Posts Tagged ‘Sandia foothills’

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.

 

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.

My dogs are barking

August 5, 2020

Ordinarily if I’m enjoying this view it’s from the saddle of a bike,
not via shank’s mare.

Cycling has taken a back seat — actually, a garage hook — to hiking.

I don’t know why. Yet here I am, having hiked 20 miles in the past few days.

It seemed like a good idea at the time. Until this afternoon, when the legs and feet feel a tad abused for some reason, as though they had been et by a coyote and shit off a cliff.

The last couple days I’ve been hiking trails that I used to ride before The Bug came to town. The change in perspective is interesting. I’ve spotted social trails that I never noticed from the saddle, plus a few old fencelines that make me glad I didn’t major in Stringing Fence Up Steep Slopes.

Exploring an unfamiliar trail is a little easier because I don’t have to put a foot down and mumble, “Oh, shit, can’t ride that.”

Also, bits I’ve historically been unable to ride? I look at them on foot and think, “Why can’t I ride that?”

Dodging the clueless is likewise simpler. Almost nobody seems grounded in trail etiquette these days, or even schooled in the concept of a shared public space, so I just step aside and wave the dummies on.

What the hell? The world is full of dummies, and worse than dummies, too. You can’t clout them all with your hiking stick. Or you shouldn’t, anyway. You might break your stick.

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.

’Burb-ees

April 5, 2020

When a real-estate agent shows you a house near this view, you pull out your checkbook and ask, “How much did you say again?”

Looks can be deceiving.

At first glance, you might think, “Hey, O’Grady’s taken his social distancing back of beyond again.”

Hey, it’s not a speedy trail run, but at least I’m bipedal again.

Nope. I took this shot from  the east gutter of Camino de la Sierra NE, a wide suburban street that hugs the skirts of the Sandias, midway through a very pleasant 40-minute walk.

Six weeks after I broke my right ankle the limp is mostly gone, and the ankle itself feels like it’s regained a degree of stability. But I think it’s gonna be a while before I trust it to keep me upright in the boonies.

In the meantime, all things considered, a brisk stroll through the ’Burque ’burbs is a fine upgrade from a slow crutch around the house.

Some like it hot(ter)

June 20, 2019

No follow-up from the local media, but the fire near the Elena Gallegos area was reported to have covered more than 50 acres before it was contained.

Some douche(s) burned up one of my trails last week. You can’t take your eyes off these people for a minute.

Meanwhile, it’s 91 at 4:15 p.m., we’re enjoying a hazardous-weather outlook, a fire-weather watch, and an air-quality alert, and it’s not even summer yet.

The good news? Fireworks sales started today.

Officials with the Bernalillo County Fire Department recommend designating “a sober person” to be in charge of lighting fireworks, and keeping a bucket of water nearby. A word to the wise.

That Voodoo that I do

March 14, 2018

Remember the “Suburban Singletrack” video I posted a while back? This is a sequel of sorts that takes in some of the foothills trails south of Indian School Road. I threw in some northbound bits, too, including a rocky stretch that I usually reserve for running.

The Voodoo Nakisi taking a break before a fast downhill near the Elena Gallegos picnic area.

Different trails, different bike: Last time I rode the flat-bar, single-ring Voodoo Wazoo; this time it was the drop-bar, triple-ring Voodoo Nakisi.

What can I tell you? Sometimes it’s useful to have that 22×26 low end.

I’m particularly pleased to have been able to clean one sharp, rocky, left-hand hairpin that’s been confounding me regardless of the bike I’m riding. I’d been going wide, but turns out tight was right.

Who knew? Not me, brother. I’ve been dabbing on the sonofabitch for three years.

Next I’ll have to shoot some video of the Elena Gallegos trails, which I rode today. Those draw a bigger crowd. The trails, not the videos.

Route 66

February 9, 2018

Up in the air, Junior Birdman.

When it’s 66 degrees in February — 66! — you get the hell out of the house, chores be damned.

There was all manner of human-power transportation going on out there this afternoon. People cycling. People running. People walking. People walking dogs. Big people carrying little people.

You are cleared for landing on runway … well, actually, it’s a trail, but go ahead, put ‘er down.

And people flying. Not in airplanes, or like Superman, but still.

I noticed the hang gliders drifting around the Sandia foothills as I rolled away from El Rancho Pendejo, but soon got engrossed in my own little outing and forgot all about them until I was cresting a hill on the way home.

Zoom, there one was, right overhead, and if I’d had an actual camera with me instead of a phone, why, you’d be looking at a closeup of him right now.

Instead, you have to settle for this miserable phone shot of him preparing to land while his buddy continued to bank lazily overhead. I will never be smart.

But you knew that.

Making tracks

January 29, 2018

Yesterday kind of got away from me somehow. It never really did warm up as advertised. But I finally got out for a short spin, and for laughs I took a Shimano CM-1000 along for the ride.

These trails start two blocks (!) from El Rancho Pendejo, as part of the Casa Grande Linear Park, and you can take them south to within eyeshot of I-40.

They tend to crowd up pretty thick on weekends, but I must have hit the sweet spot, because there weren’t all that many other folks out and about.

The recording of the Orchestrion, a mechanical street organ at The Hague (not the album/concept by Pat Metheny), is by RTB45 at www.freesound.org.

On my uppers

August 30, 2017

Duke City as seen from the Sandia foothills.

I piddled away a bunch of daylight early yesterday doing bits of this and that, and come 10 a.m. I was in the mood for the great outdoors but not quite sure how to approach it.

Finally I loaded a Gregory day pack, pulled on my old Vasque Clarion boots and went for a short hike in the Sandia foothills. I have some marching to do next month, at Interbike, and it never hurts to refresh the old muscle memory, especially old muscles and old memory.

Shoes for industry.

Wise choice, as it turns out. On the way home my decrepit hiking boots performed what Herself, a former outdoor-equipment retailer, called “a de-lam’.” Both soles basically crumbled and peeled away at the heels.

“Sonofabitch,” I observed. “I’ve only had these boots since the elves made them for that down-on-his-luck cobbler, and what a steal they were, too. Or was it Elvis? Anyway, curses, etc.”

So home I flapped, like a nattily dressed hobo. And now I get to buy some new boots. I feel happier than Carrie Bradshaw with a Manolo Blahnik catalog.