Sunday, July 28, 2019

10K, Plaza to Plaza, and Catopia

But first, a few pics of our feathered friends through the windows.

Four is the most I've seen at one time.

I love the rufous but he isn't very nice to the others.

This Gambel's quail did a good job of keeping the hummers away from the feeder.

On the first 100 degree day in Albuquerque we took a drive back up to Sandia Crest for another hike, this time on the 10K trail, named for its starting elevation of 10,000'. It was short on views but long on shade, and in the mid 70s was a nice respite from the heat.

We went out the 10K trail.

Then made a 5 mile loop by coming back the Ellis trail, which was more open but still no views of anything but trees.

There were a few flowers and many Western Tiger Swallowtail butterflies.

Another day we decided to go to Old Town Albuquerque for our walk. I found an online brochure for a self-guided walking tour from the downtown Civic Plaza to Old Town Plaza. We decided to start at Old Town since there was a visitor center there that supposedly had the brochures for the walk. The couple working in the VC had no idea what I was talking about when I asked about the Plaza to Plaza walk, and they both said it was several miles and we wouldn't want to do that. I told them it was only 1.3 miles according to what I read, and the woman kept looking and finally found the brochure. The man then stated that he was 94 and didn't walk much anymore. They were cute but not very helpful.

This is the smaller plaza where the visitor center is located.

We saw this same Peruvian group, Amauta, the first time we visited Old Town ABQ in April, 2009.

San Felipe Neri church across from Old Town Plaza

Old Town Plaza, the official start of the walking tour.

One of the many historic old homes we saw along the way to downtown.

We passed through some interesting old neighborhoods that have been or are in the process of becoming gentrified, and then soon we were in the modern downtown Civic Plaza. We took a detour back to Old Town for a nice 4 mile walk.

Civic Plaza, with Hyatt Regency on the left.

City/County Government Center

Jim went back to the ophthalmologist a few days ago to get punctal plugs inserted in his tear ducts, and since the office was just a mile from Catopia Cat Cafe we had to stop by and check it out on the way home. What a great place, sort of like a group home for very adoptable cats from several local rescue organizations. It's $5 per person to go in and hang with cats for as long as you like. They have a small gift shop and cafe serving coffee, snacks, muffins, and cookies from a local vegan bakery, along with wifi, charging stations, games, puzzles and books. Worth checking out if you're a cat lover. 

They were setting up for a Painting with Cats class.

This one reminded us so much of one of our previous cats, Quincy.

It's a good thing we're still cat sitting and can't adopt one, because Poppy was the sweetest, most affectionate cat, and she has been declawed in the front. She will be adopted soon, I'm sure.

Sleeping buddies.

Most photogenic.

That's about it for now. We're down to a little over two weeks left of our house and catsitting job in Albuquerque. It's been fun.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Plenty To Do Around ABQ

Monsoon season has arrived

Things are going well with our house and catsitting job in Albuquerque. It's good we are parked in one place for a while as Jim had to have a tooth pulled a couple weeks ago, then about a week later had a corneal abrasion due to his dry eye issues and had to see an ophthalmologist. He's got follow up appointments for both over the next couple weeks. Yes, it is always something.

Anyone know what kind of hummingbird this is?

We are finding lots of things in the area to keep us busy besides the regular neighborhood walks, pickleball, and gym workouts. Looking for a different place to walk, one day we went to the campus of New Mexico University. Not only is it a lovely campus, but there are also several museums that are open to the public. We visited the anthropology museum and two art museums that had some nice works. 

A few scenes from around the campus.

Jim had to take it easy for a few days after his tooth extraction so one day we drove about 45 miles to the east side of the Sandia Mountains to the small towns of Madrid and Los Cerillos, located along the Turquoise Trail National Scenic Byway. Madrid (pronounced with the accent on Mad) is the oldest coal mining region in New Mexico, and Los Cerillos, just a few miles north, is known for its turquoise, gold, silver and lead mining. When the minerals were gone and the mines closed down, most of the residents also left, leaving them ghost towns. 

Main street of Los Cerillos

This was the only business open on a weekday, a small general store.

The village of Madrid is a bit more lively since it was revitalized in the 70s first by squatters and then by artists. Although it now consists mostly of galleries and shops, it still retains much of its historic charm. Also, a number of movies have been filmed here.

Madrid was once a bustling company town for the Albuquerque and Cerrillos Coal Company.

Atchinson, Topeka and Santa Fe steam engine.

An employee in one of the shops here told us there were a lot of Vietnam draft dodgers who squatted in the abandoned houses during the 70s.

We were impressed with most of the artwork we saw in the shops. 

With the temperatures heating up into the mid-90s, yesterday we drove up to Sandia Crest, the highest point in the Sandia Mountains. At 10,600' it was only in the mid-60s, perfect for a hike in the woods. 

We can see all these towers from the house.
Looking down on our neighborhood.

On a clear day, you can supposedly see for 100 miles.

Sandia Crest House Gift Shop and Cafe.

Back of the Crest House from the rocky Crest trail.

With dark clouds building in the sky, we decided to hike over to the tram station on the Crest trail, about 2 miles away.

We took a little detour to check out the Kiwanis Cabin, originally built out of wood by the Albuquerque Kiwanis Club in the 1920s. It burned down a couple years later and was replaced by another wooden structure that was destroyed by high winds a few years after that. In the 1930s they asked the Civilian Conservation Corps to build a new cabin, which they did in the summer of 1936, this time out of local limestone, that is still standing.

Quite a view from the cabin.

Continuing along the wooded trail the dark cloud over our heads began dropping rain on us. By the time we got to the tram it had turned to sleet, but at least no thunder and lightning.

It stopped raining shortly after we got to the tram, so we were able to sit outside on the deck and eat our lunch while watching the tram come and go.

The Kiwanis Cabin is on the high point across the canyon.

After seeing how many people they crammed on the tram we knew we had no interest in taking the ride.

The sky began growing dark again so we quickly hit the trail back to the car. Very loud thunder rolled around us, getting closer by the minute, but we made it back to the car after a fast two miles with most of it uphill, which made our lungs hurt at that elevation. It's really pretty up there so we hope to go back on a clearer day.

And that's about it for now from Albuquerque, where we'll be for another month. The cats are doing well and we love having them around. Here is sweet Keira laying with Jim on the bed while he reads.