In past eons, a lot of volcanic activity has occurred in New Mexico. Albuquerque (ABQ) is situated on a tremendous rift valley: the Rio Grande rift. There are whole mountains that used to be volcanoes (e.g., Mt Taylor and Valles Caldera in the Jemez). There are hot springs. There are 50 volcanic plugs or necks, where molten magma extruded from the earth’s crust at a local point, cooled, and became basalt rock. There are black lava beds (El Malpais) that once flowed for miles from active volcanoes, then cooled into solid immoveable rock….you can hike on them, but the rock is sharp and treacherous and if you fall into one of the many large fissures your bones may never be found.
About 50 miles from ABQ, Cabezon peak rises to 8,000 ft and is the best known volcanic plug in the Rio Puerco basin, which was discovered by Coronado in 1540 (that’s 473 years ago). A paved road from ABQ towards Cuba, followed by a dirt road for about 12 miles took us to the foot of the peak. It was only a couple miles to ascend to the flat collar, where we lunched under the sheer basalt escarpment. The peak can be climbed to the top but it’s dangerous, and a rope and helmet are wise additions. We did not attempt to climb it.
This was October and it was assumed the rattlesnakes had bedded down for the winter. However two of our climbers got off the trail by mistake and encountered a small one when it rattled its tail. Woody, the hike leader, provided champagne at the finish line, back at the cars. It doesn’t get much better than that!
For 40 years I have loved the desert of the southwest USA, and have taken many hikes on well-known trails. But since joining these organized Meetup Hiking groups, I have been discovering the inner depths of the desert, like Cabezon. In a few weeks I will hike with another group into Tapia Canyon, where there remain some marvelous panels of petroglyphs made by the Anasazi or Ancient Ones over 700 years ago.
I was reminded of hiking adventures while sitting in church next morning.After the singing, about ten adults were baptized, and I realized this was an adventure for them. I recall my own step of faith when I was 26 and decided to get baptized. To follow Jesus has certainly been an adventure for me, and I treasure that walk. I prayed softly that the ten folks would find such a fulfilling adventure on their new spiritual walk. Especially the 30-year old man with tattoos on his arms who admitted to the whole church that he had been addicted to heroin for 10 years. But also the young girl (who could not have been more than 20) who wore her hair in a kind of Mohawk, as well as a ring in her nose and lip…..her eyes shone as I wished her all the best when she came and sat shivering next to me for the sermon. And thirdly the girl who admitted she was 34, and had been a believer for many years, but just wanted to go deeper in her spiritual walk.
To me, there was absolutely nothing contrived or fake about those baptisms. Each one of the ten folks seemed sincere and serious about their spiritual adventure, although some were obviously nervous and a couple of them were tearful. When each one came up out of the water, they were met by spontaneous applause from the 1500 attendees in the church service. The attendees were expressing support to the folks who were stepping out in faith, and I imagine the experience to them would be like climbing on the trail to Cabezon.
I promised myself to think about stepping out in faith, and enlarging my spiritual experience. I would like to learn from you readers in this respect……. What spiritual Cabezon adventures have you gone on? Please share, as it may encourage other readers.
The Gray Nomad.
Probing the practice of Christian believers……
“The everlasting God, the LORD,
The Creator of the ends of the earth,
Neither faints nor is weary.
His understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the weak,
And to those who have no might He increases strength.
Even the youths shall faint and be weary,
And the young men shall utterly fall,
But those who wait on the LORD
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint”
(Isaiah, chapter 40).
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