I'm almost ready to start the long trek home, but before I go I want to tell you about some scenic views that just can't be missed when you're down this way.
I took a morning off from ballooning last week, and drove the “Turquoise Trail” from Albuquerque (ABQ) to Santa Fe. Don't miss it!! Cutting north from Interstate 40, about 20 miles east of ABQ, SR 14 meanders along the high plateau on the east side of the Sandia Mountains, going through villages full of art galleries and Indian craft shops. But, I didn't stop at those – just can't take in any more.
BUT, I did take a 14 mile detour off SR 14 to the highest point of the Sandia Mountains - 10,700 feet above sea level, 5,000 feet above the valley floor along which runs the Rio Grande.
Unlike most mountain tops where the view is crowded by trees or other mountains, from this one you can see all the way to the western part of forever – according to the Automobile Club guide, the Sandia Crest panorama “encompasses 15,000 square miles”. That's a big lot of desert, mountains, city, volcanic cones . . . . And the road up to the Crest provides great views of the plateau and prairies to the East.
These photos are from the Fiesta toward the Sandia Crest; then
from the Crest looking west.
Take your telephoto lens; a tripod, lunch, and go!!
I paid only a brief visit to Santa Fe; walked through the Old To
wn main square which is much larger and more picturesque than that of ABQ. Local craft people sat on the porch floors of adobe buildings that line the square, selling their own silver and turquoise crafts. Evidently they have to be licensed as authen
tic to be there, and a lottery decides who gets a turn to sell.
I didn't do justice to touring either Santa Fe or ABQ – guess I'll have to come back :)
And, just so I don't forget why I came here, here's a photo of a morning "Mass Ascension" -
organized chaos, but beautiful, isn't it?