The map and trail guide I bought for Albuquerque's Sandia Mountain came in the mail today. I'm so psyched! I've been hiking up a storm here in Massachusetts in preparation for when my partner and I move to New Mexico this winter. I've been hiking about 20 miles per week, and have hiked as much as six miles a day on some pretty rocky and hilly terrain - I have even scaled the 3,165-foot Mount Monadnock in New Hampshire (as well as reached summits in many smaller ranges here in Massaschusetts and in the Green Mountains in Vermont) - but Sandia will be a challenge I'm chomping at the bit to overcome.
Khizer will be completing a didactic program in dietetics at University of New Mexico, to become a registered dietitian, while I work as a substitute teacher and look for a full time job in education. I have been toying with the idea of developing a non-profit aimed at empowering people to personally attack the obesity epidemic by making sound, healthy choices in their daily lives, healthy choices that include diet as well as physical activity. Whatever I do, it will involve helping people adopt healthy living habits through strengthening their personal connection with nature and the outdoors, which has become my life's strongest passion.
Taking to the trails has been crucial as I continue my personal battle. I'm inspired to walk and to hike because of nature. I'm in awe of all that the natural world is, and I realize I have spent far too much of my adult life with a broken connection to it. Although I knew walking was the number one way by far to get fit and stay fit, I never could become accustomed to walking in such a sterile environment, and so I didn't. It wasn't until I reconnected with my own natural love of outdoors play that I began to enjoy walking for exercise.
So as I pore over the trails on this map, and read their descriptions in the Sandia Mountain Hiking Guide, my inner child is awakened by the splendor that is yet to come. That child is finally ready to live the dreams that were never fully extinguished by the crush of urban life. I am confident I will make it the highest peak of that old watermelon on foot - from a base elevation of 6,559 feet to a top elevation of 10,378 feet - and I'll not stop trying until I do!