Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Brands

News

Watermelon Peak

Get full access to Outside Learn, our online education hub featuring in-depth fitness, nutrition, and adventure courses and more than 2,000 instructional videos when you sign up for Outside+ Sign up for Outside+ today.

Sandia Peak (Watermelon in Spanish) rises 10,678 feet and dominates the city of Albuquerque, New Mexico.Photo by Richard F. Fleck

None

On a pleasantly warm February day down

Albuquerque way where plum blossoms

scent the air, I look through my window

at Sandia Crest sprinkled with a fresh

morning layer of sugar snow and I know

I must arise and go to the mountain’s edge

where prickly pear cactus and yuccas grow.

As I climb higher toward Sandia’s pinnacles,

patches of snow appear here and there

reminding me winter still lingers above.

Still higher and I kick at ankle-deep snow;

higher, knee-deep, but nonetheless I proceed

toward those alluring rocky spires looming

overhead sending down icy gusts of wind

that give piñon pines a hissing voice, all the

while I break through hip-deep snow and get

tangled in frozen branches scratching my legs.

Piñons give way to taller spruce and fir as

Albuquerque folds into the brown desert.

But at only a thousand feet shy of the summit,

I abandon all hope of reaching the top with

dark shadows cast on windy powder snow.

By sundown, I am back to scattered patches

of ice melted by warm layers of desert air. It is

then that I look back up to where I’ve been

to see the reddened peak all aglow looking

like some giant split-open watermelon.