Rail Yard Market, La Luz Trail and surprise encounters (Sam Donaldson and a rattler)  — Albuquerque 

As expected, The Rail Yard Market in downtown Albuquerque blew me away. Open seasonally, only on Sundays from 10 am to 2 pm, it’s a farmers market and crafts market inside a fantastic old Santa Fe Railroad building – an enormous brick, metal and glass structure with some busted windows to keep things authentic and almost seaglass-colored glass panes here and there — in various shades of green and yellow.  I found some great gifts (Ecuadorian jewelry, southwestern tea towels, green chili seasonings) and killer sticky buns and chili cornbread muffins at Burque Bakery.Dog with booties

Perhaps the best part was the people watching, lots of alternative types – multi-colored dreadlocks, vintage clothes, lots of tattoos and pierces, a Great Dane wearing booties.

Today we drove northeast (I am directionally challenged in this city) to the Sandia  foothills, where we went on a great hike on the La Luz Trail, once we found the trail head. Therein lies a tale. As we were driving in the foothills on a narrow winding road past a few large stucco homes, I spotted a silver haired man watering his lawn and asked if he knew where the trailhead was. He didn’t but he looked so familiar. I suddenly realized that he was a famous former TV reporter but couldn’t remember his name. In a few seconds as we were turning around in his drive, I blurted out. “Are you Sam Donaldson?” “Yes I am,” he responded. I mumbled something about appreciating his reporting and off we went. He covered the White House for years for ABC so I probably should have said I wished he was covering Trump.

Our other big encounter was with a rattlesnake, fortunately at the end of our hike. Another hiker spotted the rattler slithering across  the trail and gave us a heads up that it was in the brush at the edge of the trail but did not appear to be coiled or in strike mode so we assessed the situation and quickly walked past the brush. The  terrain reminded us a lot of our hikes in Tucson, with desert vegetation, orange and purple wild flowers and a glorious view of the mountains on our left and the valley spread out below, with downtown in the distance. One pleasant difference: the weather here is not as scalding hot as Tucson, 80s vs 100 plus weather.

One thing that has been irritating here is all the road construction, especially on Central Avenue. Driving is like an obstacle course at times with clogged streets, hard-to-discern rerouting, traffic jams. My relatives here are not happy about it and I can see why.

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Filed under Albuquerque, New Mexico

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