Manzano Peak

My question of the day is why did it take us so long to hike up Manzano Peak? I don’t mean that the hike itself took us a long time–3 hours for the 4 miles up and 2 hours to get back down. I’m just surprised that it wasn’t a hike that we thought of doing until recently. I think I had a vague idea that it was a hard place to reach, one that required overnight backpacking. But it’s actually easier to reach than many of the other day hikes that we do.

We have done a lot of hiking in the Manzano Mountains, usually this time of year when it’s getting too cold at the higher elevations. Manzano Peak, at 10,000 feet, is the highest point, so temperatures are milder than the other mountains around Albuquerque. It’s also not a populated area and most of the time, like today, we are the only people on the trail.

Last month we did a 6-mile hike on the Keyser Mill Run Trail that goes up to the Crest Trail and back down. After we got home and looked more closely at a map we realized that it was less than a mile along the Crest Trail to reach the peak. So today we knew what to expect on the steep climb to the Crest, since we had already done that part. Then we were pleasantly surprised at the relatively easy section to the peak. The biggest surprise was the awesome view from the summit, even on this cloudy day.

Looking northwest.
Looking east.
Looking southwest.
Interesting heart-shaped rock.
Elevation profile of hike.
Click on map for interactive version.

Crane Watching

A favorite activity in Albuquerque this time of year is to find a field where the sandhill cranes have gathered for the day. Not only is it fun to watch them feeding and interacting with each other, but the sounds they make are quite distinctive and entertaining.

Watching and listening to a flock of them flying high overhead or coming in for a landing is another treat. This video shows them in a field. Next time I’ll try to capture a flight video.