all broken with no replacements even at the store (we had to use our own or be stuck in darkness), the wood stove was a bitch to use with no instructions (and we are wood stove users at home), and that the two port-o-potties (that we were asked nicely to use instead of the nature potty) were filled above the brim with poo. For the price ($85/night), I would have expected a bit more upkeep - and a bit more information from the people in the shop, one especially who giggled when we tried to explain we were beginner skiers instead of offering us advice, tried to charge us for an additional day of skiing even though it is included in the rental price, and who didn't offer us the free for use pulk sled until our second time back down though she watched us shakily ski off with overstuffed backpacks the first time. 

But aside from that very unhelpful person, the excitement of sleeping in a yurt under the stars surrounded by the melody of owls and the thrill of skiing in tee shirts is enough to make me go back for more. Plus, I'm a better skier now.

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