Friday, April 13, 2012

Gallup, New Mexico

We were looking forward to staying at Red Rocks Park, near Gallup, New Mexico. Nestled in the shoulders of towering red sandstone cliffs, the campground offered spectacular scenery and access to great hiking and mountain biking trails. When we pulled in, the 200-site campground was empty. We pulled into a site with our rear window facing the beautiful scene:

Two more campers came in after us, and wouldn't you know, out of the entirety of the vast campground, they both settled in right near us. One almost directly behind us! Annoying! I know we're attractive and all, but please! Just a little space!

Anyway, the predominant and defining factor, by a huge margin, of our short stay in Gallup was wind. Wind so strong it rocked us with all jacks down, opening doors was difficult and scary, and the air was full of sand and grit. It was like being in a sand-blasting machine! Well, I imagine that it was like being in a sand-blasting machine - I haven't actually been in one... Anyway, it was brutal.

I took Toby for a walk anyway, but felt bad for him because the closer you got to the ground the higher the sand to air ratio. Also, we're back in goat-head territory - those pea-sized hardened and sharply pronged seeds. They pierce rubber and flesh. I pulled many out of Toby's poor tender foot pads. Thankfully they only grow near pavement, so as soon as we were a ways onto the trail it was just flying sand to deal with. And once we progressed up into the canyon, and gained some elevation, the wind became virtually sand-free. So, we had a nice hike in the middle, a little rough at the beginning and end.

In the morning we looked at the forecast. It was calm, but predicted to be even more windy for most of the day, and the following day was to be as windy but also very cold and snowing. So, we reluctantly chose to drive on the nicer day, to avoid driving to Sedona in blowing sleet and snow. Too bad, but I think it was the right choice. I know now that more than 5" of snow fell in Flagstaff, which is directly on our route.

So perhaps we'll find our way back to Gallup, and do justice to the hiking and biking opportunities there. Meanwhile, we've got an awesome week coming up, in Sedona, with our friends the Lawrences joining us! Very good times ahead!

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