Archive for the ‘Hiking’ Category

Bench press

April 9, 2021

The rocky wash leading to the bench between Comanche and Candelaria.

The old red flag was flying again today, so instead of cycling Herself and I scrambled into the neighboring Sandia foothills, working our way along bits and pieces of the Candelaria Bench Loop.

Herself bouldering upward. There’s a bit of singletrack off to her left but it’s a slippery sonofabitch.

It’s only a four-mile hike, but there’s a fair amount of vertical at the beginning and the end, much of it on crumbly gravel switchbacks lined with sharp rocks and cacti.

After the first steep, loose climb east of Comanche we stuck to a stair-stepped, boulder-studded wash that was a whole lot more fun than the narrow singletrack I took a digger on last year, slamming my left thigh into a big round rock.

Oddly, the winding descent to Trail 365 near Candelaria seemed less challenging than I remembered.

Once I met another hiker on that stretch who said she simply sat and slid down some of the steeper sections (glissading, for the aficionados among you). I’ve done this a time or two myself, but never on purpose, or without consequences.

Didn’t happen today, to either of us, so yay, etc.

And we didn’t see another single solitary soul, either. Unless you count the three circling crows who seemed to be tracking our cautious movements downward and providing an appropriate soundtrack. Haw … haw … haw.

Herself inspects the Greater Duke City Metropolitan Area
from the Candelaria bench.

Cold deck

March 16, 2021

This little canyon stair-steps up to the north off Foothills Trail 401.
A bit of bouldering is required in spots.

This is why I always shunned the casinos while in Sin City for Interbike.

I gambled on a nice long hike yesterday, betting that today would be better for the old bikey ridey.

Wrong.

Sure enough, something snuck in over the Sandias.

Yesterday was most enjoyable, two hours of up and down and all around, with a bit of light jogging thrown in here and there as the spirit moved. Rolled up the sleeves. Probably could’ve worn shorts.

Today I gnawed on a chilly wind from behind a handlebar for an hour and the nicest thing I can say about that is that I was not indoors. Long sleeves. The knickers and fingerless gloves proved unwise. Airborne allergens caressed my nostrils the way a peeler does a potato.

And now the weatherperson says snow is on the way? Snow? Who dealt this mess?

Git along, lil’ Dog-ie

March 13, 2021

Looks a little weatherish to the north
from just below the Candelaria Bench Trail.

In mid-March last year I had a hitch in my gitalong.

All I was good for was a short stroll with crutches, or a slightly longer spin on the stationary trainer. A Darth Gimp boot gripped the broken bone like an ankle monitor. Only the mind wandered freely.

Today, with the skies darkening, the wind thundering, and the pollen scattering, I almost — almost! — decided to stay indoors.

And then I remembered last March. So out I went.

I needed a thin watch cap, mask, hoodie, henley, pants, wool socks, and thin gloves, but still. Outside! On a trail! And a rocky one, too, even worse than the one that took me down last February.

Even jogged a few bits, just ’cause I could. What a difference a year makes.

Up near where the climb to the Candelaria Bench Trail steepens, I saw seven deer peering at me from across a ravine. They’ve been thick as rush-hour traffic around our place already this year, peppering The Compound with poop.

I’m not certain what they’re after down here in the ’burbs, before spring has actually sprung. But like most Americans deer will pretty much eat whatever is convenient. Free will is an illusion, at least for certain foods.

Speaking of airline travel, which we were not, do not expect to see me boarding a flight to anywhere anytime soon until (a) The Plague is over, and (2) the drunks have a clear idea where the toilet is.

The sky’s the limit

January 22, 2021

And the skies are not cloudy all day? Where’s the fun in that?

My man Hal Walter hasn’t been writing a ton lately. But when he settles down to it, he does a job of work.

His latest can be found over at Substack, a platform that helps free-range weirdos like Hal and me crank out whatever for a small fee. But you needn’t reach for your wallet quite yet — you can have a look around without signing up for a newsletter subscription.

I’m not certain that email newsletters are the way to go. Not for me, anyway. Unlike Hal, I’m fairly comfortable with the WordPress platform, and I’m not really interested in trying to make money off this little one-ring circus of mine.

Anyway, does anyone really need another newsletter cluttering up the in-box? That’s pretty much all I get anymore, or so it seems. I have to scroll a long way down the in-box to find an email from an actual human being.

Hal’s Substack presence is very much a work in progress — at the moment, it’s a blog without the email newsletter. But while you’re waiting on the mail, you might pop round to see what he’s nailed to the wall.

 

Wolf at the door, pig in a blanket

January 19, 2021

Low ceiling over Albuquerque.

