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Know the West

Ode to a mountain

A duo pay a heartfelt tribute to Albuquerque’s Sandia Mountain.


“Sandia is an island in the sky, an oasis of the North rising out of the desert,” writes Ruth Rudner in her tribute to the mountain that defines Albuquerque, New Mexico’s skyline. In Sandia: Seasons of a Mountain, Rudner traces the mountain’s longer seasons, exploring its deep importance to the area’s Indigenous culture as well as discovering the more recent debates over balancing conservation with recreation and development.

While Rudner unwinds the history of the mountain in words, her husband, photographer David Muench, turns his lens on the annual passage of time. Photographs spanning decades reveal the many faces of Sandia. Autumn’s glowing aspens give way to winter’s snow-burdened firs. Then the mountain sheds its winter coat to reveal the cactus blooms of spring and the wildflower gardens of summer.

Through images and words, Muench and Rudner take a long, loving look at the mountain that looms large over the desert landscape. 


Sandia: Seasons of a Mountain
David Muench and Ruth Rudner
104 pages, large-format: $34.95.
University of New Mexico Press, 2018.