| Highland Park -- Main Quad -- Albuquerque
Highland Park is a lush, well-maintained neighborhood park. Trees such as cottonwoods, pinon, Russian olives, elms, and willows are scattered freely along the west side of the area, in a copse which covers about half the park's territory. A paved sidewalk meanders into the trees, dotted with old-fashioned aged wood and black wrought-iron benches, never quite hidden from general view, but providing some small measure of privacy.
The park's east side is dominated by a children's playground, complete with slides, a jungle gym, and a swing set. Soft native grasses and flowers have been in carefully arranged strips of greenery. All through the area, shadowed by smaller trees, are picnic tables surrounded by simple wooden benches. A fitness parcourse trail, approximately a mile in length, runs the perimeter of the park.
~*~places are available here~*~
Parking Lot <PL>
| The copse of trees:|
This copse of trees is fairly dense, though nothing resembling the "bosque" common to the Rio Grande area further west. Still, many of the trees are similar: cottonwoods, willows, elms, Russian olives abound, with a few pinon trees common to higher elevations. The scrub brush underfoot is filled with native grasses. Some of the trees seem perfect for climbing, while others are too delicate. This is a quiet, private area.
The wrought-iron bench near the trees:
This wrought-iron bench sits on the sidewalk which meanders through the copse of trees to the west of the park. Quiet solitude seems to be the mood of the area, though the bench is still in plain view of the main quad. The sound of birds and small woodland creatures can sometimes be heard coming from the trees just beyond.
The wooden bench near the trees:
This old fashioned wooden bench stands a bit further down the path into the trees, providing even more solitude. The wood is a weather-worn, rich oak, its surface pocked with countless cuts. The quiet sounds of the trees are easy to hear in this peaceful spot, various scuffmarks along the dirt just behind the bench suggesting the presence of raccoons or other wild creatures. The air smells faintly of pinon, faintly of some sort of rich, earthy loam.
The swing set:
In the east section of the park, in the middle of the children's playground area, stands this well-loved swing set. Large enough to fit an adult frame, it also contains a special "baby swing," where parents often swing their happy toddlers. The swing set has been repainted since the quakes. Only the faintest creaking can be heard as it sways in the occasional soft gust of wind.
The jungle gym:
In the children's playground sits this state-of-the art jungle gym, complete with monkey bars, ropes, and slides. Kids of all ages (including college age) congregate around the jungle gym, their shrill laughter echoing through the park. The ground beneath the jungle gym is a special, springy kind of surfacing, so even a fall from the highest point won't cause more than a bruise or a few tears.
The picnic table near the playground:
Indulgent parents often sit at this square wooden picnic table near the playground, watching as their kids gambol on the jungle gym. The wooden surface of the table is covered with graffiti -- at night, college-age party types frequently make this park their own, hanging out at the playground and drinking at this table.
The Parcourse Fitness circuit:
The Parcourse Fitness circuit is a series of 15 exercise events occurring at eight separate stations which are located along a trail circling the perimeter of the park, about a mile and a half in length. Visitors walk or jog between stations. Each station provides instructions and apparatus for the specified exercises. Exercises include the Achilles Stretch, Hamstring Stretch, Sit & Reach, Knee Lift, Log Hop, Half Knee Bends, Body Curl, Chin-Up, Bench Curl, Sit-Up, Vault Bar, Push-Up, Bench Leg Raise, Bench Dips, and Leg Stretch. This is a wonderful, free way to get -- and stay -- in shape.