Posts Tagged ‘Foothills Trail 365’

The fast, and the feast

November 24, 2022

Top o’ the world, ma!

“When out of sorts, walk a hundred miles,” wrote Jim Harrison.

I only managed a hair over six miles, but then I’m not a lionized poet, author, and screenwriter describing the perambulations of Doug Peacock in “The Fast,” written for Smart magazine and collected in “Just Before Dark.” I’m just a retired free-range rumormonger who felt a tad frazzled after a week of backwash from the abrupt departure of Herself the Elder.

She was not my mother, and I am spastic in financial matters weightier than a crisp Jackson in the wallet, so with sister-in-law Beth in town to backstop Herself I felt my place was in the kitchen, feeding the women to keep their strength up as they rassled various fiscal and familial alligators. I think Jimbo would’ve approved.

I baked, sliced, toasted, and buttered bread; scrambled eggs and cooked oatmeal; sliced apples and assembled sandwiches; and made turkey chili with red kidney beans, a more substantial chicken posole verde, pasta with a mildly spicy sauce of tomatoes, garlic, onion, chile, and black olives, and spread the leftover sauce onto prefab shells for pizza.

Not exactly the labors of Heracles. Nothing out of the ordinary, really. I’d have done most of this cookery anyway, just over a longer period of time. But with Herself fetching a head cold home from her visit to Maryland, and Beth occupying the spare room we use to confine Miss Mia Sopaipilla at night, what sleep I’ve been able to scrape together between cookery, cleanup, coughs, and meows has been less than restful.

When yesterday proved to be a beautiful day, I decided to get outdoors for a while. But with the brain firing erratically trail running seemed iffy and cycling positively suicidal.

Looking west from the corner of trails 365 and 365A.

So instead I grabbed my hickory stick and took a two-and-a-half-hour skull-flushing stroll along the hem of the Sandias to the edge of the Cibola wilderness and back again.

The universe mostly accommodated my desire for relaxation, solitude, peace, and quiet, perhaps with an assist from the Albuquerque Police Department.

The APD is disbanding its Open Space Unit, dispersing its four officers and one sergeant to the mean streets of The Duck! City, and giving police service aides the responsibility for locking and unlocking trailhead gates.

This changing of the guard isn’t supposed to happen until February 2023. But maybe someone missed the memo, because the three parking lots I passed on my hike were locked up tight and as a consequence the foothills trails were mostly empty. I took a small water bottle and my own sweet time and thought not at all about food.

This afternoon the sisters are taking a break from estate management and eBaying to whip up a raspberry cobbler. Once that’s squared away Beth will prepare lobster tails, I’ll tackle the salmon, spuds, and asparagus, and Herself may or may not do a small green salad. It’s been a long week, and she’s still not 100 percent. We’re all tired. So it goes.

If you observe the holiday, or even if you don’t, give your loved ones a little more gravy on their taters, maybe a bigger slice of pie. A little sugar, don’t you know. Don’t forget to raise a glass to any empty seats around the table.

“Salmon? Did someone mention salmon?”

Horsing around

September 7, 2021

A horse bypass leads to a saddle. Irony scratches her mosquito bites.

The day after a national holiday weekend is generally top notch for riding trail, if the weather permits. Everyone who hasn’t tripped the Bug-O-Meter® or gotten arrested for fleeing the fuzz is back to work, or school, and a fella has a little elbow room out there among the cacti and buzzworms.

But for some inexplicable reason I decided to take a hike instead. Go figure.

I got the traditional late start (O’Grady Standard Time), so with the sun up, the wind at my back, and a steady uphill trudge for most of the first hour or so, I was sweating like a sausage in a skillet, doffing my hat at intervals to mop the brain-case with a bandana.

Slouching up Trail 365 I turned for no good reason onto the Embudo Trail Horse Bypass, mainly because I’d never used it and was idly curious. Generally I loop around on 365A and head back down to El Rancho Pendejo.

The bypass wound upward to a ridge that overlooks Embudo Trail 193, and so did I. Thought briefly about following it down to where the two trails merge, but I didn’t know exactly where that was, or what the footing might be like after the monsoons. Plus I’d been out for 90 minutes already, probably sweated off all the sunscreen, and was down to about a half liter of water and a half tube of Clif Blox.

Hey, it was a trail for horses, not a horse’s ass. I turned around, whinnied, and hoofed it home.

Weather or not

April 28, 2021

The turnaround is at the bottom of that arroyo.

