Los Alamos Hike

Sunday, the traditional Memorial Day Weekend hike was on the schedule. Weren't really feeling up to anything too ambitious, and certainly not up for a lot of driving. A Los Alamos co-worker had passed along some directions to trails in the town; seemed easy to get to, plus, as we all know, I can't quite get enough of Los Alamos.

The directions were a little vague, but as it turns out, it wasn't like you could make a wrong turn. Behind the high school down a fire road, around there a bit, and we were on the trails. Starts off through some lightly forested area, then on the bridge over a gorge. Don't look down.

We skirted along an edge of the cliffs there, and then followed a trail that led down into the gorge.

Usually, on a hike, I like to avoid all signs of civilization, framing photographs accordingly, ignoring manmade sounds from around. Out there, though, we kept running into all sorts of pipelines, cables, pipes and such. Ordinarily, I'd be trying to pretend they weren't there, but it being Los Alamos, the combination of natural and industrial seemed to fit.


We took a break for some snacks at the bottom and then set back out.

The trails are kind of marked, but it wasn't clear how they all connected, or if they were loops. Thinking that it might meet up with what brought us down, we set out on a different trail. It was along another gorge that kind of ran perpendicular to our original route — and the change in orientation must've brought a change in the microclimate there, because it turned into something more like a New England sort of forest.

We turned around shortly, assuming that it wasn't going to loop us back to the beginning. Playing it safe, we backtracked all the way out.

Turns out, we were justified. Now that we know what to expect from the Los Alamos County Trail Network, we'll be a little better prepared next time. Though it might mean sacrificing some pleasant surprises.


Saturday night, we did some things we haven't done in years: saw a movie in a movie theater (there have been some at smaller venues like The Screen and CCA, but none at a big commercial venture since Bond in 06); and bought a new CD (there have been a couple used and the odd iTunes purchase here and there).

Iron Man was a decent amount of fun, the best Marvel's done yet (which may not be saying much). Dealt with the whole problem of showing an origin and then having another adventure briskly. Successful because it focused on Tony Stark, and Tony Stark was Robert Downey, Jr. No major plot holes, but a bunch of stuff kind of falls apart on further examination.

Last Night, the latest from Moby, is kind of a concept album. Aiming to condense 25 years of clubbing into one night, and condensing one night into an album. It finds him back at his techno roots; there's nothing really new here, but it does make for some good listening, even if that one night seems to involve a little too much cooling down to music that just fades into the background.


Also, there's been some goings-on over at Chamisa, including a couple from Sunday.


A Walk in the Snow

For this weekend, traditionally marking the beginning of summer, I got it in my head to see the last bit of snow up the mountains. It's been lingering up there, and after the cold and rain a couple days ago, we could swear there was a bit more.

Figured I might drive up to the ski basin, see the snow, and then go to Aspen Vista for a hike. But once I got up there, noticed people out hiking, including a couple with snowboards. So got my gear, my poles, and headed out with an eye to making it to the summit.

Started out the trail I saw the snowboarders head up; runs under one of the chair lifts, but it quickly got rocky and impassible. Ducked over to follow another lift, but soon I couldn't follow that either. So just worked my way over to the main run and followed that.

Mud and runoff lower, but at a certain point there was still a few inches of snow. Closer to the top, that's all there was to walk on. Granular and slippery, it got exponentially slower going, with the increase in grade and my fatigue. But made it to the top — 12,075 feet (not sure where I started) in about 45 minutes.

Breezy up there, but with an extra layer, nice enough to sit and have a snack. And I had the peak to myself, until a saw a figure walking down from the path up to the cell phone towers (even higher). He arrived at the ski lift, dropped his pack, and went to the edge to make a call.

Back down, about 30 minutes. That first part was pretty slippery, with plenty of sliding down the snow.


We spent the afternoon out hiking in Los Alamos yesterday; will post about that later. Off to Stacy and Jim's for a barbecue shortly.


Santa Fe Challenge; Also, Worms

This past week was Bike to Work Week. And it started out promising enough but it soon got cloudy, cold, and rainy for most of the week. Can't ever complain about the rain here, especially since this was the first precipitation we'd seen since that last little snow shower several weeks back. It all cleared and warmed in time for the Bike to Work Day gathering on the Plaza on Friday. This year, however, it turns out there were no burritos.

The NMFF had organized a tournament, the Santa Fe Challenge, to get an event going locally in the spring. I headed over to Santa Fe Prep for a couple hours on Friday night to help with the setup, and then back yesterday for the competition.

The foil, very civilized, was due to start after 2:00. Two epee tournaments started in the morning, one all-ages and one under-14. As expected, things were running late with those, and because I was caught just standing around, was drafted to referee one of the under-14 pools. Went well enough, and I think I worked most of my nervousness out there, instead of later in the actual foil bouting.

We eventually did start up, but there were continued delays as fencers were refereeing or still fencing in (sometimes both other) epee competitions. Our pool wound up waiting for three of our seven, drawing it out for a while. It meant lots of time to cool off and the muscles to fossilize, but it made for a much more leisurely, social event.


There were eight strips running in the main gym (left), and two of the foil, including mine, were in kind of a little cafeteria off the gym (right; my usual Monday night sparring partner Tony is lunging). Quieter, brighter, with chairs and tables all around, a nice scene out there.

Only won one, but felt I was fencing well. Mostly lost, I felt, on technique — knew what and when to do, just had a tough time putting it all together, the result of not enough foil practice. Gave some people a hard time, but was eliminated in the first round. By then, it was around 7:00, so I helped with some cleanup, then headed home.

So what was Monica doing all day? Building a compost bin!

We started a compost pile after moving in, but it was never contained and properly started. Went to the Farmers Market in the morning — their last temporary location before the completion of their new home in the Santa Fe Railyard — to buy worms.

Monica spent the afternoon getting straw bales from the feed store down the road, clearing out space for them and stacking them up, moving and turning over the compost, and getting our new invertebrate friends into their new home.


Show Opening

Not many posts recently, mostly 'cause there's not been much to post. There was some not-wellness for a while there, and then the boring stuff of life that's not worth writing about.

There was hanging about at True Believers for Free Comic Book Day, trying to give away copies of the group's new anthology. And we did spend a nice afternoon outside at J+J's, watching Audrey. Who doesn't like a picture of Audrey? Such a good dog.

Last night, went up to Museum Hill to Museum of Indian Arts and Culture for the preview party for Comic Art Indigène, an exhibit Monica's been working on (her, below, with the exhibit designer).

It's, unfortunately, kind of a small show. But the curator did a terrific job of pulling together connections between comics and native art, from the historical to the contemporary, that really show some interesting (and not always obvious) influences along with the wonderful art. Runs until January of 2009, so there's plenty of time to schedule a trip to see it.

Google it, and you'll find coverage all over the Web. But locally, The Santa Fe New Mexican has an article on the exhibit, and The Santa Fe Radio Café interviewed the curator.