Hiking and rock hounding around Albuquerque plus petrified wood

The pandemic has descended on us, and we hesitate to eat indoors until we have had our two vaccine shots. But hiking in the outdoors – what could be safer? Throw in a little adventurous rock hounding at the same time and whoosh – happiness can shoot up the chart.

Hiking and rock hounding around Albuquerque while looking for Petrified wood

With this in mind Kim, my step-daughter, and her friend Lisa from Kansas City drove out to ABQ along with my g-daughter Kelby. Last week we went on three hikes with pics that are shown here. The first was San Lorenzo Canyon a little way north of Socorro on I25.

Garland, a friend from the old days came with us. Back then he and I hiked up to Stewart Lake, a beautiful mountain lake, from the Pecos area and that was a mighty challenge!
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Petrified wood exploration

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Lisa on the left and Kim on the right in a slot canyon that is on a trail hidden near the end of the main San Lorenzo Canyon. These two gals met in Kansas City when they both married, and I came to know more of their life-stories while hiking. And what remarkable stories they both have! Thanks ladies for sharing.

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View from the top while hiking for petrified wood

The next hike was to San Ysidro canyon, just past the little town of the same name and 30 miles west of ABQ. The gate is locked but you can call the BLM to get a code to open it.

The canyon behind the girls is surprisingly large. Its quite narrow in places, almost a slot canyon.

There wasn’t much water this time. On a previous trip many, many sandstone pools contained water which made it really special here in the middle of the high desert.

Petrified wood hiking trip

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While Lisa and I ate lunch, Kim the rock-hound kept exploring. Soon we heard Oohs and Ahs and Wows and knew she had found something – and it turned out to be Geode Hill. But it wasn’t where it was marked on the map!

We must have spent an hour poring over lumpy rocks that contained crystal deposits some of which were intricate designs. We were very excited. We talked later about serendipity – the place I arbitrarily chose to have lunch enabled Kim to find the geodes!

cracked open geodes found while rock hounding for petrified wood
lumpy geodes cracked open - rock hounding for petrified wood

Most of the lumpy geodes had been cracked open. The crystals in the two geode parts on the right were yellowish.

On the left, top, is a solid circular crystal shape inside the host rock. Below white crystals formed in cracks that have the shape of a bird. Bottom, the white crystal shape could be a deer jumping over a fence. These are the first geodes that Kim, the expert rock-hound, and I have ever found while hiking.

Our last trip was in the checkerboard region near Cuba. In the town itself, we came upon an Amish seller with a tabletop full of bread and pastries. Oh my! It was a Friday and I don’t know if the sale is only on Fridays, but I’d sure like to know. We bought Pumpkin slices with icing, and an apple-cream pie that I’d never heard of. But I can assert that it’s worth the 60-mile drive to Cuba to find delicacies like these.

Photo of an Apple cream pie


I took this part of the pie out of the freezer to take a pic. But couldn’t resist sampling it. It tasted so good ice cold that I ate a whole slice just 30 mins before supper!

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We headed for Ceja Pelon Mesa but I got lost much to Kim’s dismay. When we finally arrived, it was close to 2 pm and the weather was a perfect 70F with not a cloud in the sky.

Ian Dexter Palmer found petrified wood

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We marveled over pieces of petrified wood as we followed a creek in toward an imposing sandstone bluff.
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Ian Dexter Palmer with friends while hiking

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This group of gals know how to laugh (Kelby on the right). They in fact laughed the whole week they were in Albuquerque. I don’t laugh much usually but they got me laughing too.

Ian Dexter Palmer sitting on a petrified log

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I’m sitting on a whole log, petrified, if you can believe that.

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Kelby and I climbed to the top of the sandstone bluff, and that was quite a challenge. We were wary of mountain lions because we saw some huge paw tracks. Garland had told us it was springtime and if we came across a den with young-uns in it, we could be in trouble.

Tent shaped hoodoos on the sandstone bluff while searching for petrified wood

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These tent-shaped hoodoos on the sandstone bluff are caused by water and wind erosion of the sandstone rock.

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Samples of petrified wood

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A sampling of petrified wood. The thin vertical piece, top right, was apparently a small branch. The middle one on the left is a crosscut of a branch where the black in the middle is the inside of the branch enclosed by light-colored rim that used to be the bark.
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BLOG TOPICS: I write content (in-depth) blogs about a mix of topics: Science and Energy, and Inspiration and Hope, and Health and Hiking.
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The Gray Nomad ….. Enjoy the benefits of hiking.
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He said to his relatives, “Gather some stones.” So they took stones and piled them in a heap, and they ate there by the heap.
[Genesis, chapter 31.]

5 comments on “Hiking and rock hounding around Albuquerque plus petrified wood”

  1. Dave Burnett says:

    A good story Ian. Glad to have you on my “read list” . I’ve used geodes that I got in Fort Davis to lure my nieces into geology. The desert has always called me — almost retired to Fort Davis — but ended up on the Gulf Coast — go figure.
    Dave B

  2. Vanessa says:

    The hikes you explored look wonderful, especially after receiving 6 inches of snow yesterday.

  3. DomM says:

    Super pictures and commentary, thanks. Wish I could have hiked with you and your companions.

  4. Anonymous says:

    What a fantastic trip! Thank you Ian for being such a great host! I loved all the hiking, shopping, dinners & the Laughter!! I learned so much about ricks. You & Kim are the experts on Rock Hounding! There’s so much beauty in Albuquerque to see! What a wonderful experience!

  5. daely says:

    Awww I want go sometime soon. Thanks for keeping us in the loop.

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