I looked out various windows, considered clothing options, added and subtracted layers, clapped on a sun hat, stuffed a North Face rain jacket into a day pack, then dropped the pack onto a chair, muttered, “Aw, fuck it,” and went out for a walk.

A glance to the north of where Comanche Road NE meets Trail 365 told me I probably should’ve left the sun hat on the chair and taken the pack, maybe given the rain jacket some gloves and galoshes for backup. The sky was blacker than that shrunken chunk of boiled batshit Tucker Carlson uses for a heart.

Too bad, so sad, I thought. Onward.

The view north after my U-turn.

Wasn’t long before I heard an occasional “pok” from the brim of my superfluous sun hat. Pok. Pok, pok. Pok, pokpok, pok. Etc.

I decided to pull a U down by the bridge. And as I turned to face the north without my North Face, I said: “Holy hell. I am gonna get wet.”

Now, this isn’t a long walk. Just under an hour depending upon how I want to do ’er. But all walks are long when it’s pissing down rain out of the north and you don’t have a Gore-Tex shell with hood concealed somewhere about your person. Just a stupid fucking sun hat.

Happily, it wasn’t raining quite yet. So I double-timed it, or maybe time-and-a-halfed it, jogging the uphills and flats. Hup hup hup. Try not to break another ankle, shit-for-brains. This time you’ll have to swim home.

About 30 seconds after I hit the door, boom. It started raining. For maybe a minute.

Shit. I don’t know why I keep holding on to this stupid fucking rain jacket.

Wash and rinse

September 1, 2020

Arroyo, with a side of agua fria, coming up.

I had just turned into the cul-de-sac when it started raining.

My timing couldn’t have been better. I had left El Rancho Pendejo 90 minutes earlier for a brisk morning march along various foothills trails, because the weather wizards were predicting thundershowers. And when I turned around, up by Embudo Dam, I saw that they did not lie.

The Sandman cometh.

So I cranked up the pace a bit as the skies darkened, and then darkened some more. The wind sprang up, as it will, out of the north. Onward.

Finally, just past Candelaria on Trail 365, I broke into a run. Or what I call a run, anyway. A runner might disagree, or perhaps just laugh out loud.

And then, boom, just as I got home, the skies opened up and pissed rain … for a solid minute. Maybe two.

Oh, well. In the desert, two minutes of rain is better than none.

Going up and back

July 12, 2020

This is the view from what I believe is the southern end
of that trail I couldn’t find.

The heat wave continues.

It was 100° here by noon, if you believe our weather station, which I’m not quite certain I do. Most of the other stations nearby were reporting mid- to high 90s.

But still, shit. Hot out there.

Nevertheless, the healthful outdoor exercise must go on. There’s a fat bastard around here somewhere, and he wants to be me. I gotta keep him down, the way Bruce Banner does the Hulk.

Mr. Sam Hillborne
with his new old pedals.

On Thursday I stalked around the Sandias trying to find an unmarked trail that supposedly loops around from Comanche to just north of Candelaria. No joy. Oh, there are plenty of trails up there, and I followed a few — more than a few, actually — as the sun smiled down upon me like a chef with his spatula.

One drew me into a shady, rocky area that smelled like cats. Not the kind you cuddle, either. So I got out of there and wandered back to and down Trail 365, to where this mystery trail is supposed to meet up with it on the south side, then backtracked a ways up the hillside.

Up on a ridgeline with a fine view of Albuquerque I saw what might be a path that could lead to the mystery trail. But by then my brain was thickening on a slow simmer and my ankle was muttering, “You know I’m gonna dump your dumb ass up here, right?” So I gave up and limped back to the rancheroo.

Old-school pedals.

The next day Mr. Sam Hillborne and I rolled out for a short one. The bike is now wearing MKS Sylvan touring pedals, deep steel toe clips, and some battered Alfredo Binda toe straps from my early cyclocross days. I hadn’t given them a spin, so off we went, in street shoes, baggy shorts and a red plaid Novara shirt that I almost never wear.

It was delightful, as you may have suspected. All my bikes save the Soma Double Cross sport clipless pedals, but it’s nice to take a short technological step back now and then. As with friction shifting, the pedal flip and slide comes back quickly. It’s just like riding a bicycle.

Breaking trail

April 28, 2020

Looking north along Trail 365 from below Piedra Lisa Arroyo, just east of Camino de la Sierra.

Closer to home, just south of Comanche.

Yesterday I took a brisk three-mile hike on the circuit that did for my ankle back in February.

