Sandia Peak, New Mexico

June 16, 2016 – On the way to the Sandia Tramway in Cibola National Forest for a trip to the top of Sandia Peak, over 10,000 feet high.   The ascent only takes 15 minutes, and the temperature at top can be up to 30 degrees cooler.  Click on each of the pictures on this page to see it larger with more details.
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The Tramway – see the blue Tram taking off up the wire.  There is a blue one and a red one.
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Here are the Trams on the ground, and at right is the mechanism that runs it.
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At left is a Tram taking off, and at right is me with the first “real” cactus we’ve seen, which just happens to be growing outside the Tramway building.
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Entering the building … me with acrophobia all my life.  Uh oh.  What am I thinking?  It’s a little scary, but I’m not going to let a little thing like fear of heights  make me miss the opportunity.  First job is to  find the ticket counter by following the “bear tracks” on the floor (right)
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Here we go … OMG … those wires are all there is between me and the Afterlife.
SandiaDSC_5865 Looking down, there’s our Mini, Murtle, getting smaller and smaller ….

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We are slowly ascending and the view is breathtaking.  Notice the circle on the rock about the middle of the picture.
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We pass another Tram coming down.
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Below is a tower.  There are several of them which act sort of like elevators to bring us up to the next level.

Our Tram operator explained that these wires are far less fragile than they look, and he described the mechanism that prevents the wires touching or tangling. and that although the Tramway has been in operation since the 1960s, these Trams are actually new.
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More views from the Tram.  Can you find the Tram’s shadow in one of them?
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Here is a cave in the vertical face of the mountain, seen as we pass.
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At the top!!
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View of the Rio Grande Valley from the one of the decks at the top. SandiaDSC_5839

More decks and walkways where people can view the mountain and actually hike it. This is bear country. We are warned not to feed the bears.
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Some of the equipment used to run the Trams.   You can see the moon right in the middle.
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Dinner in the “High Finance Restaurant” from where one can watch the sunset.  After dinner, we went out to the deck to get a better view as the sun sank lower.SandiaDSC_5923

Tom created the picture at left by under-exposure with his camera.  The one below was taken in the usual way a few minutes later.

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And a bit later, as the sun sank out of sight…
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Picture with enhanced contrast taken after dark on the trip down in the last Tram. The Tram you can see coming up at lower right of the picture is bringing water and perhaps other maintenance items. They don’t count the people in and out, but there is always a staff person there overnight just in case somebody doesn’t make the last Tram.SandiaDSC_5962

Another view from the Tram as it descends.SandiaDSC_5968

Once on the ground, I am the last customer at the souvenir shop, already half-closed.SandiaDSC_5974

Afraid of heights … who, me?
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More information about the Tramway to Sandia Peak

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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