Shallow Thoughts : tags : hiking
Akkana's Musings on Open Source Computing and Technology, Science, and Nature.
Sun, 23 Jul 2017
This week's hike was to Nambé Lake, high in the Sangre de Cristos
above Santa Fe.
It's a gorgeous spot, a clear, shallow mountain lake surrounded by
steep rocky slopes up to Lake Peak and Santa Fe Baldy. I assume it's a
glacial cirque, though I can't seem to find any confirmation of that
There's a raucous local population of Clark's nutcrackers, a grey
relative of the jays (but different from the grey jay) renowned for
its fearlessness and curiosity. One of my hiking companions suggested
they'd take food from my hand if I offered. I broke off a bit of my
sandwich and offered it, and sure enough, a nutcracker flew right over.
Eventually we had three or four of them hanging around our lunch spot.
The rocky slopes are home to pikas, but they're shy and seldom seen.
We did see a couple of marmots in the rocks, and I caught a brief
glimpse of a small, squirrel-sized head that looked more grey than
brown like I'd expect from a rock squirrel. Was it a pika? I'll never know.
We also saw some great flowers. Photos:
[ 09:55 Jul 23, 2017
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Mon, 19 Sep 2016
Saturday, a friend led a group hike for the nature center from the
Caja del Rio down to the Rio Grande.
The Caja (literally "box", referring to the depth of White Rock
Canyon) is an area of national forest land west of Santa Fe, just
across the river from Bandelier and White Rock. Getting there involves
a lot of driving: first to Santa Fe, then out along increasingly dicey
dirt roads until the road looks too daunting and it's time to get out
From where we stopped, it was only about a six mile hike, but the
climb out is about 1100 feet and the day was unexpectedly hot and
sunny (a mixed blessing: if it had been rainy, our Rav4 might have
gotten stuck in mud on the way out). So it was a notable hike.
But well worth it: the views of Frijoles Canyon (in Bandelier)
were spectacular. We could see the lower Bandelier Falls, which I've
never seen before, since Bandelier's Falls Trail washed out below
the upper falls the summer before we moved here. Dave was convinced
he could see the upper falls too, but no one else was convinced,
though we could definitely see the red wall of the
in the canyon just below the upper falls.
We had lunch in a little grassy thicket by the Rio Grande, and we even
saw a few little frogs, well camouflaged against the dirt: you could
even see how their darker brown spots imitated the pebbles in the
sand, and we wouldn't have had a chance of spotting them if they
hadn't hopped. I believe these were canyon treefrogs (Hyla
arenicolor). It's always nice to see frogs -- they're not as
common as they used to be. We've heard canyon treefrogs at home
a few times on rainy evenings: they make a
strange ratcheting noise which I managed to record on my digital camera.
Of course, at noon on the Rio the frogs weren't making any noise:
just hanging around looking cute.
Sunday we drove around the Pojoaque Valley following their art
tour, then after coming home I worked on setting up a new sandblaster
to help with making my own art. The hardest and least fun part of
welded art is cleaning the metal of rust and paint, so it's exciting
to finally have a sandblaster to help with odd-shaped pieces like chains.
Then tonight was a flower walk in Pajarito Canyon, which is bursting
at the seams with flowers, especially purple aster, goldeneye,
Hooker's evening primrose and bahia. Now I'll sign off so I can catalog
my flower photos before I forget what's what.
[ 20:17 Sep 19, 2016
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Fri, 29 Apr 2016
I haven't posted in a while. Partly I was busy preparing for, enjoying,
then recovering from, a hiking trip to the Vermillion Cliffs,
on the Colorado River near the Arizona/Utah border.
We had no internet access there (no wi-fi at the hotel, and no data
on the cellphone). But we had some great hikes, and I saw my first
California Condors (they have a site where they release captive-bred
Photos (from the hikes, not the condors, which were too far away):
I've also been having fun welding more critters, including a
roadrunner, a puppy and a rattlesnake.
I'm learning how to weld small items,
like nail legs on spark plug dragonflies and scorpions, which tend
to melt at the MIG welder's lowest setting.
New Mexico's weather is being charmingly erratic (which is fairly usual):
we went for a hike exploring some unmapped cavate ruins, shivering in
the cold wind and occasionally getting lightly snowed upon. Then the
next day was a gloriously sunny hike out Deer Trap Mesa with clear
long-distance views of the mountains and mesas in all directions.
Today we had
-- someone recently introduced me to that term for what Dave
and I have been calling "snail" or "how" since it's a combination of
snow and hail, soft balls of hail like tiny snowballs. They turned the
back yard white for ten or fifteen minutes, but then the sun came out
for a bit and melted all the little snowballs.
But since it looks like much of today will be cloudy, it's a perfect
day to use up that leftover pork roast and fill the house with good
smells by making a batch of slow-cooker green chile posole.
[ 12:28 Apr 29, 2016
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