May 21, 2013

This was my first hike with the ASCHG this year, although I had signed up for three earlier hikes with them but ended up having to cancel all three. The hike yesterday was in the Sandia Mountains at Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Drove up the east side of the Sandias until we got to the 10k Trail Head at an elevation of 9,968 feet. If it didn’t jump out at you, the 10k trail is so-named because it runs (generally) along the 10,000 foot contour line on a topo map.  After arriving at the trail head/parking area, the hike leader gave us a rundown on his hiking rules and we hit the trail!

This was a loop hike, so we started out on the 10k Trail and hiked 2.1 miles dropping about 600 feet in elevation at an average -3.1% grade. Then took the right cutoff to get on the Osha Loop Trail. Hiked the loop for 2.7 miles until we merged with the North Crest Trail at an elevation of about 9,900 feet, climbing about 760 feet at an average grade of 1.6%.

Hiked south on the North Crest Trail, made a short stop at Table Rock (?) Overlook, then on to the Del Agua Canyon Overlook where we stopped for lunch. After lunch, hiked south a short 0.1 miles to the 10K Trail cutoff. Then hiked the 10k Trail 0.4 miles until we got to the Survey Trail cutoff. Hiked the Survey Trail about 2 miles gaining 500 feet of elevation at a 3.7% grade. We then crossed the Sandia Crest Scenic Hwy. and continued south on the Survey Trail for a short 0.2 miles. Then took a shortcut about 300 feet down to a road owned by the ski resort, then up the ski resort road about the same distance where we took the cutoff to the Challenge Trail. Finally, followed the Challenge Trail about 0.7 miles at a -9.9%  grade to return to the trail head and our van.

Total hiking distance was about 8.4 miles and took 5 hours, 27 minutes. Actual hiking time, without stops, was 3 hours, 50 minutes. Total climbing for this hike was 1,720 feet.

Had a great time with a great group of people. If you do this hike, remember there is now a 10-hiker group limit in the Sandia Mountains. Break that rule and get caught, better get ready to pay a hefty fine!  😦

Bought a new camera — Canon 60D plus a Canon 24/2.8 lens. This is my first DSLR and this was my first hike using my new camera. Got a little snap-happy, but when I hike, I’m always snap-happy!! Although I still have a lot to learn, I think the pics turned out so much better than what I was getting with the little point-and-shoot camera I used to take with me. Didn’t get a chance to try out the video, maybe next hike. Now I need a new PC in order to edit the HD video!! 🙂

Click the first pic to start the manual slide show….