February 11, 2021
by David Ryan
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Hiking and Exploring in the Upper Rio Puerco Basin

The National Park-worthy landscapes of the Upper Rio Puerco basin are just inside the 60-mile radius limit from Albuquerque and are where Hikes 35, 36, 37, and 39 of the 3rd edition of 60 Hikes within 60 Miles: Albuquerque are located. The drive to Guadalupe Outlier (Hike 37) rivals California Highway 1 in being one of the most stunning drives in the country!

With most of the Upper Rio Puerco being public land administered by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), hiking and exploration options are much greater than the four hikes described in the book. The four hikes are meant to introduce you to this fantastic area.

Since none of the roads are paved and are sometimes very rough and with the area being extremely remote, you may want to try out the hikes described in the book before venturing out on your own. Several years ago a friend of mine and I went on a weekend bike camping trip through the basin and went twenty-four hours without seeing another vehicle or person. So please make sure that you are properly prepared.

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September 17, 2020
by David Ryan
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Wandering Around the Salt Lakes of Pinos Wells

If you’ve ever flown into Albuquerque from the east, you may have noticed the dozens of salt lakes on the east side of the mountains. Or, you may have seen some of those salt lakes while driving east of Willard, New Mexico on U.S. Highway 60. You may even have pulled off the highway there to read the historical marker and actually checked out the salt lake down below.

If you look across US Highway 60, you’ll see another salt lake.

And if you wait long enough, you’re guaranteed to see a freight train on the BNSF southern transcon line.

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August 13, 2020
by David Ryan
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Wandering Around Galena’s Washington Street Steps

Topping out at 252 steps, the Washington Street Steps is Galena’s tallest stairway. It is also the same stairway that Ulysses S. Grant climbed (in its prior wooden form) to get from his family’s leather business in the heart of Galena up to his home at the top of the bluff high above downtown Galena.

During the 1840s and 1850s, Galena in the far northwest corner of Illinois was a prosperous lead mining center and the commercial hub for the upper Midwest. When the mines played out and its river port silted up, Galena declined in importance and became a much smaller community. With its smaller role, there was no pressure to tear down buildings and replace them with larger and more modern structures. As a result, Galena has the finest collection of 1840s and 1850s architecture in the country. And it is because of its unique architecture and gorgeous setting that Galena has become a popular visitor destination.

Galena’s Washington Street steps are in the distance.

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