The Big Bad Wolf must be in the ’hood. He spent the night huffin’, and puffin’, and tryin’ to blow our house down.

At one point I considered getting up to see if any windows or doors had been breached, because who needs deer, foxes, or the neighbor kids in the kitchen at breakfast?

Taking the long view.

But once I’m up, I’m generally up for good, so I just burrowed deeper into the covers and hoped the Wolf was after some other little piggie.

I saw it coming when I was out for a short hike yesterday, up the south side of the Candelaria Bench Trail. I didn’t go all the way up to the bench, because it was late in the day and I didn’t want to give Yahweh a free shot at me if He was thinking about pitching a few electrical fastballs.

There was only one other dude on the trail, a guy and his dog headed down.

“That’s Blue. Blue’s everybody’s friend,” the guy said, and Blue proved it by giving my outstretched hand a generous “How y’doin’?” slurp.

Alone again, I wandered around a bit, watching the clouds roll in, wishing I’d gotten an earlier start. I should really spend more time up here. Pack a lunch, bring a pad and pen, find a quiet spot in the rocks, get all pedestrian and analog for a spell. Flush out the headgear.

But yesterday was not the day. And neither is today. The Wolf is still testing the doors and windows.

Climb every mountain

December 15, 2020

The southern end of the Candelaria Bench Trail.

My work, such as it is, is done for the year.

Actually, I’ve already shipped the first cartoon of the New Year to Bicycle Retailer and Industry News. That hole in the back of the book won’t fill itself, after all. Especially since all the hate mail goes up front.

I should’ve celebrated with a bike ride, but I didn’t feel like pulling on all that winter kit, like some elderly knight gearing up for a quest. So instead I went for a short march through the foothills, figuring I’d finish breaking in the low-rise Merrell hikers I’ve mostly been using for street wear.

Looking west along Comanche.

El Rancho Pendejo sits at the bottom of a cul-de-sac and endures considerable shade on its eastern and southern sides, especially when the sun is low in the sky, so I always think it’s going to be colder outside than it really is. And our little weather station said 32 degrees with a brisk wind out of the north.

But once I got out in it I enjoyed myself immensely, in large part because it’s harder for the shit-flinging monkeys of the media to draw a bead on a moving target.

The lightweight boots felt great on the trail, so I scampered up a couple short climbs just for giggles. While I was up there I took a nice long sight along Comanche at all the country I haven’t been able to visit this year.

Hey, at least I was outside. Forty-five minutes, an hour, hour and a half … they’re not much, these little expeditions of mine, but they’re a whole lot better than nothing at all. A small thing, but oh, how very, very necessary.

And now that the vaccines are rolling out, maybe it won’t be long before the people who’ve been locked down for real, for months, in nursing homes, group residences, and assisted-living facilities, will be able to get a breath of fresh air. Even if they have to take it through a mask, in a wheelchair, on a sidewalk.

Take a hike

November 25, 2020

Looks dire, but it wasn’t. Lots better than being indoors.

Yesterday I noticed a neighbor marching around her back yard, doing laps NASCAR-style.

A fine COVID-safe practice, this. And a great way to stay out of the wind. Still, dull as daytime TV.

My dusty Merrell Moab 2 Mid Ventilators were just the ticket for a stove-up old stove wrangler.

Herself bundled up and went for a run. I was still enjoying the consequences of a four-mile run on Friday (the ankle said I overdid it).

And knowing that I’d be spending a lot of time on my feet preparing Thanksgiving dinner, because I am an eejit who will cook elaborately for two people to no particular purpose, I decided to take a short hike instead. Wearing boots, not running shoes.

The menu kept revising itself as I walked. My initial impulse — turkey burritos smothered in the Santa Fe School of Cooking’s green chile with a side of Tejal Rao’s arroz verde — felt a tad minimalist upon reflection.

What about turkey enchiladas smothered in red chile with sides of green chile stew and Martha Rose Shulman’s stir-fried succotash? If I made the enchilada filling the day before Thanksgiving, I thought, I could use a bit of it for tacos Wednesday night, which would give me an excuse to whip up a nice pico de gallo and the green rice.

I could also do the stew in advance, because it gets even better the next day. The red sauce, too.

Shoot, Turkey Day is starting to look like a walk in the park. Today, however, may be more like a four-mile run on a bum ankle.

Bag pipe and boots

November 1, 2020

Where the wisdom at? That’s what we’re out here for, right? Say, anybody hungry besides me? This fasting business sure gives a fella an appetite.

And yea, they did wander in the desert for 40 days and nights, or until lunchtime, whichever came first.

