A Hike Toward Heaven: El Porvenir out of Las Vegas

• The hike began at Las Vegas.
• Pictures of the hike and the stream.
• Conversations on the hike.

OUR HIKE BEGAN AT LAS VEGAS. That’s Las Vegas, New Mexico, which is an hour north-east of Santa Fe. I’d never been there and found it to be a delightful small city (15,000 population). It contains a university (Highlands University).

The stream called El Porvenir (click to enlarge, then back-arrow to return to blog).

The stream called El Porvenir (click to enlarge, then back-arrow to return to blog).

After the hike we drove around the plaza, which was typical Spanish construction in a square to protect against attacks. The city began in 1835 when land-grants were issued by the Mexican government. In 1846 during the Mexican-American war, General Kearny in the Las Vegas plaza claimed New Mexico for the United States.

The lawless, as well as the lawful, poured in with the railroad in 1879. Visitors included Doc Holliday and his girlfriend Big Nose Kate, Jesse James, Billy the Kid, Wyatt Earp. Teddy Roosevelt’s Roughriders had their first reunion in Las Vegas. Patrick Swayze had a ranch here.

While not as glamorous as the plaza in Santa Fe, we saw a magnificent old hotel and other historical attractions. Looked like a fun place to stroll around on a weekend day. They have a big 4 July festival coming up.

Charlie’s Spic-and-Span restaurant served us dinner at 4 pm. Their specialty is fresh tortillas, and they made some while we were there. I enjoyed vegetarian enchiladas with green chile sauce and posole (a kind of swollen corn). I also walked out with a macaroon which had chocolate icing. Mmmm. Best one I’ve had since leaving Australia!Porv 6

El Porvenir (the words mean The Future) is the stream we drove to, about 10 miles out of Las Vegas. We hiked in 3 miles, and out 3 miles, sticking close to the stream. Nothing like the sound of bubbling water. This is one of the best stream-hikes I have ever taken.

We came close to Hermit’s Peak, which rises to 11,000 feet above enormous sheer cliffs.Porv 1

Lunch came at our terminus…….an awesome waterfall ending in a large waterhole. One man jumped in for a brief swim although the water was pretty cold. When lunch was over, the rain came and we scrambled for our rain-gear. It didn’t last long, but cooled everything down nicely, especially since in Albuquerque we have just had 10 days of temperatures hovering around 100 F.Porv 11


One of the best things about a hike is what you can learn from others. One lady had just bought an RV (Recreation Vehicle) and is planning to tour round the States, by herself. Another lady was raised in East Germany, where as a child she subsisted on a starvation diet. For example potato soup for dinner, and nothing else.

A third lady had beaten two cancers. At some stage her back was also damaged, and she wanted to die, because the pain was so terrible. A surgeon suggested a fusion of vertebrae, which is dicey, but it worked. Not only did she hike the Porvenir, but she was planning an all-day hike the very next day. She is 74!

Conversing on a hike, or in the car beforehand, is what I consider a form of networking. Networking has served me greatly in my life and career. If you don’t know something, ask…..ask…..ask. Then listen….listen…..listen. It seems a rare commodity in the USA in this election season!Porv 4

Gordie Howe was a champion Canadian ice-hockey player (known as Mr Hockey). He played until he was 52. He died about a week ago at the age of 88. It took Wayne Gretsky, the best ever, to eclipse most of Howe’s records. What Gordie told his young son growing up:
You have two ears and one mouth. Use your ears more than your mouth.

POST-SCRIPT: in the book Hiking Toward Heaven there are descriptions of several hikes in New Mexico, one in Arizona, and the last one in Australia. All marvelous hikes I have taken.

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The Gray Nomad
Probing the practice of Christian believers……

Oh, that you had hearkened to My commandments! Then your peace and prosperity would have been like a flowing river; and your righteousness like the abundant waves of the sea.
[Book of Isaiah, chapter 48].Porv 2

11 comments on “A Hike Toward Heaven: El Porvenir out of Las Vegas”

  1. Don Compton says:

    Ian…over the period of 23 years Shalom took over 300 youth from detention centers up the same trail you took…and we baptized many in that pond the man jumped into. We camped at Western Life Camp about 2 miles north of where you parked. I called this area one of New Mexico’s best kept secrets. My favorite at Charlies Spic & Span is their crispie cheese taco shell. Only place in the world that serves it…to my knowledge.

    1. Ian Palmer says:

      Wow. I had no idea…..what an interesting story Don from your life and work. I agree about the secret: I had never heard of El Porvenir, and had no idea how wonderful a hike it is. I will be taking others there.

  2. Nancy says:

    I’m glad you enjoyed this trip. It was always fun having conversations with you. Lucky hiking partners! I miss those trips, but will aim to follow your example of questioning and listening in my new area.

    1. Ian Palmer says:

      Yes, this day was rich in conversation with substance!

  3. Rita says:

    We drive past Patrick Swayze’s property on the way to our cabin. It’s a beautiful area!

    1. Ian Palmer says:

      I envy you Rita having a cabin in such a beautiful area. I wonder if you have climbed Hermit’s Peak.

  4. Barbara Leachman says:

    When we lived in Amarillo, the camp our church used was El Porvenier. Reading about your hike in that area brings back pleasant memories. The camp was less than up-to-date. We had to cook on a huge wood-burning stove. Did have electricity but otherwise, not much in the way of modern conveniences. We were Christian believers and the greatest meaning of our time there was around relationships, just as your hike turned out to be.

    1. Ian Palmer says:

      I can certainly see why an Amarillo church would drive to Las Vegas, NM in the summer, and especially the Christian camp on the Porvenir stream. When we were there, I believe we saw a Texas truck parked close to the Porvenir stream trail. I presume you also hiked the stream trail.

  5. Karen Larre says:

    Great pics! Another lovely blog.

  6. Mary Ann Pollock says:

    This is a nice informational blog. Looks like a hike I would love to go on. Maybe one of these days. Thanks for sharing about the conversations with some of the hikers.

    1. Ian Palmer says:

      You would have enjoyed it Mary Ann. One of the great hikes I have been on.


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