I skipped the part of the loop where the actual injury occurred. Seems like there are more and more people out every day, as the temps inch upwards into the 70s and above, and I didn’t want to brush up against any plague carriers.

But damn, didn’t it feel nice to get off the asphalt and concrete for a change?

Refried

August 28, 2019

Mister Jones and me tell each other fairy tales on Trail 365.

Summer is leaving a few heat records behind as it lurches toward the off-ramp in a blue shroud of exhaust.

Even the space aliens are fleeing Roswell.

“Right, we’re off! Back to Vulcan, which should feel positively wintry by comparison. Live long and prosper. Or not.”

As I will never be smart, I pulled the Jones down from its hook and went kyoodling around the Elena Gallegos trails under the blazing sun. But there were plenty of other dummies impeding forward progress there, so I headed south for a quick inspection tour of Trails 365 and 365A.

Despite the heat the singletrack was crowded by vegetation, some of it spiky, and I found myself wishing I’d worn high-rise socks and maybe a pair of Kevlar shin guards. Perhaps 365 isn’t getting much use these days; I’ve noticed some similar narrowing of the trail between Candelaria and Comanche during my weekly runs. Makes it hard to spot the buzzworms until you’re right on top of ’em.

After a bit of lunch I went after my own vegetation with lawn mower and weed whacker, further enhancing my reputation for questionable decision-making. I was sweating like a Minnesota farmer in trouble with the bank and thinking seriously about ordering up a gravel truck and/or an airstrike.

At least there aren’t any hurricanes in the forecast. I don’t know that I’d care to surf the diversion channels down to the Rio Grande. I’d rather ride my bike.

Reynolds and rabbitbrush

October 22, 2018

Blue and yeller, ’crossin’ feller. The mango Steelman Eurocross is practically camo’ in the rabbitbrush until you lamp those electric-blue Mavic Open Pros.

Sailing over the Sandias

October 3, 2018

It was a warmish, slightly humid day, which must be fine for flying.

I was running through here earlier in the day and never thought to look up. Mostly I look down, for tarantulas, buzzworms and drunken Republicans.

This afternoon I cranked up the Vespa for a short runaround, just to keep the battery topped off, and as I putt-putted toward the Menaul trailhead I noticed orange windsocks fluttering in the parking lot.

Looking up, I saw a hang glider cutting didoes over the foothills, so I pulled over and snapped a couple pix with the old Canon S110.

Looks like fun, doesn’t it? But so does riding a cyclocross bike on Sandia singletrack, until you have that unexpected get-off.

There are lots of pointy bits down here on Planet Albuquerque, and as luck would have it I found one while running through this very area this morning.

A terrorist shrub stabbed me in the left shoulder blade with a broken limb as I lumbered through a rocky patch on Trail 365, my gaze focused on the water-scoured trail, which is studded with toe-grabbers, ankle-twisters and face-planters.

Maybe I would have been safer aloft. We’ll never know. I don’t even get big air on the bike.

Rocking out

August 28, 2018

Trail 365 near its intersection with Trail 230. One of the easy bits.

The road to Hell is paved with good intentions, they say.

I had every intention of shooting a bunch of video of the Jones SWB for Adventure Cyclist today. But there was a veritable horde of nimrods tramping around and about on my trails, cluttering up the background, so as I was about to continue my usual southward swing along Trail 365, in a snit, I abruptly veered north onto a rocky stretch that I was pretty sure I couldn’t ride.

The view from the 365-230 intersection. Yep, that’s the big bad city down there.

And I was right. But it was a giggle anyway, and a pleasant change of pace, not least because I had always let that northbound trail buffalo me into turning around. This time I went All! The! Way!

I am not much for technical trails, and absolutely worthless in rock gardens, but I managed to ride quite a bit of Trail 365 between Elena Gallegos and the water tank above the Sandia Tram. It’s not preposterously difficult for anyone who isn’t me, and as I came to understand that I could either do a lot of walking or sack up and ride, well, I managed to surprise myself a time or two on the lumpy bits. The 27.5+x3.0 Maxxis Chronicle tires sure helped, especially at around 15 psi.

And I saw exactly one other lunatic out there, riding the trail in the opposite direction. I yielded trail, we traded greetings, and that was that.

I saw exactly one big-ass rattlesnake, too. We did not pause in our travels to exchange compliments.

But the hell of it is I got so focused on trying to clean rocky sections that I only shot one short snippet of video. Now I gotta go ride the sonofabitch again.