The minute the Greyhound pulled up into Albuquerque, a part of me fell in love with the mountains. It sounds weird I know, and it’s very difficult to explain but there is just something really spiritual and intense about being surrounded by these mountains in the distance. Having them as a constant backdrop to whatever you see or do in this city is like a continuous reminder of the beauty of the natural world. It is for that reason that yesterday was the most perfect day here in Albuquerque.
Our afternoon started visiting the Rio Grande Valley State Park, one of the lower (altitude-wise) points of the city. We went for a lovely sunshine accompanied walk around the trails to the river, spotting all sorts of wildlife, including the Great Horned Owl.
Following that serene time by the Rio Grande, we headed up to the Sandia Peak tramway. After almost a week of being surrounded by the mountains, I then got the chance to go up them. What an experience. The Sandia Peak stands at 10,378 feet, and allows for an 11,000 square mile panoramic view. You grab an aerial tramway up to the top which takes about 15 minutes, and that ride is an experience in itself.
We took the ride up the mountain in the daylight so we could see the mountain terrain, which started out as desert-y but then got more green and snow-capped the higher up the mountain we got.
Arriving at the peak my mind was just blown. I can’t describe how breathtakingly beautiful it was. Looking down on Albuquerque and around at the mountains, with a direct view of the sun cascading over them through an impossibly clear deep blue sky. It was the sight of a lifetime. But it was also very cold! We decided to grab an Irish coffee to warm up before the sun began to set.
Watching the sun descend in a sea or orange, blue and red over the mountains in the distance was one of the most incredible moments of my life. I felt on top of and above the world, watching nature at it’s absolute best. If is it true to say that the mountains of New Mexico have enchanted me, then watching the sunset from the top of them can only be called a spiritual experience. As the sunset and the light drained from the sky, the lights of Albuquerque started to sparkle and I was reminded of how small we all are in the scheme of things. Being on top of that mountain it was like time had stopped and we got a chance to witness civilisation from high above.
Our descent back to earth on the tramway was by darkness, with a spectacular view of the city lights and all I could think was that this experience alone made me feel like everything was worthwhile so that I could see this. All the risks I’ve taken to be here, all the hard times and all the good times were worth it to get to this point. Imagine how I’ll feel at the Grand Canyon next week.