. . . I've been told that I write novels for email messages. Perhaps this is the way to go. I'll try to make each entry, or Gemstone, a "precious" one. On mediocre days, all I might be able to produce is a "semi-precious" entry. In any case, an entry might be a "neat" Gemstone--something that is uniquely mine.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Kwange Mesa Trail

Last Saturday I went on a run from my house to the end of Kwange Mesa and back (roughly 6 miles). I like this trail a lot because it is relatively flat and I can run most of the way (my record is 70 minutes). Another reason I like this trail is because the views at the end of the mesa are spectacular. I can see all across the Rio Grande Valley and beyond to the Sangre de Cristo Mountains on the other side of Santa Fe. (left photo taken of Barranca and Otowi Mesas toward the north; right photo taken of the Main Hill Road toward the east. You can see the shadow of the Sangre de Cristos in the distance)

Kwange Mesa is an offshoot of North Mesa with the homes on North Mesa. Kwange is a stretch of mesa that extends out from the stables so there are many horse riders on the trail with runners. Luckily, I think I run early enough in the mornings that the horses aren't out yet. Plus, there are two routes down the mesa: the "road" where the horses walk, and the actual hiking/running trail that hugs the southern side of the mesa before it merges with the road near the end.

Enjoy the views in the photos or better yet, go out on the trail yourself. (left photo taken of Otowi Mesa toward the north; center photo taken as looking west toward the Jemez Mountains with Barranca Mesa on the right; right photo looking south towards town and the tip of North Mesa)


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Canada Bonita/Guaje Canyon Trail Run

This morning's trail run began at the Cañada Bonita trailhead (#282) off of Camp May Road near the ski hill. I hiked up the hills but ran on the flat and downhill portions. The trail was beautiful, especially since everything was so green, lush, and damp after the rains we had the last couple of days. Wildflowers lined the trails. I took the cross country trail cutoff since I like it better than the actual Cañada Bonita Trail. It meanders through the trees and is much prettier than the direct route. After about a mile or so, the trail opens up to the meadow (Babelfish said that Cañada Bonita means "pretty gorge") and the trail rims the outside edge. At the top edge of the meadow the trail goes up over the mountain, becoming the Guaje Canyon Trail. I hiked and jogged that trail until I found a spot overlooking part of the Valle Caldera, the remains of a collapsed volcano that exploded 1.2 million years ago. From there, I headed left at the fork of the Pipeline Trail and the Guaje Canyon Trail and went another half a mile or so to another overlook (at 9600 feet) with a sheer drop beneath me. I sat there and contemplated life for a bit, enjoying the beauty around me. I ran a little more along the trail and
after the GPS said I went 3 miles, I turned around and jogged back, encountering 3 squirrels and a butterfly that I almost ended up eating. Six total miles along some of the most beautiful trails in the area. I'm so glad that the Cerro Grande fire missed this area when it burned through the area 9 years ago. I can't wait to do this run again in the fall, when the aspen trees have all turned their golden fall colors. It'll be so beautiful.

P.S. I was told that the Los Alamos Pajarito Trail Runs Festival in the fall follows the same route that I went on today, just a longer distance (a half marathon as well as the 10K I just did) before the turnaround spot.