Archive for the ‘outdoors’ Category

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.


Me kids at the desert pond

This kid built a raft for the desert pond

This kid built a raft for the desert pond


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.

This weekend, we went on a little trip to southern New Mexico in the Deming area.

We went on the tour of a ghost town, Shakespeare, NM.  It was named by an English miner who even called a couple of streets Stratford and Avon.  Buildings were small back then.  At one point, a guy tried to start a boom there by planting gems out in the desert.  People became suspicious when they found gems that wouldn’t be found in the area.

We also went to see City of Rocks…a bunch of tall rocks out in the middle of the desert.  Great place for hide-and-seek.

On the way back, we dropped by Elephant Butte lake and went swimming a little.  The water was great, once you got used to it.  If you’re taking a 2-wheel drive vehicle there, avoid the sand at all costs!  We got stuck a couple of times and I’m paranoid of driving through anything that looks like sand now.  Sadly, the main beach area is mainly crowded with huge RVs that take up as much space as possible.  Are all lakes like that?

We saw this dome house in Clovis and met the guys building it.  It’s made of foam, concrete, and re-bar.  They said that with all the foam they put in, you don’t have to turn on the heater for months after the weather gets cold.  It’s very good at holding heat, they said.  Those are people on the left to give you an idea of the scale.

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