Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Trail Running With Moi (and Crap iPhone Photos)

The sky at 8 a.m., at the start of the run, looking south from the Three Gun (Tres Pistoles) Springs trailhead in the Sandia Mountains. I am cold. I know this won't last long. I know that soon, it will become yet again apparent to me that I am yet again overdressed. I take a moment to admire the sky and the view across I-40 (down there somewhere) to another mountain range, the Manzanos.
(And the nukes tucked away in their foothills.)

Looking north up Tres Pistoles, which begins at 6,500 feet in the Upper Sonoran Desert Life Zone. I am only 3.5 seconds into my run and already I am not running. This will turn out to be a pattern . . .

Hey, what are these Chihuahuan desert plant species doing here? (Obviously, NOT running.)

2,000 feet, 2.5 miles, and one Transition Zone later, I arrived here, in the middle of the Canadian zone, with its shift into piñon, juniper, and Ponderosa. And snow. Way up there in the distance, at 10,500 feet, that's the near-alpine, Hudsonian Zone. Brrrr!

 Moss covered granite boulder. It was so pretty, I wanted to hug it.

 Another granite slab, at 8,500 feet. All this used to be underwater. If you look closely at some of the rocks, you can see the remains of ancient sea creatures, frozen there for all time. For a second, I contemplated climbing on top, lying down, and . . . staying there. Let Great Spirit take my soul and return my body to the earth. Or, at the very least, bring it a cup of coffee and a donut.

Back down again, into the desert, to give my quads a rest along a (relatively) un-steep spur trail. I wonder if HR Giger ever hiked the Hawkwatch trail in the Sandia Moutains?

With rock formations like these, who needs pyramids?

Where was S.B.? He took a right turn at the Embudo Trail spur at 8,000 feet to run down the frontside of the mountain into Albuquerque, which you can see taunting me there in the sun-warmed distance. Down there, in all that sunshine, people were drinking coffee and eating donuts. Me, I drove down and around to pick S.B. up in the Jeep.

We did not get donuts.

* * *

Afterward, I finally realized why this trail is named Three Gun Springs. Because you need three guns to put yourself out of your misery: one to shoot yourself in the head for even thinking about running it, one to shoot yourself in the foot for actually attempting to run it, and one to shoot the ubiquitous piece of over-tanned beef jerky masquerading as a world champion trail runner who just passed you doing 80 mph with nary a water bottle or Gu in his clutches. Cougars don't bother attacking those guys because there is nothing there to sink their fangs into.


LẌ said...

Thanks for taking us out on the trail. I would be wheezing at those altitudes!

I worked for UNM for five years but never set foot in Alburqurque.

Anonymous said...

Gorgeous country you have to play in.


Buzz Kill said...

Tres Pistoles is a great name for a run. Was it just you and SB or were there other people with you? There's no way I'd ever be able to run this, but I would try hiking. Beautiful country.

moi said...

lx: I graduated college there. It's a beautiful campus. Too bad you didn't get to visit!

Serendipity: The Sandia mountains are a wonderful outdoor resource--reachable in 30-45 minutes from just about anywhere in the metro area. Several of its trails are world famous. The mountain supports downhill and xcountry skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, running, biking, and horseback riding. We're very, very lucky.

Buzz: No, just me and S.B. on a training run. But the lower portion of it is well traveled by hikers and runners and there were a lot of folks out that day. I'm ashamed to say that this was my first time. It's beautiful and I'll definitely go back to explore it further.

AL (Trailblazer) GORE said...

I invented the camera-phone. Best Buy is running an Ad with a bunch of nerds and one of them claims to be the inventor of the camera-phone. LIAR!

Anonymous said...

I looked up cougar attacks and you're correct. They seem to favor plump children. And America seems to be supplying them a target-rich environment.

moi said...

