This summer truly offered some great opportunities to get out and explore the beauty surrounding us. (Not that I advocate bottomless rock climbing per se, but hey, I'm not going to judge if you want to try if for yourself.)
I was lucky enough to be able to accompany my friend on her initial hike into the Manzanos to do research for one of her upcoming refugee wilderness program hikes. It was a beautiful drive a little more than an hour outside of Albuquerque, with mist laying in the low spots between trees and the sun shining a beautiful cerise halo through the smokey clouds as it showed its face to us for the first time that day.
The hike itself was lovely - up into the mountains through heavily wooded trails, with plenty of new plants to identify along the way. It was the first time that I'd seen so many maple trees in New Mexico, and look forward to re-visiting in the fall time when the trees will be brilliant shades of vermilion.
Read more about the refugee wilderness hikes here:
Sandia Crest is a beautiful overlook, allowing for dizzying views of the urban landscape far below, and when you turn around, a beautiful forest to explore. I'd never taken the trail north from the overlook. The imposing chain-link fence around tall communication towers distracted me from the small trail entry just to the east. This beautiful trail leads you on a gorgeous hike through the wilderness, with sweeping vistas, showing you exactly why New Mexico is aptly named 'The Land of Enchantment'.