Cienega Canyon is incredibly lush right now. In addition to numerous wild strawberry plants, I saw forget-me-nots and lupine on my way up  — neither of which I remember seeing in the Sandias ever before.

A couple of women came down the trail as I was taking this photo and we began talking. Turns out they were on the final leg of a backpacking trip from Safford, Arizona, to a friend’s house a few miles from the trailhead (Cedar Crest, New Mexico). With the exception of 20 or 30 miles (Manzanos to Sandias), they’d hiked the entire way.

I offered them a ride to their friend’s house and a couple of ice-cold diet Pepsis along the way, both of which they gratefully accepted. I felt privileged to have been a small part of their amazing trip.

Wild Strawberry Flower

Wild Strawberry Flower