Stopping along the Summit Trail at the El Cerro de Los Lunas Open Space, Lee’s comment as we looked over the sprawl on the west side of Los Lunas was one word: “Cancer.” On the right and left side are newly built subdivisions with more land on both sides that is already being prepared for additional homes. The white buildings in the distance are part of the massive Facebook data center still under construction. Is all of this development a cancer or, as many would say, does it represent progress?
It all depends on your perspective. As retirees we are blessed with resources, health and free time to wander in open spaces. We don’t want suburbia to spoil our views. But for folks who need to raise a family and make a living their priority is jobs and housing. I’m thankful that there are ways to accommodate both perspectives. Somewhere along the line there were individuals with enough foresight to set aside this 1700 acres where we were hiking as a natural preserve with many opportunities for outdoor recreation.
It may not be the most exciting place to hike, especially this time of year when everything is brown and dry. But there are good views over the Rio Grande Valley: Albuquerque and the Sandias to the northeast, Manzano Mountains to the east, Mount Taylor to the west and the Ladrones and Magdalena Mountains to the south. The trails are well maintained and have enough elevation change to give a decent workout. Best of all, we were the only hikers out there today.
We decided to call today’s hike the “Summit Circuit.” The eroded volcanic cone that composes El Cerro de Los Lunas has three separate summits. On other hikes here we have been on the Western Summit, but today we did a loop that included the Northern Summit and the Central Summit.
There is a helpful trail map that the Village of Los Lunas has posted on this site. When we have hiked there in the past we have always started at the trailhead at the north end, which requires a long walk through empty desert before reaching El Cerro. The trail from the southeastern side doesn’t yet have an official trailhead but because the housing development being built on that side hasn’t yet been completed there are plenty of places to park in the empty future streets. We decided today to see what it was like to hike from that side.
It wasn’t clear where to start the official “Sunrise Trail” because of the many unofficial trails everywhere. But no problem always seeing where you are with so much open space. Maybe in the future there will be more funding to mark trails and designate trailheads. The progressive “cancer” that brings more houses and buildings also brings in more tax money for the village of Los Lunas, allowing them to improve their open spaces. Given that it is such a small community I think they have done a good job, so far.