Bosque del Apache part 2: Solitude Canyon
After exploring the cactus garden at the Bosque del Apache visitor center, I drove a short distance south along Hwy. 1 and parked at the trailhead for the generically-named Canyon Trail.
This 2 1/2 mile loop slogs westward up the sandy bottom of Solitude Canyon — aptly named, given that most visitors to the Bosque are more interested in the wetlands astride the Rio Grande floodplain off to the east. During my mid-morning hike I encountered not a single other (human) visitor.
The loosely consolidated trail surface makes for some challenging hiking — particularly on the initial uphill portion of the trail, which eventually enters a quite scenic steep-walled sandstone canyon system. Once ensconced within these walls, you are officially in the Indian Well Wilderness Area.
More importantly to hikers, mad dogs and Englishmen out on a hot cloudless day, you are treated to actual areas of shade thanks to the looming canyon walls — welcome respite from the relentless blazing sun.
The trail eventually exits the canyon and climbs steeply to a bench overlooking the Bosque — at the time it occurred to me what a marvelous spot this would be for sunset photography. But that would mean slogging back up through the sandy approach and climbing to the bench once again.
As it happened, I found an excellent spot for recording the afternoon’s last golden light from down within the wetlands — but that’s the subject of another blog post.
As I mentioned, no human visitors were encountered, though I did witness a dramatic flyover involving a crow winging his way purposefully down canyon holding something in his beak. He appeared from around a bend and swooped over me, treading the wind with great measured beats, causing me to remove the lens cap for the rest of the journey and grip on the camera closer to the shutter button. But all for naught.
He was a solitary crow.