A Challenge Not Taken (Yet)

Since we don’t own an SUV, a trip to the landmark of Cabezon Peak had to wait until we could join up with others who had the type of vehicle for driving over the rough road into the Cabezon Wilderness Study Area. So many places that we hike around Albuquerque have views that include this prominent volcanic neck sticking up in the middle of the vast Rio Puerco Valley. For Lee, (and certain other of our family members), continually seeing that peak created a bucket list challenge: “one of these days we have to get to the top of that.” I was more than satisfied with the 3-mile hike we did around the base of it today. I’ll leave the final rock-scramble ascent to the more adventurous among us.
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Getting closer
Getting closer
Some steep ascents even though we just circled the base.
Some steep ascents even though we just circled the base.
On the righthand side, marked by a line of green lichen-covered rocks, is the upper trail that ascends through a "chimney" to the summit.
On the righthand side, marked by a line of green lichen-covered rocks, is the upper trail that ascends through a “chimney” to the summit.
View to southwest across Rio Puerco Valley with a couple of the other volcanic cones.
View to southwest across Rio Puerco Valley with a couple of the other volcanic cones.
With the exception of one squirrel scampering over the rocks, this was the extent of wildlife sightings.
With the exception of one squirrel scampering over the rocks, this was the extent of wildlife sightings.
View from the backside.
View from the backside.
On the east side looking back with interesting effects from the afternoon sun.
On the east side looking back with interesting effects from the afternoon sun.
Beginning the final descent.
Beginning the final descent.
Notice the thin line below--the road we drove in on.
Notice the thin line below–the road we drove in on.

Buckman Mesa and Otowi Peak

We enjoyed our first time hiking up Buckman Mesa and Otowi Peak today. The mesa is a small plateau beside the Rio Grande west of Santa Fe. Otowi Peak is on top of the mesa and provides panoramic views of the surrounding area. This is BLM land so there is no trail signage, but the trail is well-marked with rock cairns making it very easy to follow.

A 10-mile, washboard-rutted, dirt road leads to the banks of the Rio Grande and the trailhead up the mesa. The hike starts with about a half-mile of walking up a dry wash, where a rock cairn marks the place to climb out of the wash and begin the ascent of the mesa.

At the banks of the Rio Grande.
At the banks of the Rio Grande.

Heading towards Buckman Mesa.
Heading towards Buckman Mesa.
The dry wash that is the first half-mile of the "trail."
The dry wash that is the first half-mile of the “trail.”
Starting ascent of mesa, looking back at the dry wash we walked up.
Starting ascent of mesa, looking back at the dry wash we walked up.
One of the more artistic rock cairns.
One of the more artistic rock cairns.
On top of Buckman Mesa, heading towards Otowi Peak.
On top of Buckman Mesa, heading towards Otowi Peak.
Ascending Otowi Peak.
Ascending Otowi Peak.
View east to Santa Fe ski area.
View east to Santa Fe ski area.
View north to Black Mesa and beyond.
View north to Black Mesa and beyond.
View west to Los Alamos, Pajarito Plateau, and Jemez Mountains.
View west to Los Alamos, Pajarito Plateau, and Jemez Mountains.
View south to White Rock.
View south to White Rock.