This is a Confluence Point located on Tribal land. (Laguna Indian Reservation) I saw no signs that made me feel unwelcome. I thank the Laguna Pueblo for that privilege. It’s a relatively easy Confluence Point to get to but as usual, I wanted to make a hike out of it. From Albuquerque I headed on I-40 west to exit 140. This also happens to be the exit for “Route 66” Hotel and Casino, so after your hike you have a watering hole to celebrate a bagged CP.
I parked my car east of the hotel on a perimeter road and headed straight south for Latitude 35N. This was a 2.2 mile hike across flat open terrain. The terrain is actually a wide open arroyo for the Rio Puerco wash basin. There’s a mountain just to the east of the arroyo called “Cerro Colorado“ which I used as a visual reference during my hike. (It seems to stand alone, much like me.) Further east, and more predominate, are the Sandia Mountains located on the eastern side of Albuquerque. They stand majestic and at this time of year, snow covered at the higher elevations.
Once I reached 35N, I headed straight west for Longitude 107W. This was a 3.18 mile hike across slightly different terrain. The land ascended to rolling hills that were 200 feet or so higher in elevation than the Rio Puerco wash. These hills continued for a mile or so but then descended down into the “Canada de Los Apaches” arroyo wash basin. This is another broad wash basin that’s ¾ mile wide. This whole area is also open rangeland so you’re sure to see free roaming cattle. Once across the arroyo, I ascended again to rolling hills toward the CP. The weather started to turn for the worse. The forecast called for snow showers with gusty wind from the west. I got to within ¼ mile from the CP and it started to rain, which then turned to sleet, which then turned to snow. All precipitation was horizontal, how awesome is that? Of course under those conditions, I lost all visual reference to “Cerro Colorado” or the Sandia Mountains for that matter. . But no worries, in addition to my GPS, I carry a compass and a map. (Please tell me you do as well)
The Confluence point is located on a slight rise in a bit of a draw. The surrounding terrain is beautiful rolling hills with sporadic trees separated by rangeland grasses that have some low lying ground level cactus. Be careful of these cacti. The forward motion of your rear foot will catch the thorns on the top of your shoe. The thorns will penetrate sneakers quite easily. I took the required pictures of the zeroes and all the cardinal points. With the help of the Laguna Pueblo, the area in the pictures will remain the same for the foreseeable future. After the pictures, I had to take a stand on the lee side of a bushy tree for several minutes while waiting for the squall to pass. I’ll bet the temperature was 30 degrees warmer out from the wind driven snow.
I headed back to my car 3.57 miles away on a course of 55 degrees across rolling hills to the arroyo “Canada de Los Apaches”, then more rolling hills to Rio Pueblo wash. The weather had cleared to sunny skies but with a fair amount of wind. The wind chill was probably below freezing but the sun felt so warm. It was an awesome hike. There was nothing spectacular about the CP but then again, that’s what’s awesome about CP’s! You won’t find beaten paths or souvenir shops. CP’s are an open defiance to cultural conformity. You will find solitude and appreciation but don’t be like me, find someone to share it with. When my trip was complete, I had hiked 9.5 miles after all my meandering. There are easier ways to get to this CP. I guess it all depends on what you want to make of it. Whatever way chosen, the journey there is the adventure.
Wildlife seen….. cattle, crow and Jackrabbits. I still can’t believe the size of western Jackrabbits. I’m glad they don’t herd up and charge.