NOB HILL--One of the benefits of having a good public transportation system is the ability to do 'point to point' urban hikes on the weekend. A five mile hike down old Route 66 is possible, and then using the Rapid-Ride bus to get back home. This might be called Destination Hiking and it is in contrast to making a loop around your neighborhood so you end up back in your own front yard. All this is made easy by having the buses run on Saturday and Sunday.
MaryAnn and I did a hike the other Saturday from our house in Nob Hill to Robinson Park downtown. We then walked over to the courthouse on Silver (about 3 or 4 blocks) and took the Rapid-Ride
back to Nob Hill. On Saturday the R-R buses run about every 10 minutes. The Red Line runs by there every 20 minutes and so does the Green Line. Either bus goes up to Nob Hill.
"The Zipper" refers to the long string of shops and restaurants along Central Ave. It does in fact look like a zipper. There also is a company which has put out a very handy map called "The Zipper ABQ
," plugging businesses up and down Central. But the Central Ave. corridor is actually longer than the map shows, running all the way from Tramway in the east to Coors Rd. in the west. That distance is somewhere around 10 miles. The idea is you can start hiking at any Rapid-Ride stop and finish at any other Rapid-Ride stop. The are the regular bus stops as well, but those buses are so dang s-l-o-w that sooner or later the next Rapid-Ride will pass you.
Another nice aspect of this kind of hike is the elevation change. One can take a leisurely walk downhill all the way in warm weather, or a brisk tramp up the hill on a cool morning. And don't forget the food! There are amazing restaurants from one end to the other.
But the real attraction just has to be all there is to see. A walk around the neighborhood is fine, but a walking a good distance on Central Ave. is jam-packed with all kinds of interesting things to see. They don't even have to be 'important' things, everything assumes a kind of significance when it's on The Mother Road.
Here are but a few of the sights we saw on our hike that Saturday:
• The Bob Haozous sculpture "Cultural Crossroad of the Americas." This piece, erected in 1996, was controversial from the start because the artist affixed a roll of barbed wire running across the top. That pointy addition was not in the plans he showed UNM. Suits followed. Eventually the wire was removed with the artist's consent.
• UNM's Center for High Performance Computing has an interesting limestone feature: an Oldsmobile and a Cadillac ensignia, both made of matching limestone and somehow fastened to the building. The structure used to house the Galles Oldsmobile and Cadillac dealership.
• A Med-Evac helicopter that had just landed at Presbyterian Hospital.
• $22 rooms for rent...in case your day hike extends...or things go in a different direction.
• You won't believe what they have done to the walkway though the underpass: LED lights that change color and illuminate photos of Old Albuquerque.
• Lunch at Rooster's downtown was wonderful! MaryAnn's soup & salad was unbelievable.
It was just a great morning. Among other things we stopped for quite a while in the original Albuquerque Public
Library. Try to include this place if you have time. We also stocked up on garlic from the Chispas Farm. They were part of the farmers' market in Robinson Park. Eli Burg told me that Chispas Farm is a national repository for garlic in America, with several hundred varieties.
So you might want to try hiking The Zipper. Just another way to 'get your kicks' in the Duke City.