The Sandia Mountain range was a deciding factor in me moving to Albuquerque for graduate school.
I also applied to Arizona State University in Phoenix, but wasn’t as impressed by the Phoenix Mountains as I was by Sandia Peak when I first reached the summit with my girlfriend in 2019.
We took a trip throughout the southwest that summer and Albuquerque was one of the highlights along with Grand Canyon National Park in northern Arizona. We drove back to the southeast on interstate 40, cutting across Texas and Oklahoma before arriving at the Ozarks in northwest Arkansas. Needless to say, I was immediately sold on New Mexico before arriving for graduate school. It’s also nice finally living in a state with legal recreational cannabis. We don’t even have medical marijuana in my home state, so I was pleasantly surprised when recreational cannabis was legalized in New Mexico in 2021. Before then you had to possess a medical marijuana card and they cost $30 every year, requiring medical marijuana patients in New Mexico to register again annually. Obviously it’s a huge benefit to remove this requirement for people who are simply looking to purchase cannabis products in New Mexico for recreational use only. I made the mistake of smoking a joint when I got to the summit of Sandia Peak last month, and I learned quickly how dumb that decision really was as I could barely stand without passing out. The next time I ascend the Sandia Mountains, I’m waiting until I get to the base before I smoke my joint.