This morning I went hiking at Petroglyph National Monument. It’s got several trails, one of which is Rinconata Canyon. It’s not very long. It’s just 2.2 miles (4 km) and it’s a mostly flat and sandy trail. Albuquerque has had a lot of rain this summer and so areas that are often brown and dry are green and flowery.
I did not set out to walk this particular trail. I actually had gotten myself all packed last night and was planning on a day-long hike up La Luz Trail on the Sandia Mountains. I even went to bed last night really early so as to wake up and be at the trail head at sunrise (about 6:15). Unfortunately, I was not alone in my plans. About 400 runners were also at the trail head at sunrise, preparing for their yearly run up the mountain. No, no, no. I’ve never hiked La Luz and it’s not an easy hike. It’s very uphill along narrow paths and across a boulder field at some points. I had no interest in having runners shoving by me as I tried to hike up the 8 mile trail.
So, onward I went. And I ended up at Rinconata. I’d never hiked the canyon trail before and it was a really nice hour-long hike. Much less hiking than I had planned, and a lot less strenuous, but really nice. I’m hiking a lot more living here in the Southwest than I ever did living in the Midwest. There are simply more access points to well-maintained trails out in this part of the country, but also, I think there’s a culture of outdoorsy-ness out here that’s somewhat contagious. Although, most of my co-workers are decidedly indoor people, I think a lot of folks like to get out and explore the outdoors here. I’m trying to do more because in less than three months I am embarking on a hike across Spain. I’m planning to do the Camino de Santiago pilgrimmage. Not all of it, because I only have three weeks in which to walk, but I hope to get in about 200 miles of walking in those three weeks. So, I”m breaking in my hiking shoes, practicing walking with a hiking stick, and getting used to wearing my backpack.
Things I learned today:
- My shoes are good. My feet didn’t hurt.
- I started to get a blister on my hand from using the hiking pole. I’ll use a different one in Spain, but I might also need a glove or something.
- My water bottle sucks. It is incredibly difficult to get in and out of the side pocket of my backpack and I ended up trying to attach it to the outside of the pack and try hiking and that was awful, with it swinging all over with each step. So, I carried it most of the way. Not doing that for 200 miles. I need a smaller one. Maybe one made of metal that will slide easily into the pocket.
- My backpack is pretty comfortable, but I will definitely need to watch what I pack. It could get heavy really quickly.
- I need a very slim camera to fit into the pocket that is most easiest for me to reach for prime photo-taking opportunities.
- I need a tripod or something to help take photos of me + scenery. I don’t want a “selfie stick”. I want a real tripod or something equally professional/practical. I don’t want to have to be holding the camera at all to take the photo.
- My backpack doesn’t dump everything out when I forget to zip up a giant pocket in the back. When I finished my hike and got back to the car, I saw that I’d left one of the main pockets open and gaping the entire time. It had my trail mix in it and so wasn’t a huge deal, but I laughed at myself and thought it was good that nothing else was in there that might have fallen out.
Here’s some photos of the beauty that is Rinconata Canyon right now! Seriously, the rain this summer has made for some beautiful wildflowers and the entire high desert seems to be in bloom. Very picturesque!