San Lorenzo Canyon

After another stop in a different part of the Cibola National Forest (where we were 'evicted' due to forest closure), we headed to Albuquerque to do some revenue producing work.  It's the first time we've been in a big city since leaving Phoenix in January.  I realized that, between living in the New York City area and Phoenix, this is the longest I've been away from a big city in nearly 20 years.  And it's glorious.  Don't miss it at all.  I do miss some of the stores, however.  When I first learned we were going to Albuquerque, my first thought was 'Oh, they must have a Trader Joe's! (alright fine, it was Total Wine I thought of first). And then, Sprouts and Whole Foods! So exciting!

I's always surreal coming back to 'the city', wherever that may be, after spending time in the wilderness. It's a bit overwhelming, really. Everyone is in such a rush. Why is everyone driving so fast? (Yes, this coming from a girl once quite comfortable zipping in and out of traffic in NYC). Not everyone is friendly. It's great to clean up, do some laundry, get some goodies and resupply - then leave.

Next stop: San Lorenzo Canyon. Perhaps our favorite so far of the sites we've found on freecampsites.net.  South of Albuquerque about an hour and half and backing up to the Sevilleta Wildlife Refuge, this little canyon is quite the treasure! We found a lovely campsite in a stand of Cottonwood trees near the end of this picturesque canyon full of sandstone cliffs, slot canyons, and hoodoos. The only thing that could make it better would be a creek nearby and a butler serving perfectly chilled martinis!

The hiking is really fun - there are many washes to explore, along with side canyons, slot canyons, and trails leading up out of the canyon, exposing wonderful views. In the side canyons and washes, there's little springs seeping out of the sandstone. The Grand Enchantment Trail, which goes from Phoenix to Albuquerque goes right through the canyon.

After one morning hike, our entertainment for the afternoon was a film crew out to do some Native American themed 'adult' filming! Fortunately, they went to the upper part of the canyon to film.

One of the equestrian guides for the film crew pointed out some desert bighorn sheep.  We also saw an owl and one snake - no rattlers, although with the springs and the grasses and nooks and crannies in the rocks, it felt like snake heaven. Then there was the beetle living under our tent...

As anyone who's spent time in the outdoors in the southwest can attest, camping in a canyon, in a dry wash or riverbed, is always a bit unnerving. Although we could tell it's been many years since this wash has completely flooded, we arrived the day after a big storm and could see where all the water was rushing down the various washes, draining into the canyon.

With a truck stop less than 10 miles away where we could replenish our water supply, we were able to stay here a week and half.  Were it not for the heat wave, we would have stayed longer in this lovely little canyon.