Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Tomé Hill

It's been really fun to get more familiar with the Belen area now that we're here. Neither Ethan or I had ever spent any time here, despite having lived in NM most of our lives. Belen is right off the freeway, and I've driven past it more times than I could even try to count, but I'd actually never driven through the town until we moved here.
A few weeks ago we decided to take a Saturday morning and go see a local landmark, Tomé Hill. It's a volcanic hill that rises up from the valley floor, and is visible for quite a ways in all directions. It is right along the old Spanish El Camino Real (King's Highway) and would've been a good landmark for travelers going back and forth between Mexico and Santa Fe. There's a neat little park at the bottom of the hill with statues and signs telling the history of the area, and from there it is a 1/4 mile hike to the top of the hill. 1/4 mile doesn't sound too bad, but the hill is pretty steep and rocky, so it's harder than you might think, although still very doable.
Looking through La Puerta Del Sol towards the trail head. 
 Erik tripped and fell into a huge patch of goat heads while we were reading the signs and looking at the statues. His poor little legs were pretty torn up and one of the thorns stabbed through the bottom of his shoe and broke off in there, so he got to ride most of the way up the hill. He probably would've ended up riding anyways, the trail was pretty darn steep with lots of loose rock.

Took a break half way up for mom to rest and pick the thorn out of Erik's shoe. And for him to throw rocks. 
 Erik's a pretty tough little kid, he did end up walking some of the way, and when we got to the top he climbed all over the rocks up there.

 This is the only petroglyph we saw on our hike, but there are supposedly 1800 of them cataloged on the hill. It would've been really fun to see some more of them, but oh well.
 We finally made it to the top. The view out over the river valley was gorgeous, especially with the vibrant blue sky and puffy white clouds. You don't get to see sights like this in Mississippi!
 Tomé Hill is actually the site of an annual pilgrimage for local Catholics. Every year on Good Friday hundreds of people come from all over to make the climb to the shrine at the top of the hill. Supposedly the climb is a great way to make penance for your sins.
Two of the three crosses at the summit, there's an altar (I guess that's what you'd call it?) under the central cross. 
 After spending quite a while wandering around the top of the hill looking for more petroglyphs and just enjoying the gorgeous day, we headed back down the hill. This was a fun way to get outside and get to know the area around us.
I love this view of the valley. It's so typical of NM. Once you get too far away from the river, life seems to just dry up and the desert takes over. 

1 comment:

  1. I climbed Tome Hill once when I was a kid. I thought the hike was really easy. LOL. Sure that would no longer be the case now. :(