Friday, October 3, 2014

Red Rock Park Hiking, New Mexico

There are some long hikes at Red Rock Park, I spent two mornings on the most popular ones.  The first is shown above, called Church Rock.  I thought that was quite impressive, until the next day.  The next day I hiked up to Pyramid Rock.  I thought it would be just a hike to the base of the pyramid, similar to Church Rock.
 After about an hour of uphill hiking, I began to realize that the trail went further than I figured.  It seemed to go around the rock structure, and got steeper.  If there’s a trail, I typically go to the end, especially if there’s going to be a great view. 
Along the way, I found many rock formations such as the one shown below.  The base is red rock and the boulder perched on top is a totally different type of stone.  There were quite a few of them.
When I finally made it to the top, there was an area surrounded by boulders, many of them squared off.  The view from the top was spectacular.  I could see Church Rock off in the distance and was actually looking down at it.  I was on top of the highest structure for miles. 
After a while of taking photos and gazing at the wonderful scenery, I decided it was time to start my trip down.  I walked gingerly toward the edge where the trail started.  Keep in mind that I really don’t like heights and I get nervous when I’m within 12 feet of the edge.  It makes me nervous to see other people standing by the edges of cliffs.
 I made it down to an area in which I felt more comfortable.  For some reason, there were cairns, used as trail markers.  I hadn’t noticed them on the way up and wondered how I had missed them.  After about 10 minutes, I realized that somehow I had gotten on a different trail.  Apparently, when trails split, they aren’t marked except by cairns and unless you remember every turn, you can get lost.  I backtracked (going uphill again!) and found a familiar rock formation, and I knew I should be on the other side on the opposite ridge.  Instead of backtracking all the way, I decided to follow what looked like a trail down one ridge and up the other side.   Obviously, I wasn’t the only one who missed the turn.  Going down from the first ridge was easy (gravity helps).  Going up the other ridge was, of course, much steeper and longer.  Success!  I recognized the area and the trail on which I had hiked up.
I found the little guy in the photo above right in the middle of the trail and he was kind enough to sit and pose for me, obviously unfraid. 
The rest of the hike was easy downhill walking.  After 3 hours of hiking in the hills, I finally got to my truck to head home for lunch. 

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