Greetings from Albuquerque, New Mexico!

Two weeks ago, I attended a Department of Labor conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  I’ve driven through northeastern New Mexico many times on my trips home to Texas from when I was stationed at Malmstrom AFB, Great Falls, Montana.  And Brian and I spent a long weekend in Santa Fe at the opera several years ago.  But this was my first trip to Albuquerque.

I went out a day early so I could get some sightseeing and hiking in.  I started the day at Petroglyph National Monument, which offers several desert hikes.  I began with the Rinconada Canyon Trail hike.  It’s a fascinating mixture of desert landscapes, ancient lava fields, and Native American petroglyph carvings.  There were lots of small finch-like birds in little colonies among the rocks.  And I actually saw a tarantula, but it hid before I could get a photo.

Lava Field - Petroglyph National Monument - Albuquerque NM - October 2015

Lava Field – Petroglyph National Monument – Albuquerque NM – October 2015

Asters - Petroglyph National Monument - Albuquerque NM - October 2015

Asters – Petroglyph National Monument – Albuquerque NM – October 2015

Petroglyphs - Petroglyph National Monument - Albuquerque NM - October 2015

Petroglyphs – Petroglyph National Monument – Albuquerque NM – October 2015

Desert Wild Flower - Petroglyph National Monument - Albuquerque NM - October 2015

Desert Wild Flower – Petroglyph National Monument – Albuquerque NM – October 2015

Shamanic Petroglyph - Petroglyph National Monument - Albuquerque NM - October 2015

Shamanic Petroglyph – Petroglyph National Monument – Albuquerque NM – October 2015

This one is very interesting.  It was carved on an angle of the rock to give the face a 3-D effect.

3-D Petroglyph - Petroglyph National Monument - Albuquerque NM - October 2015

3-D Petroglyph – Petroglyph National Monument – Albuquerque NM – October 2015

Lava Rocks - Petroglyph National Monument - Albuquerque NM - October 2015

Lava Rocks – Petroglyph National Monument – Albuquerque NM – October 2015

Fantastical Figures - Petroglyph National Monument - Albuquerque NM - October 2015

Fantastical Figures – Petroglyph National Monument – Albuquerque NM – October 2015

After I finished at Rinconada Canyon Trail, I did the 5-mile hike at Three Sisters Volcanoes, also in Petroglyph National Monument.

JA Volcano - Petroglyph National Monument - Albuquerque NM - October 2015

JA Volcano – Petroglyph National Monument – Albuquerque NM – October 2015

'Starfish' Cactus - JA Volcano - Petroglyph National Monument - Albuquerque NM - October 2015

‘Starfish’ Cactus – JA Volcano – Petroglyph National Monument – Albuquerque NM – October 2015

Vulcan Volcano - Petroglyph National Monument - Albuquerque NM - October 2015

Vulcan Volcano – Petroglyph National Monument – Albuquerque NM – October 2015

Albuquerque and the Sandia Mountains - Albuquerque NM - October 2015

Albuquerque and the Sandia Mountains, from Black Volcano – Albuquerque NM – October 2015

Black Volcano Caldera - Petroglyph National Monument - Albuquerque NM - October 2015

Black Volcano Caldera – Petroglyph National Monument – Albuquerque NM – October 2015

New Mexico Vista - Albuquerque NM - October 2015

New Mexico Vista from Vulcan Volcano – Albuquerque NM – October 2015

After the Sisters, I changed terrains completely and hiked the “Five Hills of Death” trail in Tijeras, about 20 miles east of Albuquerque.  Isn’t that awesome?!?  How could one not want to hike something called the Five Hills of Death?  Luckily, I lived to tell the tale…

Fall Foliage - Five Hills of Death - Albuquerque NM - October 2015

Fall Foliage – Five Hills of Death – Tijeras NM – October 2015

Five Hills of Death - Albuquerque NM - October 2015

Five Hills of Death – Tijeras NM – October 2015

Trail - Five Hills of Death - Albuquerque NM - October 2015

Trail – Five Hills of Death – Tijeras NM – October 2015

A Hard Summer and a Promising Fall

It’s been awhile since I posted; it’s been a hard summer.  In September, we lost Annabelle to an aggressive cancer.  Fortunately, she didn’t linger, but we were certainly unprepared.

It’s been difficult to be in the garden without her companionship, but I can still see her patrolling the yard and desperately, but unsuccessfully, trying to marshal the squirrels.

Here’s how I like to remember her…

Our road trip to Canada in 2004 – she had just turned a year old…

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Annabelle – Johnston Canyon, Banff, Alberta, Canada – August 2004

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Annabelle – Johnston Canyon, Banff, Alberta, Canada – August 2004

Annabelle in her backyard…

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Annabelle’s Back Yard – Austin, Texas

Annabelle and Halloween – the kids just loved her…

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A tired cowgirl – Halloween 2009

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A pirate ready for the little kids – Halloween 2010

About a month ago, we dived in and got a puppy – Gus.  Gus is a short-haired Brussels Griffon.  The short-haireds are also known as Petit Brabançon.  He just graduated – barely – from puppy Kindergarten, but he’s generally getting by on his looks at this point.

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Gus at 9 weeks – First visit to the vet – October 2015

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Gus at 10 weeks – chillaxing – October 2015