Al: You can't blaze that trail and you know it. Not with that chicken 'n' dumplin' gut of yours. But I tell you what, you lay off the nuggets, chubbette, and I'll whip you into shape for your next run at the Demobrat prez nod. Just don't be pinching my ass on the way up or I'll toss you to the cougars.

Troll: I was in the grocery store the other day and a toddler with the face of a five year old and the heft of a linebacker threw a fit because his mother wouldn't buy him a chocolate bar. She finally relented and stuffed the thing in his mouth to shut him up. There's our Obama-care, right there.

grins said...

You'd probably get a bang out of running through Red Rock or Garden of the Gods.

Wife's family raises quarter horses somewhere around Albuquerque. We moved because I couldn't spell it.

I could probably feed a mountain lions family of seven for a week, so lay off the tubby jokes or I'll never go back in the Mountains again.

That looked like an awesome run. You must be in pretty darn good shape.

Aunty Belle said...

Ya know? Thas' the best run I ever had! Din't even break a sweat--an' thas' mah kind of runnin'.

I like that granite slab wif' ancient sea creatures trapped in it--
but I does KNOW it would look better when viewed through a donut hole.

Left ya a comment one post back--how'd I miss that??

Jenny said...

I'm sorry the fires kept us from getting up into your beautiful world. Like Buzz, I'd be walking up that schnizz, so you know I think you're an awesome rocker grrrrrl for what you're able to do.

moi said...

Curm: I only poke fun at Al's expanse. He's such a blowhard.

Aunty: Everything in life is better viewed through a donut hole. Unless, of course, it's a filled donut. In which case, one would have a bit of a mess on one's hands.

Boxer: Yup, you all did unfortunately miss a big part of the awesomeness of being here. Boo. But that just means you'll have to come back!

sparringK9 said...

im dying for a donut. that sandcastle one from Top Pot. I loved this post!! What fun - you NMer's have the best names for things and the geological diversity -the trees and weird chihuahua cactus ...I smiled all through this trip. thanks, Moi

fishy said...

Well, I am impressed.
By women like you. Not the ones who obviously don't have real lives. For those other types it is clearly a full time obsession to become HSJerky.

Can I just mention even 'crap' pictures from an iPhone still astound me?

moi said...

K9: Life is simply not worth living without donuts. Unfortunately, pants are also not worth wearing WITH them. The geological diversity you mention is one of the reasons why I love it so much here. Top of the mountain, alpine; the base, Sonoran desert; then riparian at the river. It's just so wonderfully bizarre.

Fishy: I'm always on a teeter totter about my running. I am lucky enough to work at home and (usually) have the time to train. But sometimes training takes the joy out of running. But you can't be good at any sport without being a little bit obsessed about it. But, no, it's not my entire life :o)

Pam said...

Oooooh, you make me feel lazy. What a stretch of trail! Love the photos and the rock formations. Like you, they fascinate me with their little mollusk fossils. Can't you just imagine yourself as the Indians were hundreds of years ago? I'd hike it also. Not sure about the running.

moi said...

Pam: You bet. I think you and I both live in a place whose Native history is very much a part of the White present. I don’t want to put too romantic a spin on it, for their lives were brutal and short (and they were terrifying in battle), but there is much to be admired about the life of the plains Indian horse cultures. Anarchic, fierce, and boasting incredible physical and mental prowess, the only thing they followed was the movement of the buffalo and the change of the seasons.

There is a quote that is often attributed to Geronimo, but which was actually spoken by Comanche chief Ten Bears at the last peace treaty attempt between the Texans and the Kiowa, Apache, and Comanche in 1867, a most elegant rebuttal of the government's misguided attempts to relocate his people: “You have said that you want to put us on a reservation, to build us houses and make us medicine lodges. I do not want them. I was born on the prairies where the wind blew free and there was nothing to break the light of the sun. I was born where there were no enclosures."

I think it would be cool to know, if only for a little while, what it’s like to live like that.

Sharon Rudd said...

Thanks for the armchair run :) You know how much I love that sort of country. Thanks for taking us along!