I flew into Albuquerque on Monday, and as the plane was making its descent, I figured the trip would be boring from a scenic perspective - all I could see was a flat brown expanse, cut by a narrow ribbon of green and gold around the Rio Grande. My initial frustration was reinforced by my getting lost between the airport and the hotel, despite the fact that I could see the hotel from the road. By overshooting my turn slightly, I ended up on the Interstate and had to circle back around. Twice. (I'm not bad with directions...really!)
After getting settled in, however, I began to enjoy the cooler temperatures and lower humidity. I also noticed some mountains off to the east, soft purples and roses in the coming dusk.
On Wednesday, my coworker and I drove out to those mountains, taking the Sandia Peak Tramway up to the peak, an elevation of 10,378 feet. The tram moved at a slow and steady pace, allowing us to survey the mountains from above. It's definitely not a trip for those with fear of heights, though - when the tram operator was asked at mid-span how far down it was, his reply was "about 7 seconds". Once at the top, we were rewarded with some rather breathtaking views. To the east, over some ski runs, we could see further mountains in the distance. To the south, the mountains were covered in a grey-green blanket of evergreens, with dusky purples and brilliant turquoises in the distance. And to the west, over the sprawl of Albuquerque, the fiery blaze of the sunset illuminating the clouds. I hadn't brought my own camera, but my coworker took the following picture:
That sight alone makes the trip worthwhile. And I'm definitely willing to travel out there again.
Other notes about the trip: