South Crest Trail

There were probably better days for picture-taking to capture the views of Albuquerque from the South Crest Trail. The afternoon winds kicked up dust and dirt in the desert, making the air too hazy to see very far. But since we hadn’t yet been on this popular trail we got enough pictures to give a sense of the place and didn’t worry too much that they weren’t professional quality photos. After all, most of our photos have that problem.

We went up about 4 miles and came back down.
We went up about 4 miles and came back down.

Rocky ledges
Rocky ledges
Travertine Falls is just a trickle of water.
Travertine Falls is just a trickle of water.
View towards Tijeras.  Cedro Peak in upper right corner.
View towards Tijeras. Cedro Peak in upper right corner.
Unidentified wildflower.
Unidentified wildflower.
Look closely to see the Horny Toad.
Look closely to see the Horny Toad.
South Mountain visible to the east.
South Mountain visible to the east.
Below this cliff is the Three Gun Springs Trail.
Below this cliff is the Three Gun Springs Trail.
View to the southwest.
View to the southwest.
View to the north.
View to the north.
View of Albuquerque.
View of Albuquerque.

A New View of Albuquerque

Today we expanded our list of walking opportunities close to town by exploring a system of unofficial trails within the boundaries of Petroglyph National Monument.  Just to the west of Albuquerque, this 17-mile escarpment has been set aside as public land to preserve its rich cultural landscape.  There are 3 named canyons with trails to view the petroglyphs, as well as the Volcanoes day-use area for close-up views of the geology.  All of these areas have become familiar friends for days when we have limited time but want to get out for a short walk.

But today Lee suggested doing something different with our afternoon. He had looked at a map of the Monument and thought there might be a way to walk in the southern section, even though it didn’t show any trails or labeled entry points.  A named area on the map indicated that this area was called Mesa Prieta.

Our first stop was at the Monument Visitor Center.  There we found a knowledgeable staff person who gave us detailed directions for finding the access point we hoped would be there.  She also gave us interesting information about the history of that part of the Monument.  Her prediction that we would enjoy our time there was exactly what happened.  No better way to spend a couple of hours on a sunny, Albuquerque afternoon than walking in the desert, finding some early spring flowers and enjoying views of the city to the east.

Map showing location of trail down from Mesa.
Map showing location of trail down from Mesa.
The trail we took up the Mesa.
The trail we took up the Mesa.
Boulders
Boulders
Unidentified purple flower.
Unidentified purple flower.
Daisies
Daisies
From Mesa top.
From Mesa top.
View of 3 volcanoes in background.
View of 3 volcanoes in background.
Big Blue Beetle.
Big Blue Beetle.
Starting descent
Starting descent
Trail at bottom
Trail at bottom
Descending
Descending
Heading back
Heading back
Perky Sue.
Perky Sue.
Albuquerque to the east.
Albuquerque to the east.
One of several rock cairns.
One of several rock cairns.

Indigobush
Indigobush

There is a purple flower (weed?) now blooming everywhere we walk around the city. My friend who helps me identify wildflowers says it’s something she has to weed out of her garden but she couldn’t remember the name. As we walked to the Visitor Center today to ask about the area we wanted to explore I noticed a number of labeled plants along the sidewalk. Besides learning of a new walk, I finally learned what this plant is.
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