Sunday, June 05, 2005

Sandia Peak

We got up, sleepy and stumbling around at 6 am and hurried to get out the door for our hike up Sandia Peak. We met my Uncle Lorenzo and he led us to the tramway, where we left his truck and then took our car to the trail head a bit up the road. We got the last space in the parking lot that wasn't occupied by cars or a prayer circle of religious-minded teenage hikers. Hey, kids, would Jesus block parking spots if it wasn't necessary? Hm?

So we took off up the trail, and for awhile it seemed pretty easy. It was uphill of course, and it would eventually top out over 10,000 feet, but when you're fit, it's just a matter of breathing properly. So I breathed and admired the scenery and views, breathed some more and pondered the gradual change in foliage from desert cactus to pine and aspen. I kept on breathing even as we got to where rockslides had covered the trail with nasty ankle-twisting rocks of all shapes and sizes. Grrr. Not fun. And then I nearly quit breathing as runners training for the annual Luz Trail Run went galloping past us like the rocks, the sheer dropoffs, the loose gravel, the tight switchbacks and the thin air were nothing at all. WTF? I was in awe.

We passed several stretches of those nasty rocks. How dare they make me think, breathe and climb uphill all at the same time? Incredibly, we even had to tramp through some snowy patches as we neared the top. Funny to be wearing a sleeveless top, feeling comfortable, yet find large patches of snow in the shade.

We finally reached the tramway at the summit, 7.8 miles and 3.5 hours after starting out and settled in gratefully to a snack of almonds and oranges. Then we bought tickets for the ride down, admiring the vistas all the way. Once off the mountain, we headed into town to see my cousin Chris, who had been spending the weekend with his parents but was heading back to El Paso in only an hour. We got to my aunt and uncle's house and were immediately introduced to their new dog-- a sweet greyhound named Tess whose coloration gave her the appearance of having borrowed a few eye makeup tips from Cleopatra. Tess had a visitor for the weekend, a little brown dog named Sadie who Chris was petsitting. The two made a funny Mutt and Jeff pair and frolicked around the yard while we all sat in the back sipping cokes and eating cupcakes.

We spent a pleasant hour visiting, but soon we all needed to go our separate directions (except my aunt and uncle of course, since it was their house). My aunt gave me a whirlwind tour of all the recent updates to their home (they redecorate more often than some people change their underwear) and told me about how she won $4K at an Indian casino after feeding $7 of a found $20 into a slot machine. No, Aunt Mercy, I'm still not tempted to go to a casino, but you do have a way with money! And what did she buy with her winnings? A fancy tool cabinet. No joke. She was the only girl among 7 boys and would rather go to Home Depot than Macy's any day.

Our visit over, Dan and I went to Whole Foods to pick up some deli food, since Dad was in Santa Fe. We got home, took a nap, then got up and had a nice dinner of chicken, veggies and salad. Then we watched the wild rabbits play and forage in the field until it got dark. We finished the day by staying up way too late watching Hotel Rwanda. I highly recommend it to anyone who hasn't seen it yet. Very moving and really makes you think about a whole lot of things.

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