Posts Tagged ‘Candelaria Bench Trail’

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.

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.

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.

Rocky road

August 14, 2020

As you can see from the Candelaria Bench Trail, there are already too many people driving around and about in Albuquerque.

I’ve never liked driving to a workout. Just point me to the nearest door that doesn’t have four wheels underneath and I’ll go right on through, have me a bit of fun.

Looking northwest, toward the Sandia Crest.

One of the selling points of El Rancho Pendejo was its proximity to dirt. Eastbound Comanche Road plows straight into Foothills Trail 365 just past Camino de la Sierra. And the Linear Trail is just a couple blocks to the west.

The LT, your basic manicured suburban crushed-granite path, is a better warmup for off-road cycling, as 365 includes a challenging rockpile I can’t ride just a few minutes down the trail, above Candelaria Road. That’s a good spot for a digger even while afoot, being sprinkled liberally with pea gravel.

But if I am afoot, 365 gives more bang for the buck. All manner of unmarked trails snake upward into the Sandias, where I can get a good long look at what a mess we’ve made of the Albuquerque Basin.

Glance north or east from the Candelaria Bench Trail and it’s easier on the eyes. But you can still see the houses creeping up the hills like very slow and expensive locusts.

There’s a trail. Right there. No, there. I’ve been up and down it.
Up is easier.

The trail starts off stupid-steep where Comanche meets the mountain, and it finishes in the same way, down by Candelaria. But in between there’s this pleasant grassy bench to explore.

Today Herself and I spent about 90 minutes bushwhacking around just below the bench, trying to find an easier route up the north side. No luck.

We did manage to startle a trio of fawns, who looked a lot more confident than we did navigating the cactus-studded hillside. For my part I was making liberal use of my Brazos walking stick, which I’m starting to think of as a portable ADA handrail.

You want something like that, maybe some stout gloves, and some heavy-duty canvas shorts for the southwest descent to 365. Earlier in the week I talked to another hiker who confessed to sliding down the steep bits on her butt.