Sitting at this particular computer, I am faced with a map of the northern New Mexico Mountains; the southwestern point is Albuquerque, and the northern border is about ten miles over the Colorado state line.
As the map is topographical, it provides a great opportunity for placing oneself into the experience, with an imaginary journey through that beautiful area of our state.
Having driven through much of that area, at one time or another, and having been able to explore at least pieces of it on foot, it is easy to imagine the chance to explore further, to go hiking, riding, and otherwise enjoy this scenic and historic block of our state.
As you hopefully are aware of by now, 2012 is the centennial of New Mexico’s statehood, and a landmark therefore in our story. It would be a great time to become acquainted with some of the area in the map.
Growing up in western Pennsylvania, it was one of my goals to hike, or hike in part, the Appalachian Trail. Like many fluid goals in life, this one was achieved precisely in part; I was able to see and hike significant sections of the trail, but not all of it.
In the same manner, I believe it would be a great experience to walk, bike or drive as much of the Santa Fe trail, where it still is attainable, as possible.
I realize, as would anyone who looks at this or other maps, that the trail as it now exists is a compound of walkable, bikable, and places where a car would be a necessity, not a neatly groomed and specifically designated hiking trail like the Appalachian or Seacoast.
Nonetheless, I believe it would be do-able.
We have not had much winter, despite its auspicious start. At such times, or under such conditions, I get discouraged pretty quickly with the prospects of anything happening. In other words, my mind quickly jumps ahead to — “If we’re not going to have snow, then let’s get on with it.” (No, there really hasn’t been much snow in the northern area of the state, either, in the big picture.)
So — let’s get on with it. Celebrate the centennial by exploring the historic route into our state. Oil the hiking boots, gas up the car, graphite the bicycle gears, and get ready to discover.