Thursday, March 7, 2013

Ghost Census

Why is it that they always have conferences in interesting cities and then make you sit INSIDE all day? I am in Albuquerque, and I can tell you that this whole "learning" b.s. that apparently is supposed to accompany a conference is significantly cutting into my sightseeing time. I WANT TO GO SEE MOUNTAINS, DAMMIT.

I also want to see petroglyphs, and there is a state park on the edge of Albuquerque that has hundreds of them. Native Americans made the petroglyphs by picking away the outer, darker layer of rocks, revealing the lighter colored rock underneath. The petroglyphs depict human and animal forms. Basically, petroglyphs were like memes for early Native peoples. I wouldn't be surprised at all if there was a Grumpy Cat petroglyph.

The problem is that my hotel is ten miles from the petroglyphs, and I don't have a car. And also, I was supposed to spend much of today learning about things like the undercount of children age four and under in the 2010 Census. (If you have a free hour or five, I can give you the complete rundown on the undercount. It's actually pretty interesting.) So I didn't actually have a lot of spare time.

But I was determined to see the petroglyphs. So I made a plan. I was going to take a city bus to the side of town that was closest to the petroglyphs, run to the park with the petroglyphs, run back to the bus stop, take the bus back to the hotel, grab a quick shower, and go learn about Census undercounts. Ambitious, yes. But with neon running clothes and a good hat, one can achieve the impossible.

My selfie in a hotel mirror. At least I am not striking a sexy pose.

The bus ride went fine. But when I got off the bus and started running to the petroglyphs, I had to backtrack several times because the roads didn't quite go like the map showed. I blame President Bush. Not sure why, but at this point there aren't going to be too many new opportunities to chalk new evils up to his administration, so I better take advantage while I can.

Most of the way, I found myself running on a sidewalk next to a six lane highway, which was kind of a drag. But I did see hot air balloons, and I took a picture of them, only they didn't show up in the picture, so I guess there were ghosts riding in those balloons.

Finally! I found the trail head. It looked this:

Thank god,the trailhead.

At this point, I looked at my GPS and saw that I had run 6 miles just getting to the petroglyphs. (Cue the ominous music.)

The petroglyphs were great. You'll just have to take my word on that. I only have two pictures of them because I had to turn off my phone to save the battery, in case I needed that last bit of juice to call a cab after I got bit by a snake. ("Hello, Yellow Cab? Can you pick me up at the entrance to Petroglyph State Park? Oh, and bring a tourniquet.")

I don't know what that tall shadow is on the right in the photo above. My guess would be that it is another ghost. Ghosts were also undercounted in the 2010 Census, in case you were wondering.

Somewhat to my surprise, I made it back to the hotel just fine. I had a great run and saw an amazing piece of natural history. The only downside is that I ran a lot further than I had been intending to. Oh well. I'll just say my miles got undercounted in the Census too.

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