Wednesday, I interviewed for a job at the New Mexico Cancer Center, and then I hiked La Luz. It had only been 2 weeks since my last hike, but there were so many changes! Everything was in bloom, and the wildlife was different too. I was smarter this time and started at the Tram. I found the trailhead right away. It was big as big could be, just not where I exited last time. I lost the trail pretty quickly, as the runoffs looked much like the trail. I found myself going up some very steep rock and knew I had gone off the path, so I made my way down and found the trail again (thankfully). It’s a good 2.3-2.5 miles from the Tram to La Luz, but it joins it about a mile up from the trailhead. My butt started hurting around mile 2, but it just stayed hurting the whole time. My hamstrings got tighter as time went on, but it was still better than last time.
My first encounter with wildlife was the Cicadas. They were dive-bombing me, bouncing off my arms and head. They are really dumb things, and act like they are already half-dead. Thankfully, that didn’t last the whole time. Of course, the usual lizards skittered across the path here and there, and this time I saw a couple of chipmunks. Then, I saw this beautiful black, yellow and orange bird. (pic is in my slideshow). It just sat there and showed itself off to me for a bit. A little later, I saw a huge bluejay, but I couldn’t get a picture of it. Much later, I saw a huge yellow and black butterfly hanging off a flower. I stopped to get a picture, and before I could get much closer (pic in slideshow), a couple walked by and scared it away. A little later, I saw another of the same butterfly, and then a second met it. I stopped so as to not fall over as I watched them dance above my head…and then a third one joined them! By the time I got to opening my camera to shoot them, they were almost too far away….I zoomed out, and a bee kept circling my neck, which freaked me out, so I dropped my camera in the dirt…all opened up in full zoom. It looked bad, with dust all inside, but I blew on it, shook it gently, wiped it, etc, and now it is working alright. I worry about long-term though.
Anyhoo, the butterflies were amazing, and later there was a robin in the path. It just sat there while I slowly approached to take a pic. For a while, it would fly ahead, light on the path, look back at me, then move forward to the next stop. I don’t know if it was protecting a nest or not, just glad it didn’t dive bomb me. Last, I saw a black and grey butterfly, which I attempted pictures of, but they didn’t turn out too clear. He was hanging on in the wind, and I got really close, so close that it flew right at my face as if to light, realized I was not a happy place to land, and abruptly switched directions. That gave me a good chuckle.
I kept a good pace, felt like I was “understanding” the terrain a bit better, and I actually jogged much of the final mile, which starts out easy and fairly level (at least compared to the prior terrain), but the last half of that mile has some good inclines in it. I was happy to hike those sections, thank you very much. I could hardly walk when I got to the tram, but this time, I was actually done with my hike!
I had the privelege of seeing the tram maintenance guys get geared up and strapped at the top of the tram for the ride down. Interesting, to say the least. They reminded me of the Ghostbusters….a pretty comical bunch. I snapped a picture of one through the roof of the tram while he drank a Coke…. Hey, a Coke and a Smile!
I snapped some really nice photos this time….check them out below!