The word "ditch" isn't very exciting. "Acequia", however, is mysterious and tantalizing. It's like those Kahlua commercials that are giving the Most Interesting Man in the World a run for his money. With the last snap of cold weather and snow on the mountains, we recently looked inward to the city rather than upward to the mountains to find some hiking spots. We started at Los Poblanos Open Space just off of Montano and across from the Unser Racing Museum.
There is an official parking lot, but we ended up parking near a series of folk art wood carvings made from a fallen tree. The whimsical designs include a mountain lion, octopus, lamb and plankton. This is where we picked up the trail along the acequia. Sandhill cranes chattered and strutted in the fields. Lots of dogs and their people walked nearby, but the large birds were unconcerned. Have you noticed that when cranes walk, they always look like they're trying to sneak up on something?
We walked past a small community garden, turned left and followed the acequia heading west. The path takes you across a street and behind a series of houses and estates. This peek into backyards large and small is a fun way to get acquainted with the neighborhood and the unusual mix of mansions, old adobes and fields. On our first walk, we came across a house with a colorful back fence greeting committee consisting of several llamas, two dogs, a small herd of sheep and one emu. This was really a highlight of the stroll. The same day, we also caught sight of three hot air balloons hovering above the Rio in the late afternoon.
The acequia trails are a great way to stretch your legs in the city. Some patches of the banks have goathead infestations, so you will want to keep an eye on your dog's paws. JMG is working on a project involving the North Valley ditches, so we'd both love to hear about your adventures along the acequias. Got any favorite spots? Let us know!