Monday, September 22, 2008
We drove to Bishop's Lodge which is a pretty plush resort northeast of town. It sits on old ranch property and has been inhabited by several bishops over the years, the first one living there in the 1850's. There are several trails around the property and we decided to take a 5 mile loop. Unfortunately, the trail crossed a road at one point and we couldn't find the trail on the other side for about 20 minutes. We walked down the road very frustrated and when we didn't know what else to do, we walked back to where the trail met the road in the first place. On the way back, we stumbled across the trail, a little embarassed.
The trail climbs to a small peak above the Lodge with great views in all directions. It has been travelled so much over the decades, that it is really more of a trench than a trail. But that sure made it easy to find. We then walked around the hill back to the lodge - a total of over 6 miles.
9/13/08 - Bishops Lodge/Big Tesuque Creek
Length - 6+ miles
Elevation - 7,100-7,800
Grade - easy, briefly steep in spots
Scenery - B+, good along the creek, the high point had 360 degree views of the Jemez, Sandia, and Santa Fe mountains
Overall - the deep trench-like trail made for interesting hiking in some spots, the shaded creek was a cool retreat from the higher trails, the back side was not well marked but was easy to follow
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
The bosque has the most plant life in Albuquerque so the hike went through plenty of brush and plants, but it is also full of sand because of it's proximity to the river. That was not my favorite, but the dirt roads made for easy hiking.
Along the trails are some sculptures made by local artists out of dead trees. They carved several of the trees into amazing shapes of animals and people. These two are of a roadrunner and lizard, and a forest firefighter and dragon. Pretty impresive.
9/9/08 - Hike along the Bosque ****
Sunday, September 7, 2008
Length - 1.4 miles
Scenery - C, only one big look of Highway 536 due to thick tree coverage
Somehow, I narrowed it down to Portland, OR or Albuquerque, NM. I had friends in both places and the deciding factor was actually the proximity to the mountains, and the desert climate of NM that won me over. Little did I know that this place sucks you in. New Mexico is called The Land of Enchantment, but many people joke that it is The Land of Entrapment because it is very easy to fall in love with this place. I have met many people who are transplants like myself and they say the same thing. Although I chose to move here, some came against their will, because of a job or other reasons, but it doesn't take long for most to agree that this is a special place. Between the mountains, the history (Native American and otherwise), the dry and warm climate, and of course the food, New Mexico is my kind of place.
The Sandia mountains are right next door to Albuquerque and you can walk into them from anywhere in town in about 20 minutes, or you can drive into them and to the top in less than an hour. Plus, northern New Mexico has some of the most stunning mountains around, nothing that you would expect when you think of the Southwest. Just take a look at one picture from near the Santa Fe ski area (yes, there are several ski areas in NM). Even on a cloudy day, the mountains are spectacular. I have plenty of pictures of the Sandias too, but they will come later.
As for the climate, this desert is nothing like you would expect. It doesn't get as hot as say, Phoenix. In fact, it rarely hits 100 degrees. And with little to no humidity, the temperature is just warm but not miserable. The only thing is that since we are at over 5,000 feet, you have to be careful with sun exposure because you can get cooked pretty quickly.
Food. What can I say? You've never had Mexican food until you've had New Mexican food. Chile is the specialty. Red, green, chopped, roasted, sauce, stew. On eggs, burritos, pizza, and burgers, etc. You will find chile on or in more foods than you would think is possible or appetizing. But trust me, once you start eating chile, you can't stop. There are rumors that chile is addictive. I am proof that the rumors are true.
We went to the International Balloon Fiesta (http://www.balloonfiesta.com/) on two mornings and it is something I highly recommend for anyone coming this way. Hundreds of balloons, cool shapes and cool mornings make for one of the most unique events around. You get to walk around among the balloons as they fill up with air and take off. The officials that help launch the balloons really try to make a spectacle of themselves so that they will be taken seriously. Wouldn't you take these guys seriously?
Periodically, I will post some of my favorite quotes to express my feelings towards various topics. I figured I should start by posting one that shows who I really am and, well, says plenty about me.
"I stand in awe of my body." Henry David Thoreau
Feel free to agree.