I can’t think of a better way to start off the week than to hike two days in a row. Monday’s hike was a favorite that I have done before. I decided to take a break from picture-taking on that one. To see photos and map check out June 3 and September 8 posts. I should have taken pictures, though, because even though the awesome views don’t change, the environment certainly changes with the seasons. On the hike in June we were struggling through snowbanks, whereas Monday the snow was a distant memory and we reaped the benefits of the snow’s moisture with sightings of many varieties of beautiful wildflowers.
Today’s hike was in the Jemez Mountains, northeast of the small village of Ponderosa. Driving up to the Jemez for other hikes, we always pass the turnoff from Highway 4 that goes to Ponderosa and I’d been curious about what was out that way.
Not surprisingly, once through Ponderosa, the drive was over a rough, rutted forest road. One of the benefits of hiking with the Albuquerque Seniors hiking group is that a city van is getting us over the rough roads and we don’t have to drive our own car. Also, if we hadn’t had a hike leader who was following a GPS track of the hike, it would have been an impossible trail to find.
After a scramble over a rocky ridge, the trail followed an abandoned road through San Juan Canyon. A couple of places had trickles of water in what was once the stream through the canyon, but mostly it was very dry. The mountains around Albuquerque are just beginning to experience the summer thunderstorms that develop this time of year. We had rain gear with us and our hike leader set a goal that we should be back to the van by 2:00. That turned out to be perfect timing. The clouds had begun to gather by the time we reached the van and we heard the first rumbles of thunder.
Looking behind us on the drive back to Albuquerque we could see that there were some significant rain showers in the area we had just left. That is a welcome sight around here and, hopefully, there will be more to come in the days ahead.