Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Hike to Rincon Ridge via Piedra Lisa Spring Trail

The Knife Edge of the Shield
The northern Sandias from the Rincon

View of rock formations from the Piedra Lisa Spring Trail
I'm still trying to hike on Sunday afternoons after church. Last Sunday, November 20, I hiked up the Piedra Lisa Spring Trail to Rincon Ridge, a 4-plus-mile hike (round-trip) that I'd wanted to do for some time but had put off due to (a) the long-ish drive required to get there, and (b) the lamentable $3.00 day-use fee that the USFS imposes on people parking at any of its trailheads.  (I remember when the USFS started charging what it originally called a "courtesy" fee [what a joke!]; the ranger I first spoke to about it told me the USFS was just "trying it out," but, alas, government regulation and taxation only ever seem to ratchet in one direction.)  Anyway, it was a great hike for me -- I loved the scenery and did passably well on the uphill leg; however, I've got to remember to take my trekking poles even on these shorter hikes, as the pounding I took on the way back down caused my lower back and hips to ache horribly.  The first picture above shows the "Knife Edge" of the Shield, the largest single rock face in the Sandias. (The "Knife Edge" is an increasingly popular route for thrill-seekers -- it's "Class 4" in rock-climbing terms but extremely exposed -- and several people have uploaded videos to Youtube showing some exciting jumps.)  The second picture is the view north from the Rincon, showing an aspect of the Sandias that is invisible from Albuquerque.  The last picture shows the "Needle," a large pinnacle, on the left, and the "Tombstone," a small formation that I climbed several times with Rod Williamson (most recently in 2002), in the middle.

The route