The weather was glorious, in the mid 60s, so we finally got our Sandia Mountain hike in, starting at the bottom, where the snow has melted (for now) rather than the snowy ice trail up top. And the temperature dropped only a degree or two as we climbed upward.
We walked for about two hours on the La Luz trail, fairly easy at the bottom but we gather it gets more challenging higher up. It’s a narrow dirt path with large rocks here and there, gently rising, with switchbacks. This was Millie’s first mountainside hike and we had to make sure she didn’t go over the edge which she tried to do at first but she quickly got the hang of it.
We had a fancy dinner, thanks to a generous gift from my aunt marking D’s birthday and retirement, at Campo at los Poblanos, a reservations-only “field-to-fork” restaurant at a beautiful historic inn/spa located on an organic (of course) farm in the Rio Grande River Valley, on the outskirts of ABQ which you enter by driving on a narrow road through a tunnel of tall cottonwood trees bordered by lavender fields.
After we were finally seated (we had to wait 40 minutes past our 7:30 reservation. I protested, and soon after we got a table, and our margaritas comped.), we had a lovely meal, a big hunk of steak for D and saffron spaghetti with mussels for me, a shared piece of flourless chocolate almond torte. Next time, we need to check out the inn, on a former ranch, which includes a historic hacienda designed by prominent NM architect John Gaw Meam, with beautiful 1930s “Territorial Revival” rooms (tin light fixtures , hand carved beams, hardwood floors, ironwork, hand plastered walls, fireplaces, period NM artwork) and newer rooms nearby (average March cost appears to be $367 a night). We have visited the “farm shop” in the past, which sells high-end “farm food”/baked goods and artisan/local maker personal care and home goods (“lavender peppermint blue corn body scrub”), some now sold at places like the Des Moines art center gift shop.
Two days after our balmy weather it snowed. Our second snow storm here in 3 weeks but it’s pretty. By early afternoon it was almost gone.
We were pleasantly surprised that the ancient markings on stones by Pueblo dwellers and Spaniards were so cool at Petroglyph National Monument, in western ABQ. We hiked an easy 2 miles on the dog-friendly Rinconada Trail in the late afternoon when the light was particularly dramatic, especially with the clouds parting over the now-snowy Sandia Mountains way to the east. The hike took us on a sandy path lining an edge of a canyon with huge black volcanic boulders. At forest we strained to find the ancient markings on the boulders but by mid trail, we were on a roll, finding markings, some clearly birds or sheep, others maybe symbols of some sort, on the boulders. When we returned to our car at 4:45 (the parking area closes at 5) a park ranger was already shutting some gates.