The weather was nice enough for cycling yesterday, but we decided to take a hike instead, and that was pretty a’ight too. Lots of maskless eejits about, which was not so nice, and goes a long way toward explaining why New Mexico hospitals are not lacking for customers.

Back at El Rancho Pendejo, we found our westward next-door neighbor had devised a COVID-compliant candy-delivery system in case any trick-or-treaters decided to roll the viral dice come nightfall. It was basically a long section of PVC, wrapped in colored lights and angled downward toward a bucket; he dropped the goodies in the upper end, the kiddos bagged them from the bucket. Pure genius. I should’ve taken a photo.

We kept our lights out and restricted candy distribution to his grandkids and the two squirts belonging to the eastern next-door neighbors. Our clientele included two cats, one cow, a fairy, a princess, and Wonder Woman. Everyone got the same treats, sealed in individual Ziploc bags with some cartoon decorations by Your Humble Narrator. Small-s socialism at its finest in the ol’ cul-de-sac.

Later we enjoyed a fine blue moon with red Mars for company. The moon was more impressive, which I considered a good omen, until the local pendejos started in with the gunshots and fireworks. Mars won’t give up without a fight.

Keep your hiking boots where you can find them in the dark. We won’t always have a full moon to light our path through the wilderness.

Out out out!

October 17, 2020

No disrespect intended to the men and women of the U.S. Postal Service, but this absentee ballot is being hand-delivered.

We have voted the rascals out. You’re welcome.

Yesterday we voted ourselves out, for a quick five-mile march through the foothills.

Walking the Dog. Photo: Herself

It was a brisk morning, and we didn’t get out until noonish, because the sun doesn’t clear the Sandias at Rancho Pendejo until sometime after 9 and we’re rarely in a rush unless Herself has a long list of chores to be accomplished, which come to think of it is almost always.

The Merrell Moab 2 Mid Ventilator boots have broken in nicely after about 20 miles of light hoofing, and this morning I planted one of them in Adolf Twitler’s oversized fundament, metaphorically speaking.

It’s my second try at kicking his fat butt; let’s hope this time it helps do the job.

If the boots get ’er done, I’ll buy a second pair, because it seems that every time I find footwear that suits my dogs, that model is instantaneously discontinued and replaced with some Nazi bondage gear.

There’s always the stick, of course. But I don’t think the SS boyos will let me anywhere near Adolf if I’m waving Ol’ Hickory around and screeching about going all Andy Jackson on his ass.

 

It’s a wash

October 7, 2020

The Granite Face on the Whitewash Trail is no place for an elderly fella with a dodgy ankle. But I’ll probably hike up the sonofabitch anyway.

Once I saw a young man yell “look” in the lobby and let his prick hang out; he closed his overcoat then and tried to run out the door, rather swirled clumsily in the revolving door. One woman screamed but most people shrugged.  Depressing. He needed help. A lock on his zipper for beginners. — Jim Harrison, “Wolf.”

Faced with the ceaseless weenie-wagging that constitutes our national politics it’s easy to forget that the world remains a remarkable place.

Yesterday during a brief hike in the Sandia foothills my iPhone hooted. It was a text from Apple advising me that it had received my MacBook Pro, shipped the previous day, and that the agreed-upon repairs would commence directly.

It was not that long ago that I would have had to wait until I got home and checked the answering machine to see whether the typewriter repairman had gotten around to my Royal manual yet.

Of course, my hip pocket was a quieter place back then, what with no mobile phone and a wallet that bordered on the anorexic; no matter how I stuffed it with money it always vomited it up somewhere.

And if I’d wanted to snap any photos during the hikes I was mostly not taking I would’ve had to pack along the Pentax MX camera I had acquired in a trade with an iffy acquaintance. I got the camera, some cash, and a bit of the old nose whiskey, and he got my S&W .41 Magnum (I was slightly overgunned at the time).

Later this gent would draw a short stretch at Club Fed in Texas, not far from where Apple is resolving the shortcomings of my MacBook. Not for anything involving the .41 Mag, or me, happily. Last I heard he had become a respectable citizen and taxpayer, a credit to society, just like Your Humble Narrator.

Time passes, and things change. For instance, it was probably fortunate for me that I shipped my MacBook in when I did. Just this morning MacRumors noted that this mid-2014 edition of the venerable 15-inch laptop will be added to Apple’s list of vintage and obsolete products come Halloween.

The 13-inch model I’m using to create this post is already on the list, as are all the other Macs in the house, save the iPhones and iPads. The 2014 MacBook Pros are supposed to remain eligible for service indefinitely, says MacRumors … “subject to parts availability.”

Boo. …