'This year the colors were very late in changing, but the day brought other surprises...'
The best time to ride the Bosque is after the hot air balloon festival has closed. The traffic returns to normal, tourists return to their homes and, with luck, the Cottonwood trees along the banks of the Rio Grande will be changing. Last year, we caught the Cottonwoods just right. This year the colors were very late in changing, but the day brought other surprises.
Ten of us saddled up to spend a couple of hours strolling amongst the salt cedars and Cottonwoods. We were thrilled to see the Sandhill Cranes along the river bank, but the horses caused the cranes to spook sending them into flight further downstream. Our second treat came when we discovered access onto the riverbank itself, which is typically blocked with fencing to avoid erosion. We didn’t dare travel too far out, but enjoyed being down on the river and getting a photo in front of Sandia Mountain.
The group included Julia, who had recently adopted her AQHA Bay mare from The Horse Shelter, some old hands at the Bosque, and new to the group, Marilyn and Page. The single track trails, shared with hikers and bikers, wound through the trees and brush. The trails are delightful and the footing is excellent for a low intensity, mostly flat ride as long as one takes care to watch for overhead branches.
We concluded the day with lunch at El Patio before heading back to Santa Fe. The restaurant has ample shaded parking for trailers during the day and great Mexican food. Its first come first served at El Patio, even for a group of ten, but we have never had a wait.
To add to our enjoyment, Darrell, a freelance photographer was out taking pictures along the canal bank and he took some of our group which he turned into a fun video.
Although this is open all year around, it can be very hot in the summertime. On weekends the trails can be crowded with bikers and hikers. There is parking on both sides of Alameda that is horse trailer accessible, but the south side of the street is much bigger and easier to negotiate with a trailer.
Video courtesy of Darrell DeVantier