After Alex and Ellen left, we finally made our way to the nearest pickleball courts, which are about 10 miles away. They have a very nice set-up at Manzano Mesa park, with 18 courts, each one with its own fence and bench. Outside of the courts is a big area of covered bleachers for viewing. As we walked in, the first person we saw was Dennis, one of our pickleball buddies from Jojoba Hills. He and his wife Debbie have a home in Albuquerque. We played a few games with him and another guy, then played a few more with some different people. We went back a few days later and found some other players who were similarly matched, so we had some good games. The Senior Olympics are here for two weeks so the courts are closed until later this week.
|Very impressive courts
Our next guests were George and Tina (and doggie Jax) from Hemet, CA, who were on their way from Silver City, NM to Cortez, CO. They stayed at the KOA just off I-40 and on the day they arrived we stopped by to visit after a great lunch at El Patron with Dennis and Debbie, and Murray and Nancy, also from Jojoba Hills, who were in town for a few days.
|Jim. Murray. Dennis, Deb, and Nancy, enjoying the margaritas
While George and Tina were here it was the hottest it's been so far, so we took a drive about 50 miles north to check out the Jemez Springs area and go for a hike in the cool forest. We did a 4 mile out and back to McCauley Springs, a very pleasant trek through the woods, which would have been a bit nicer if the thunder and lightning hadn't been approaching. Jim ended up turning around as he didn't want a repeat of the hailstorm we endured in Santa Fe a few weeks ago, but the rest of us pressed on and only got a few drops of rain.
|Surprisingly scenic red rock country near Jemez Springs.
On the way we stopped to check out Soda Dam hot springs, right alongside the road.
|Calcium carbonate deposits formed the dam
The trail to McCauley Springs is about 5 miles north of the small town of Jemez Springs at the Battleship Rock Picnic Area.
|Trail starts along the Jemez River
|Tina, Jax and George. Poor Jax kept getting picked on by bigger dogs along the trail.
We went on a Saturday so there were plenty of families and dogs in the springs and nobody seemed concerned about the thunder. There are several pools so the crowd was spread out, but we were not tempted. The water temperature is only around 89 degrees, so it's really a warm, not hot spring.
Except for a few days in the mid 90s, the weather in Albuquerque has been pretty nice and we've still been enjoying our morning neighborhood hikes and walks. The flowers are one benefit of spending summer in the high desert.
A cool front came through over the weekend so we took advantage of it and did a scenic 5 mile hike on a trail we hadn't been on, the Piedra Lisa trail just a few miles up the road. The first part of the trail looked down over this subdivision of large homes that are accessed from a private dirt road that continues on past the trailhead parking area. We could see plenty of solar panels on the houses and found out this is an off-grid neighborhood.
The trail climbed almost 1,200' up to 8,100' elevation. We could sure tell our bodies are not acclimated to hiking at higher elevations.
|Soon we entered the wildnerness
|This was huge.
|Found quite a few cacti blooming.
There were plenty of rocks and views to help us forget about the climb to get up there.
|Looking down on Albuquerque
We spoke with some locals at the top who told us the mountains haven't been this green in years.
|They call this rock formation The Pancake but we can't figure out why.
We had a couple days of smoke from the fire in Arizona's Tonto National Forest east of Phoenix but the wind shifted and it's cleared up quite a bit.
|Looking north towards Placitas and the Jemez Mountains in the hazy distance.
In other news, I think we've made a decision on a mattress and reclining loveseat. Our lease starts on July 1st, although we won't be in Fountain Hills until mid-August, but some of you may know that our friends Terry and LuAnn are already renting an apartment there and have graciously offered to accept deliveries for us so we will at least have a bed to sleep on and a place to sit when we get there. The rest can wait.
I'll leave you with this photo of handsome Luke on a bookcase in our bedroom. It's such fun having cats around the house again!