Photo Challenge: Top of the Hill

In 2002, while we were still living in the Missouri Ozarks, I took a temporary assignment working in Albuquerque, New Mexico. We were very lucky in that the company that sent me there took care of all of our living expenses from food to car to housing. This was really luck for us since at the time we were barely getting by back in Missouri even paying only $190/month in rent.

Albuquerque had a lot to offer but the best part, for me, was being outside with Daegan. On weekends we would go Geocaching almost every day and when we didn’t we would often explore a new place from climbing dormant volcanoes to seeking out hot springs to visiting an actual ghost town.

Albuquerque rests in the shadow of Sandia Crest, 3255 metres high (10,679 feet), 5000 feet above the high desert of the city. After seeing it there so long, Daegan and I decided we were going to climb it.


The going was beautiful with a new vista around every corner. The ground was covered with desert plants and even though it was an August day the weather was not hot – just delightfully warm and dry.


As we got higher, the views became more dramatic and exciting.


You can see the city below in these two photos – we’ve come a long ways up!


After climbing about 2/3 of the way to the top we met a park ranger on his way down. He took one look at us in our shorts, sneakers, and T-shirts and said we should consider turning back as the weather was getting bad at the top and we weren’t dressed for it. As we looked up we could see the storm clouds amassing at the top. Wanting neither to end up drenched and hypothermic nor human lightning rods, we took their advice and headed back down. Today we would only see the top of the hill – we wouldn’t stand on it.


Thanks to Sue W for the inspiration of “Top of the Hill

11 thoughts on “Photo Challenge: Top of the Hill

  1. Such brilliant photographs, I hope you manage to get to the top one day! I’m glad you found our Weekly Prompts photo challenge and thank you for linking to us. 🙂

    1. Thanks so much! We did eventually drive up there. We’ve since moved far from there to Toronto. That said, the Southwestern US still holds a special spot in my heart as some of the most beautiful country I’ve ever spent time in. I hope to go back there again soon.

      1. I’m glad you finally got to the top. When you do get back to the South West you’ll have more lovely photos to share. I do so enjoy seeing photos from around the world, thank you.

    1. Thanks! It was a really beautiful place to live and the area around it is so varied. To the south was white sand desert, to the north were pine forests and massive obsidian boulders around hot springs, and to the west was a 1,000 year old Pueblo village, many dormant volcanoes, and if we drove several hours, the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley. It was a great place to be “stuck” for 18 months for sure.

    1. It is one of my favourite spots on the planet. And yes we could definitely have been better prepared. It is misleadingly simple to get there and the weather at the bottom was so good. It is easy to forget how different it can be near the summit.

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