A week ago we were at the tail end of our two-week road trip to Ohio and Michigan. The last day of driving was only a couple of hundred miles from Tucumcari to Albuquerque. We took some time to stop and visit two New Mexico destinations that we hadn’t yet seen-Ute Lake State Park and Conchas Lake State Park.
Both lakes are reservoirs on the Canadian River, in relatively flat terrain, where hiking trails are pretty much non-existent. Ute Lake had a nature trail along the lake that provided an enjoyable short walk, but mostly we were just sightseeing from the car. Today it was time to get out for some real hiking.
Lee wasn’t too thrilled with my suggestion that we hike the La Luz Trail. But, being the good sport that he is, he agreed with the plan. If you start at the trailhead, hike the 7 1/2 miles up to the tram, and then take the tram down, it’s another 2 miles of hiking to get from the tram back to your car. There wasn’t anyone we could impose upon to give us a ride and I wasn’t anxious to hike the extra distance. My solution was to use Uber to get back to our car after the hike.
Some might say that La Luz Trail is an expensive hike by the time that you buy tram tickets and pay Uber. But to me, it’s more than worth it. Couples wouldn’t think anything of paying an amount more than that for a dinner and movie date. And I enjoy that hike much more than any movie or concert or dinner date. There’s such variety on the trail. The views are awesome, especially the towering granite cliffs when you get closer to the top.
When you know it’s going to be high 90’s down in Albuquerque you start hiking early enough so that the first couple of miles before the tree line is done before the heat of the day. Then the trail begins to weave in and out of nice shady spots as it winds up the mountain. The section that goes multiple times across the big rock slide starts to get tiresome, but just when you think you can’t take any more, you come to the intersection with the side trail up to the Crest House and you know the worst is over. After a refreshing lunch break it’s an easy mile or so to the tram. And I enjoy that section because it parallels the tram line and you can hear the humming of the wires and watch the tram cars as they go up and down.
As much as we enjoy our trips to other places, it’s still good to be back in New Mexico.