As of today, my five days in Albuquerque, New Mexico have come to an end. My original plan was to stay for six days, but I shortened my stay by one day and decided to spend one night in Gallup, New Mexico, which is on the way to my next major destination, Flagstaff, Arizona. I did this for two main reasons, the first being that I wanted to break up the monotony of my drive by cutting it in half and doing it over two days instead of one, and the second reason being that I wasn’t really that big of a fan of my hotel room.
You might already know this, but I have a very acute and sensitive sense of smell. If there’s mold, mildew, or mustiness in an area, I’ll notice it immediately, no matter how subtle it is, and if I’m in the area for too long, I’ll start getting headaches. This was a massive problem back in St. George, Utah when the air conditioner spewed out a horrible smell of mold and mildew akin to dirty gym shoes, and the curtains had some strange musty, metallic odor to them. Since then, I’ve been much more careful about picking out newer hotels, and generally haven’t had this problem anymore.
That is, until Albuquerque. This was clearly an older hotel, and it wasn’t really maintained the best, so my room smelled very musty when I arrived. I intentionally picked the full-service corporate-run Marriott Albuquerque so I could have a nice view, enjoy free beverages and snacks in the lounge, and have a nicer stay. Although I had an amazing view out of floor-to-ceiling windows, the lounge was still closed due to being short-staffed from the pandemic, and the room was clearly dated and a little bit rough around the edges.
With all that considered, I figured that it wasn’t worth the extra cost to stay at this hotel, so I decided to leave a day early, which not only gave me an opportunity explore another city for a day, but also saved me a little bit, because I booked a SpringHill Suites instead. (Just to be clear, the Marriotts branded as just “Marriott” are usually very nice and have a lot of amenities, and I would highly recommend them; it’s just that this particular one in Albuquerque was disappointing.)
I already have two dedicated blog posts from two of my major tourist activities in Albuquerque, one where I went to the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History, and another when I explored the Sandia Mountains. I went on two additional hikes, but I felt they didn’t warrant their own blog posts, so I decided I would put them in this Albuquerque round-up instead.
The first hike was at the Albuquerque Volcanoes, which are in the general area of the Petroglyph National Monument. There are five volcanoes in that cluster, and I hiked around and onto three of them—the JA, Black, and Vulcan Volcanoes. The first two, I was able to summit, but the third one was blocked off so hikers couldn’t get to the top. I snapped some photos from the two volcanoes I was able to climb up, then took a photo of the volcano that I wasn’t allowed to.
My second hike was the Canopy Loop at the Rio Grande Nature Center State Park. I figured it would be a mistake to visit New Mexico and not see the Rio Grande up close, so I found a hiking trail that went right alongside it.
My favorite part about this hike was how visually different it was from all the other hikes that I’ve done recently. A majority of my hikes throughout the summer and fall have been exceptionally green, so it was a nice change of pace seeing a lot of trees that had finished going through their autumn phase and were now ready to weather the winter.