Thank You New Mexico

IMG_4265I returned this weekend from a glorious time in the Land of Enchantment after speaking to the New Mexico Conclave in Albuquerque of federal, state, and tribal judges and lawyers. I stayed an extra day to hike in New Mexico, an area of unique and breathtaking trails. After looking forward for weeks to my planned hikes, I was crushed to fly into Albuquerque over a raging forest fire. In watching the massive fire from the plane I thought that my hiking plans were shot. I then learned that the temperatures would be in triple digits. Nevertheless, I was able to do two magnificent hikes and look a lot of pictures.

In Albuquerque, I stayed at the Marriott Pyramid and was fortunate enough to run into Michael Lakoff, the director of sales at the hotel. Michael came in as I was trying to print out alternative maps of trails away from the fire. He gave me some helpful suggestions. I went to grab a quick breakfast when Michael came over to the table to propose an alternative trail: the Tent Rock Monument trail about an hour north of the fires. He showed me wonderful pictures of his husband and his two boys on the trail as well as another equally breathtaking trail farther north. Marriott is fortunate to have Michael who researched directions and offered useful tips on doing the hike. I occasionally run into extraordinary staff at hotels who transform your stay. Michael Lakoff is that type of professional and Marriott is incredibly fortunate to have him. I know I was incredibly fortunate to meet him and discover the awesome Tent Rock trail.

The Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument is the ultimate combination of hiking and history. The distinctive cone-shaped tent rock formations are the result of volcanic eruptions 6 to 7 million years ago. The eruptions produced 1,000 feet of pumice, ash, and tuff deposits as well as pyroclasts (rock fragments). The event must have been truly apocalyptic with an incandescent avalanche called a “pyroclastic flow.”

It was spellbinding to wind through the rock formations and then hike to the top of the plateau. I started early when it was warm but not searing. By the time I reached my second hike, the Pino trial in the Sandia Mountains. Pino Trail is a 8.9 mile and starts with a slow climb in fairly desert-like conditions. At 101 degrees, it was punishing. The ranger at the entrance asked me not to wear ear buds because of the large number of rattlesnakes. Hikers sometimes do not hear the snakes and get bitten. I saw two rattlers on the trail. I was using my camelback and went through two gallons of water during the hikes. The Pino hike was one of the most difficult in terms of temperature that I have done. With near zero humidity, the temperature sucks the water out of your body and you have to continually drink to stay functional. This is an extremely hostile environment on such a hot day and you also have to continually reapply sun block. However, it was worth it in moving from the lower area into the mountain and to see the gradual change in trees and surroundings.

Here are some of the pictures from the hike:

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14 thoughts on “Thank You New Mexico

  1. Thanks for sharing those pictures. I was fortunate enough to live in Albuquerque for a few months back in 1993, for a contract job, and I totally enjoyed all the sightseeing I was able to do, which included some scenery similar to this. There’s a lot more of it you would enjoy if you can get out there again.

  2. Great pictures. I am an easterner (New York, GW law school grad (1976)) now firmly ensconced in the west. Live in the mountains of Colorado – but the desert of Utah, NM and AZ are the next best thing!

  3. I lived in NM for 25 years. Indeed a beautiful place. I worked for both the federal government and the State of New Mexico. A great but very poor state. It’s Koch bought Repugthuglican government, 10 times as corrupt as the old “patron” system, is ruining everything it can. Most of the land was long ago stolen from the indigenous people. I was fortunate to know and work with many from differing tribal nations. Pueblo and Jicarilla Apache.

    If you have the opportunity to visit again, please let me know. I can put you in touch with a member of Santa Domingo Pueblo that works for the Museum of New Mexico. A friend since 1973, she can show and tell you the history.

  4. Always appreciate the photos. These are some of the best. Looks like a new Cubs hat. Was Saul Goodman @ the conference?

    Kudos to you for pointing out Michael’s help. Marriott has been my go to hotel for business and pleasure for decades. They attract and keep good people. As much as any business, the hotel business is about service. I worked @ the Drake Hotel in Chicago and they prided themselves on service. It was always emphasized.

  5. Some remarkable photos. I find it amazing how evergreens can grow in those sandy narrow canyons. Wonderful shots of the petroglyph inside the cave and the spired trail’s namesake.

    Thanks for sharing them.

  6. Beautiful pictures. It looks straight out of a Western. And the flowering jumping cholla is beautiful.

    You have a lot of grit to persevere to find the beauty on trail when it’s over 100 out. That dry heat is hard, especially for those used to humidity.

    You do have to be careful of rattlers. We just killed the first one of the season yesterday. I hate killing them, but it was headed for my mare’s corral and I can’t take the risk she’d get bitten. It’s my one exception to my rule of coexist with the wildlife if you’re going to live in the country.

  7. Beautiful pictures, as usual. It looks like a fun and interesting hike. I love these pictures as much as your hike in Utah. Keep them coming…it’s good for your heart.

  8. Awesome photos. Thanks, Jonathan! They make me want to go for a walk. It is good to see your are able to work this kind of fun into your busy life.

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