La Luz Trail to La Luge!

La Luz Trail to La Luge!

How beautiful are the Sandia Mountains above Albuquerque?   A jaunt up the La Luz trail will be convincing.  On New Year’s day 2016, a layer of clouds capped the peaks and hung down to within 6 to 7 hundred feet of the trailhead.  Weather was cold, a few swirling breezes, low 20s, so I bundled up appropriately.  I parked 4 tenths of a mile below the trailhead in a free spot as there is a $3 state park fee.   The trail is steep and switchbacks are the norm for the La Luz trail which covers 4000 vertical in 7.7 miles to the top of the Sandia Crest.  The top was not my goal for this day but sometime this year it will be.   Feeling good, I turn on my Garmin GPS  to map the trail and maintain a slow steady pace.  Nine cars were in the parking lot which is always a good sign that locals use the trail regularly so it would be packed down at least for a distance as I had hoped.  Saw several people who were coming off the trail, from one serious hiker in major gear, from telescopic walking sticks, alpine boots, ski goggles and a south pole parka.  Others were hikers with not much clothing, street shoes, no gloves, no hats and probably did not go far.  A short jaunt to get the New Year started.


FEATURED BREWERY – Chama River Brewing Company  – chamariverbrewery.com  This place gets three thumbs up for the beer.   There were three stouts on draft, an imperial, rich and full of flavor,  a milk stout, softer and delicate than the imperial and so drinkable and their oatmeal stout, aka, the Sleeping Dog Stout, is  in between the other two but if blended with vanilla ice cream, with the chocolate and coffee overtones would make for one wonderful milkshake.  Great beer.  Their golden ale is refreshing, as I had come off the mountain run – I like to try something lighter.  It worked.  Next came the Copper John Pale Ale.  For a low IBU, the beer is an excellent balance and as their menu describes it, crisp.  On to the hoppiest, the Jackalope IPA.   IBUs of 80 satisfied my need for the lovely bitterness I needed and yet there is no lingering of too much hops.  Hops are reported to have anti inflammatory properties, which, after long runs, are used for medicinal and pleasure purposes.

 

 

 

Atalaya Mountain Run – Santa Fe

Atalaya  Mountain Run – Santa Fe

Atalaya Mountain Trail starts at St. Johns College at around 7300 feet and climbs to 9098.  Beautiful views of Santa Fe below and south.  Conquistadors climbed it in the 1500s as they explored New Mexico.  Looks close from college but it is 3.25 miles one way and the climb is 1800 vertical.  Worth it through the arroyos, the piñon juniper transition zones and up through ponderosa pine forests.  Viewpoints along the way are great for photo ops.  Trail is not heavily traveled due to its steepness.  Where to go for a beer afterward.  Why, 2nd Street Brewery of course!!  Two locations in Santa Fe but I go to the one in the Railyard as it is a two block walk from the  Sage Inn.  Good food and great beer!  Always a seasonal IPA  (Pivotal on draft last week – top notch ale) along with their regular IPA.  And a friendly, intelligent clientele and staff with whom to engage in intellectual and passionate conversation.

 

 

 

Arroyo Running and Bushwacking in New Mexico

Arroyo Running and Bushwacking in New Mexico

Running in Comanche Canyon near Ghost Ranch New Mexico offered interesting challenges.  The beauty of the desert is hard to cross because of the terrain and with no official trail.  However, that’s when it gets interesting!  Water finds its path of least resistance after a storm.  But with enough force, time and tools water will cut through rock to find its way downhill.  In July, a monster rain sent water crashing through this arroyo with a wall of water 10 -15 feet high in places on its way to Abiquiu Lake.  But Mother Nature recovers nicely as this Indian paintbrush flower shows growing out of a crevice in the rock.  It would have been under 5 to 6 feet of the torrent during the flood.  I placed the petrified poo rock as well as the heart rock bullseye beside the flower – both of which I found ‘upstream’.  There were places where I could not get through the arroyos as they were full of clutter.  But, trying to cross the desert surface offers its now perils.  This species of prickly pear wants to impale your toes.  The desert floor is covered with several other species of plants that can easily pierce human flesh and draw blood and screams!  To be continued…

Trails and Ales NM!

Trails and Ales NM!

IMG_2240New Mexico has breweries that rival all the well known beer states.  Santa Fe Brewing, Marble, La Cumbre Brewing Company to name three.  For brewpubs?  2nd Street in Santa Fe, Chama River in Albuquerque, Blue Corn in Santa Fe where amazing food and beer can be found in a state with amazing playgrounds for all trail sports!  Check out La Luz Trail in the Sandias, Santa Fe’s trail networks, Ghost Ranch trails, Cerro Pedernal – you will earn your cervezas climbing this hunk of rock.  Look for blog posts for Trail and Brewery/beer of the week in numerous states.  All coming as fast as I can run’em and drink’em!  Contributors are welcome – anyone who can play on a trail, match it with a local beer, write coherently (anyone who writes using the words awesome, epic, or uses the phrase ‘at the end of the day’ or end sentences with prepositions will be rejected.)  We welcome all forms of trails; hiking, running, biking, rivers, vertical rock, ski trails, ocean waves and any other place that qualifies as a trail.  Get creative, as Mother Nature did with this sunrise, a virga double rainbow at 6:07 in the morning at the Ghost Ranch, July 26, 2015.  Ran 7.6 miles later in the day and checked out the flash flood damage from 2 weeks prior up Box Canyon.  Amazing destruction or creation depending on how we look at what happened in the canyon.