Hiking Lately

Spring can be such a tease.  We’ve gone from 30 degrees and windy to 65 and sunny and back again during the past few weeks, making it difficult to decide if I need snowshoes or sunscreen on the hiking trail.  However, I have had the opportunity to enjoy some really beautiful hikes in Santa Fe, Albuquerque and Los Alamos despite the cantankerous climate.

My mom was in town for Easter week again this year and we enjoyed some beautiful hikes together.  We went to Bandelier National Monument, a wilderness region near Los Alamos that features thousands of acres of trails and remnants of the pueblo people who once resided there.

Mom hiking in Bandelier

Climbing ladders into the pueblo dwellings

Pueblo home made of volcanic tuff

Cave dwellings

Petroglyphs carved into the rock

My mom and me standing at the top of the Alcove House, once home to 25 ancestral pueblo people


My mom and I had our hearts set on some late-season snow shoeing before April arrived, but unfortunately we were about a week too late for any fresh powder.  We did, however, enjoy a nice snowy hike along the Winsor trail toward Nambe Lake.



Kua and her grandma love hiking!



Last weekend I took Kua down to the Sandia mountains near Albuquerque to hike La Luz.  It was my first time hiking all the way to the top and back down.  (The first time Jaycob and I hiked this trail we took the tram down, but unfortunately no dogs allowed on the tram!)  I had forgotten how much I love La Luz.  The trail is about 14-16 miles round trip, and what I love most about it is the change in vegetation as we gained elevation, from dry dirt and cacti at the bottom to deciduous trees and snow as we approached the peak. 

We encountered a number of runners on the trail and everyone was extremely friendly.  There seems to be a strong sense of camaraderie associated with La Luz.  The trail wasn’t steep, but it was long and I ran out of water about 2 hours from the end, during the hot and sunny part of the day.  I worried about Kua but she ate my apple and found occasional shady spots to rest.  I feel so lucky to have such a wonderful puppy as a hiking companion!


Kua admires the view








View from the peak


Someone needs a nap

This morning I was hoping to do some trail running in preparation for a duathlon that Jaycob and I are doing in a couple weeks.  I took Kua to the Aspen Vista trail, a gradual uphill climb with scenic views that we have hiked a number of times.  We got some snow in Santa Fe this week and I was surprised at how much was still on the ground up on the mountain.  My core strength and ankle stability were definitely challenged, to say the least.  I planned to hike the entire trail, about 11 miles round trip, but was forced to retire after sinking knee deep into the snow a few times.

Kua had a blast, though!  It was such a relief to do Aspen Vista without the normal Saturday crowds.  (I guess most Santa Feans are sick of the snow and opted for warmer, lower altitude hikes today.)  Kua had the time of her life running laps in the snow and chasing birds.  Her happiness is contagious!


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