A river runs through it! The first thing I normally do when I plan a trip is to look at a map of the place I’m going, to find the green spots. Nowadays, I also look them up on Google Earth to see how green they really are. (Green spots on regular maps have a way of turning out to be athletic fields or mown grass.) When I looked at the map of
, I knew immediately where I wanted to go to scratch my itch of exploring an urban wilderness. All along the Albuquerque , which bisects the city, runs a continuous band of parkland. (So many places would be poorer without undevelopable flood plains!) Rio Grande
By some fortuitous coincidence – call it fate, or just incredibly good luck – our bed & breakfast was just a couple hundred yards from the ribbon of green I’d seen on the map. I got up before dawn. The morning air was suffused with an odd and exhilarating mixture of frost and sage. Not in
I walked north until, relieved, I reached a footbridge. When I got across I discovered yet another, much wider irrigation canal between me and the bosque. I could now make out a paved path atop the berm. A jogger went by. I needed another bridge. So far, the riverside was far too urban, far from wilderness.
I did make it across, farther north, and I wasn’t disappointed. I discovered the source of that delightful scent, for the bosque floor was covered with sage and other brushy plants. All were rimed with predawn frost, which lent the scene an unearthly whitish blue-green cast. But it was the cottonwoods that I found truly captivating. Huge, widely spread, and delightfully twisted, they seemed to be caught, freeze-frame, in a kind of suspended animation. I never saw them move (the air was quite calm), but I swear, out of the corner of my eye it seemed as though they were dancing.
I walked for miles, reveling in the dance of the cottonwoods. The sun rose over the
When I reached the
To see additional photos of