Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Albuquerque, Continued

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.

Jemez River

Soda Springs

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.

Battleship Rock

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.

After the hike we stopped for lunch and a beer on the patio at Los Ojos Restaurant and Saloon, where we found a pretty good veggie burrito. It was a fun day and we enjoyed hanging out with George and Tina, and Jax who was very well behaved in the car and restaurant.

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!


  1. Nice company and neighborhood hikes. I like my soaking water closer to body temperature. Pretty kitty.

    1. The springs felt like lukewarm bathwater.
      Luke is a very sweet and good looking cat, but he sheds like crazy!

  2. It is amazing how green the entire west is this year...I love it! Looks like you are having a grand time in ABQ. It will be nice to get into the new place with a bed and recliners waiting for you!

    1. We're having a good time in Albuquerque but look forward to getting settled into our own place. Furniture shopping is not easy!

  3. Glad to see you enjoying your summer while cat sitting. You found some very interesting trails. That great that you made a decision on a mattress and sofa. I could just picture you and Jim with your MH chairs sitting in the apartment wondering what to do next. Haha!

    1. We're happy that there are miles and miles of trails around ABQ and that we can walk to some of them.
      You made us laugh about the chairs as we've thought the same thing!

  4. In north central New Mexico (your area) I always seem to see Polvadera Peak, to the point where it becomes my navigational lighthouse. It showed up in the background of the movie, "City Slickers."

    I hope you hike up it sometime and give a report.

    1. If it wasn't 100 miles from here we would take a day trip and give it a try. Sounds like about 3 miles to the summit with less than 1,000' elevation gain so doable. Another time perhaps.

  5. Those look like fabulous pickleball courts! Exciting changes ahead for you. So glad you finally figured out where you want to land for awhile out of your RV. Maybe we'll get to Fountain Hills again next winter. You two lead interesting, varied and full lives! :)

    1. They are really nice pickleball courts, very similar to the ones in Bend, OR.
      Change is good. Our 10+ years traveling around in the Lazy Daze was a wonderful adventure but we're ready for something new. Only time will tell if we're happy being more settled down, but we still plan to travel so we're hoping it will be the best of both worlds, like you two have.
      Hope to see you this winter!

  6. MFH has left a new comment on your post "At Ease in Albuquerque":

    Photo #16 is of the home of Erica Enyart, custom home designer/builder and major collector of Michelle Cook's (www.iac2.com) artwork. See: http://urbanecos.com/

    One of Erica's recent projects was designing and building a home in the Manzano Mountains for the Natl Forest supervisor who was in charge during the Hubbell Trading Post debacle. See: https://www.amazon.com/Case-Indian-Trader-National-Investigation/dp/0826348602 She, the supervisor, did her best to help Billy Malone.

    A synopsis of the issue and book: https://www.hcn.org/issues/43.7/a-misguided-investigation-ends-an-era-in-arizona

    1. Thanks for the interesting comment. I had not heard of the Hubbell Trading Post debacle. Now I have to read the book.
      We were intrigued by those off-grid houses. What a fantastic location they have! I'm sure Michelle's colorful art looks great in Erica's house.

  7. Love the rocks and water! Great pics of a beautiful area. Having a bed waiting for you makes it already feel more like home :-)