Enchanted Trails

08 July 2008

Enchanted Trails

With a day free to spend exploring, we followed in the footsteps of John Wayne and crossed the Rio Grande into Albuquerque.

We headed first into Albuquerque’s Old Town district, picturesque but largely a mixture of tourist attracting cafes, souvenir shops and galleries. It was a pleasant day and the sun joined us for a while as we sat and took a high dose of caffeine with a mixture of double expressos and expresso chip ice-cream.

While we browsed in one gallery, a Native American woman arrived to see the owner. She was offering him beautiful bracelets made of silver and turquoise for only fifteen dollars each, far, far less than the marked prices in the gallery. He wasn’t interested, even though she offered to lower the price several times and she left, obviously to the next galleries and jewellery shops in the area. As most of the galleries we saw claimed to sell work from local artists and crafts people, presumably many of them Native American, it made me wonder how much power the (predominantly white) shop owners have over the livelihoods of local, native peoples.

From Old Town we headed north on I25, taking the Tramway exit off towards The Sandia Peak Tramway. Here we were following in the footsteps of Windhammer, Rob Weychert, who had inspired us to ride The World’s Longest Tramway 10,000 feet up into the Sandia Mountains.

The view from the mountains was breathtaking although the mid-afternoon light was a little hazy. There was a five minute window when the sun peeked through the clouds and transformed the view across Albuquerque and way beyond.

By Andy Clarke

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