Monday, December 8, 2008

Seen from Sandia Crest - part 1

Since we stayed overnight in Albuquerque the first few nights of our vacation, we had the opportunity to drive up to Sandia Crest more than once. So the following photos are a scenic collection of those few trips we took. Sandia Crest is the highest point of Sandia Peak; the ski area is a thousand feet lower, and the aerial tram is also below the crest, located on the west side of the mountain. The crest is where one can see Albuquerque, the Rio Grande River running through the Duke City, and Mount Taylor to the west. To the east, one can see the high mesa that is the southernmost part of the Sangre de Cristo mountains. As you glance at the photos I will describe them more thoroughly. (Click on the images to enlarge them). Below is what one would find as they arrive in the parking lot. These are radio and microwave towers. Most or all radio and TV stations in Albuquerque have a tower up here on the crest since this is the highest point that will easily transmit for many miles.
This photo was taken with a 70mm lens to get an overview of what could be seen west of Sandia Crest. If you have enlarged the photo you can see downtown ABQ in the center.
Here is a shot taken at 300mm. Now you can definitely see downtown Albuquerque.
This is viewing the Rio Grande River on the north end of ABQ, better known as Los Ranchos de Albuquerque on this side (east side) of the river and Paradise Hills and Corrales on the west side of the river.
This shot was taken at 300mm, giving you a closer view of Paradise Hills on the west side of the river.
In the distance is Mount Taylor, the highest peak of the San Mateo mountains. This is about 80 miles west as the crow flies and reaching over 11,000 feet in elevation. Click on the link to learn more about this mountain which is considered sacred by the Navajos.
Here is another link to follow, giving you more detail and history about Mt. Taylor.
This is what I saw when looking east from Sandia Crest. The mountain in the foreground is called South Mountain. The flat area between South Mountain and the next mountain ridge is a couple of 7,000 ft high mesas. To the north it's called Wildhorse Mesa and to the south it's called El Cuevo Butte. And the mountain ridge in the distance is the southernmost end of the Sangre de Cristo mountains.
In the foreground beyond the trees there is a ridge named Monte Largo, and that is South Mountain behind it.
Here is another view of Albuquerque, the Duke City.
My next post will be photos of the birds I saw at the crest and just below the crest. Stay tuned!


Anonymous said...

I really must get back to Albuquerque some time. I've been there only once, more years ago than I want to admit, but loved it.

Linda in Erie said...

There is such a sense of space there. You photos captured that perfectly. There seems to be a lot of trees on Sandia Crest and along the river below. Is there a lot of agriculture in the valley?

Ruth's Photo Blog said...

Fascinating photos.I have spent a night in ABQ many years ago.Don't remember any of the area.Guess that would be reason enough to go back,or just enjoy the visit via your pictures.

Ruth said...

I seems funny to see all the coniferous trees in the foreground. I guess that is because of the elevation you were at.

Shellmo said...

I like being taken to these places I've never been before. Albuquerque seems so vast and beautiful!

Mary C said...

Hi Wren, were you in ABQ in the late '90s? I remember there was a medical librarians' conference there (possibly 1997), and I can't remember if it was MLA or south-central chapter. I did not attend, although I wish I had. Anyway, the city has grown, and I'm sure it would look a bit different to you now.

Hi Linda - good questions. The trees along the river are mostly cottonwood, and it's a lovely riparian environment, especially in comparison to the rest of the area which is quite arid. The trees on Sandia Crest and surrounding area is mostly pine forest. It's a lot like the rest of the Rocky Mountains, except this is a drier area and less elevation than you would find in the Colorado Rockies. As for agriculture, ABQ is not known for that industry. I know that just south of the city there is an area called Bosque Farms, and I think at one time this riparian area was lush enough to produce fruit and vegetables, but it was probably only enough for the city of ABQ back in the 1950s. Farther south, about 30 miles north of Las Cruces is Hatch, New Mexico. And that area is known for growing the famous green chiles New Mexico is known for.

Ruth, I'm so glad to show you and everyone else a little bit of "my" world, a place that I miss and always look forward to visiting. It is so vastly different from my Santa Clara valley here in California.

Ruth, yes, Sandia area is mountainous, thus the elevation and pine forest. It's so different from the rest of the area which is quite arid. Another exception is the Rio Grande River area. It's like an oasis in the "desert."

Hi Shelley, ABQ has its own beauty. As I mentioned before, it is like an oasis in the desert. It really isn't a desert, it's more like high plains/grasslands. What amazes me is that this area is pretty much the southernmost end of the Rocky Mountains, and it is certainly very different than the Colorado Rockies (where I lived back in the late 60s/early 70s). If I had a choice to live in Colorado or New Mexico I would choose New Mexico. Maybe I'm a "desert rat" and prefer drier climes. ;o)

Mary said...

Great views, Mary!

Red said...

I like posts with geography lessons :)

Looks like it was a tad hazy in the photos, but still, all blue skies!

Mary C said...

Mary, Red - thank you! Red, yes, it was a tad hazy that day. Actually, most days during cold or cooler weather brings on the haze. Some days there's even the thermal inversion (IOW smog). ;o)

Larry said...

Great scenery-You do a lot of traveling-good for you-enjoy life!


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