30 walks (800x775)

March 24, 2015
by David Ryan
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Walking Albuquerque

A little less than a year ago Stephen Ausherman, author of 60 Hikes within 60 Miles: Albuquerque, asked me to go on a walk with him. He wanted to test one of the thirty city walks he was developing for the upcoming Wilderness Press book, Walking Albuquerque. (Wilderness Press has published several Walking “…” books for different cities across the country.)

Last year’s walk was in downtown Albuquerque and it was fantastic. The book, Walking Albuquerque: 30 Tours of the Duke City’s historic neighborhoods, ditch trails, urban nature, and public art, came out a little over two weeks ago, and I bought my copy on the first day it was available.

30 walks (800x775)

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This flight of 70 steps is like a grand staircase taking you up to the Castle.

March 5, 2015
by David Ryan
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Wandering to Stairways and Hot Springs in New Mexico

As we all know, we can walk the same path day after day and still wander into something new on every walk. But it’s also great to mix it up with something different. And that’s why ideas for new wandering adventures are important. They keep it fresh and make sure we get out the door.

Ideas can come from anywhere. Newspaper and magazine articles, or even a blog post like this, can lead to an idea. As an example, last Sunday an idea was served to me on a platter when I read, … climbs dozens of concrete steps daily from his home to his college office high atop a historic “castle”…, in the opening sentence of an article in the Sunday paper.

The “castle” in question happens to be Montezuma Castle near Las Vegas, New Mexico. This Las Vegas is on the east side of the mountains from Santa Fe, New Mexico and predates the more famous Las Vegas in Nevada by decades. Montezuma Castle was built as a luxury resort hotel with natural hot springs in the 1880s. The hotel and the surrounding grounds, including the hot springs, are now the campus of United World College.

I had visited the hot springs in the past and had seen the Castle from a distance, but I had no idea that there were significant stairways on the grounds. For those of us who like to soak in natural hot springs and explore stairways, it’s hard to imagine a better combination. Within two days of reading the article, the dogs and I were off to Las Vegas, New Mexico on a road trip.

When we reached Las Vegas we headed west of town toward the mountains. Within a few minutes we could see the Castle. Even though it was a chilly day, there were a few cars parked along the road and people soaking in the hot springs on the other side of the wire fence.

That's what the castle looks like when you first see it from the road.

That’s what the castle looks like when you first see it from the road.

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IMG_3932 (800x600)

February 17, 2015
by David Ryan
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Wandering Into Plan B

This past Saturday the dogs and I drove north to check out a tract of backcountry public land that we hadn’t visited in a couple of years. With the recent warm weather, we were hoping that the dirt road leading to our destination would be dry enough to drive.

When we reached the dirt road, we found it to be drivable but not in good shape. We made the turn and continued driving. In less than a mile we reached a patch of mud. Rather than risk getting stuck we turned around. We probably could have made it through that particular patch of mud, but we had no idea if it was the last patch of mud or the first of many. And it certainly wasn’t important enough to find out.

As you can see, the road was not in perfect condition.

As you can see, the road was not in perfect condition.

Here's where we turned back. With plenty of nearby snow waiting to melt, this section most likely would have had more mud later in the day!

Here’s where we turned back. With plenty of nearby snow waiting to melt, this section most likely would have had more mud later in the day!

We took the path of least resistance and moved on to Plan B. All we needed was for a Plan B to reveal itself to us. Continue Reading →