Friday, May 23, 2014

Climbing Albuquerque mountains and volcanos -- toddler-style -- with a dose of adrenaline

Climbing the Sandia Mountains via the world's longest tramway (3 miles) to the summit at 10,300 ft!
A couple of nights ago, I finally watched The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. I knew when I first watched the preview in the movie theater that I would love it since it's about imagining adventure in your life and then making it happen.

As I watched the movie, I couldn't stop smiling thinking about the travel "risks" that I've taken over the years that turned into incredible experiences:
The movie reminded me of that wonderful yet scary feeling of adrenaline when you're in an unfamiliar place and you're wondering, "Am I crazy to do this or would it be crazy not to?"

In Albuquerque, I had a milder version of that feeling when I took the kids on the world's longest tramway up the Sandia Mountains to a peak more than 10,000 ft high. When I was researching things to do with the kids for the trip, I thought the tram would be so fun, particularly since I loved the one I went on in Hakone, Japan, near Mount Fuji. But, doing it alone with toddlers? Although I called and talked with the staff there and got advice from the Albuquerque visitor center and everyone said it would be fine, I still didn't sleep well the night before. 

The tram station was about 20 minutes from downtown and when we got there, there was a sign that said the weather at the mountaintop was 31 degrees (it was about 60 degrees in Albuquerque). What?! I asked if that was for the legit top of the mountain or where the tram was taking us and the man looked at me funny and said both were the same thing. Then he said it probably was closer to 45 degrees and he had to update the sign. Whew!

I put an extra layer of clothes on the kids and we were off! The staff and tourists were awesome since they let me keep our ginormous double stroller unfolded so I could better manage the kids.

The littlest mountain climbers atop the "North" Mountain. Elsa would be proud!
I'm so glad we went! The scenery was beautiful and Dylan LOVED the dips our car took each time we came up to one of the towers. Hilariously, he kept calling it the North Mountain (Frozen).

From the Sandia Mountains, we drove another 20 minutes to the National Petroglyph Monument, which stretches 17 miles across Albuquerque's west mesa throughout volcanic cliffs and canyons. The trails feature petroglyphs, rock picture carvings, on volcanic rocks dated 400 to 700 years ago made by Native Americans and Spanish settlers.

Toddler trail climbers at Boca Negra Canyon
We "hiked" as best we could along the trails at Boca Negra Canyon and admired the carvings of drums and animals. Definitely not stroller friendly since there are giant rocks in the middle of the trails, but we all still had a great time and even made friends with some lizards.



  1. Love seeing your update! I think you are amazing for all you do, especially setting your kids up with a spirit of travel adventure at an early age. :-)

  2. Thank you! You're so sweet for saying so -- and, for not thinking I'm crazy! :)