Last week I discussed my adventures in searching for the Eye of the Sandia’s. It was quite an adventure and I thoroughly enjoyed traipsing about the foothills in the sun. I however failed to find said Eye returned home defeated and fatigued. Did I let that stop me?
Yes! But only for a week until I had time to venture out again!
I did things a little differently this time around in order to ensure I had a higher chance of success.
First off I started from the closest trail-head (Copper). This meant I was freshest for the climb up to the Eye. It also meant that once I found my goal I was free to run wherever and however far I wanted. This made for a liberating run. Take my time and have fun? Don’t mind if I do!
Secondly I re-reviewed the directions to the Eye. Turns out I was headed in the right direction last time but turned around too soon. That’s good since I wasn’t even close yet and I was carrying around someone’s lost phone. It was encouraging to know I wasn’t lost last time, just nowhere near my destination.
Thirdly, I was wearing my hydration vest instead of carrying a handheld water bottle. This ensured that if I did take my time I’d have plenty of water on hand. Semper paratus. Well, almost. I didn’t bring any food or GU but that’s OK. What is a couple hours running without food?
Heading out from the trail-head for the Eye you are pretty much running up a mountain. OK so we’re still in the Foothills but it feels like you running up a god-damn vertical wall like Spider-man but without the sticky feet. Take a look at the elevation profile:
Most of the trail is well groomed and worn, but there are a couple instances where I stopped and thought about my next steps. Is this the right way? What is that over there? I did in fact bypass a turn but I noticed it quickly enough and made the most of it by climbing a nearby peak, snapping a selfie and heading back the way I came.
I headed back and continued the climb up to the Eye. It was incredibly scenic and the surrounding desert was beautiful. Lot’s of cholla cactus and granite dotting the way. It was really exposed though and I was in the sun the entire time. It would be more comfortable in the winter though I don’t think the trail would be passable for most folks. It’s be ice and snow and did I mention how steep it is?
I passed a couple hikers after cresting yet another ridge (how far to this thing?) and they were a bit surprised to see someone running past them this far up the trail. Ego boost for me: check!
Just beyond and above where I met the hikers I crested the another ridge and saw over the top a big beautiful eye watching me approach. I smiled and sauntered up to it, feeling happy to have found my goal and a little reverential for the site. It’s not a holy site or anything like that but it took me some time and effort to get up there. Whoever did the original painting and whoever has come up to maintain it really worked hard to get up here.
Local urban legend states the Eye cries at the encroachment of the city to the mountain wilderness. Looking out from the vantage point the Eye has, I can only imagine how beautiful the surrounding desert must have been and watching it slowly dwindle away beneath the city must have been demoralizing.
I took a minute to pray, grateful for the ability to get up to such a beautiful site, posed for a couple pictures and then headed off to finish my run and get a few more miles in before heading home.
Having found my goal, I was then unfettered and able to relax and enjoy my accomplishment. The trail heading down on the north side of the Eye was fairly technical and decently steep so I took care to watch my footing, slipping only once or twice.
I looped up north to Menaul and then came back down the single-track following the 10k route at the base of the Foothills. Pretty much rolling hills and runnable. This helped my pace and overall speed profile but hell, I found the Eye and had some fun in the sun.
I’m happy to have found the eye and excited to get back there and find it again. Maybe I’ll be a bit faster next time? Lisa will enjoy hiking up to it as well and It’d make for a great date.
Tell me about a time you set a goal and accomplished it.
Any favorite spots to hike to? Beautiful scenery or weirdo/oddball occurrences?