Archive for the ‘outdoors’ Category

We had a “staycation” last week.  We went camping high in the mountains near Santa Fe.  Camping up there was cooold, and we could have prepared better…but you don’t actually expect to sleep when camping.  We also toured a bit around Santa Fe.  There was a small labyrinth outside a cathedral there.  Of course, we had to stop by our favorite restaurant in Santa Fe, Tomasitas.  We noticed there was a new African style place called Jambo Cafe, but we neglected to try it…maybe next time.    We dropped by the Chuck Jones gallery.  Was he in New Mexico at some point?  Vanessa got to visit the Georgia O’Keefe museum that she’d wanted to see for a while.  On the way home from Santa Fe, we stopped by Tent Rock and Cochiti Lake.

We went to Cliff’s one day and had fun.  It’s a small amusement park here in Albuquerque.  It was fun aside from Sean having an “nausea incident” on the way home as a result of riding a looping ride 3 times before he left.  Loading up on greek food at the new Ahmo’s Deli probably didn’t help.

Later in the week, we went to my cousin’s wedding in Clovis and had a good time seeing cousins I hadn’t seen in quite a while.  We also played Love Letters.  It’s a cool little rule-based card game with only 16 cards.  Very simple to learn.

We’re having a lot of grasshoppers in northwest Albuquerque right now.  Here’s a video from the edge of our neighborhood.

Sean and I decided to bike to a new rock trail and tunnel near Unser and Rainbow.  I wisely chose a day with 30 mph winds to do it.  I had Kai in the bike trailer behind me.  At one point, I saw a sandstorm coming in from the west and though, “We’re going to be in trouble if we get caught in that.”  One minute later, we were in it.  I blocked the wind for Sean and the stinging sand blew all around us.  (Kai was fortunately fast asleep through it.)  We couldn’t see but a few feet and sandstorms are apparently full of static electricity, so we were getting little electric shocks all round.

This pond is out near our desert neighborhood for a brief time in the rainy season.

DesertPondKids

Me kids at the desert pond

This kid built a raft for the desert pond

This kid built a raft for the desert pond

DesertPondTriop

Found some reddish things in the pond…maybe triops?

I talked to a friend about raising bees today.  You can split the hives by taking out a queen and putting it in another hive.  Some sort of swarming happens and half the bees stay in the new one.  Meanwhile, you put a $25 queen in the old hive to take it over.  I may have some of the details incorrect here, but hey, this post only took 30 seconds.

We went to the zoo yesterday.  I had no idea apes were so gross.  Both the gorillas and the chimps were…well…what’s the grossest thing you could think of them doing?  Yeah, that’s what they were doing.

We met up with my brother at Pine Flat near Tijeras this weekend for a picnic and some mountain biking.  Horny toads are easy to catch. They’re slower than lizards.  Here’s a baby one we caught.

Anyway, biking down that trail is so much fun.  This is how I feel after biking down such a trail…


 

We went to Carlsbad Caverns this weekend.

  • The caves are beautiful and totally worth your time to see.
  • The bat departure at sunset can be disappointing.  The bats are silent and when we saw them, they flew out 30 at a time.  (Maybe sometimes there are larger waves, since there are about 200,000 bats in there.)  After a while it was too dark for some of us to see.  Anyway, don’t expect a roiling, screeching vortex of bats like you see in Batman…although you can expect to see Batman…or at least a guy in a Batman costume.
  • Only 2 out of 4 elevators are operational right now.  The others have not worked for 2 years (under repair).  Try to hike out of the cave before 3:30 or you’ll be in a huge line for the elevators to get out.
  • Get your hotel as far ahead of time as you can.  They book fast and it’s supply and demand after that.  Expect to pay $200 a night if you book the week of.

Apparently, mayflies live for about a day.  During that day, they swarm pretty badly, like so.  Click the image to enlarge.

I was curious where you could go near Albuquerque to buy and set off normal fireworks…as opposed to those sad little 4-foot fountains that are legal in Albuquerque.  As I recall my childhood, half the joy of fireworks was that they were loud, dangerous, and awesome.  According to this video, Moriarty is the place near Albuquerque for fireworks.  There are a couple of big fireworks stores there selling actual firecrackers, rockets, etc.  From what I can tell, they’re legal in Moriarty.  (Hey, they wouldn’t make laws that would destroy two large local businesses, would they?)  Of course, don’t bring such fireworks back into Albuquerque for legal reasons.

UPDATE:  Ah, I see that Moriarty will only allow you to set off fireworks in City Park.  Meh.