Monday, February 20, 2012


The plane was the smallest I had ever boarded. I should have expected as much when I asked the girl at he gate if there was room in the overhead for my guitar, and she replied "There is no overhead."

Me, 17 passengers, a pilot and co-piiot hopped on board. Turns out the co-pilot was also our cabin steward, and from where I sat, I could see out through the front windows in the cockpit. The cheery co-pilot made the usual announcements - no microphone or speaker system necessary , and if he had added "....and as we approach our destination, we will fill the cabin with brine and land in the canned food section of the supermarket." , I would not at all have been surprised. Neither would it have been the first sardine reference heard on board.
Looking through the cockpit window, I couldn't help but notice how small the window was as it sat atop a myriad buttons and dials. But then it struck me - why have a big windshield on an airplane? When's the last time 18 sardines at 30,000 feet hit a deer?

We took off from Denver CO, where, as I may have mentioned elsewhere in this blog, people just seem happy, and as my wife - a one time resident of the state - likes to point out, it's hardly surprising given it's natural beauty, clean mountain air, sunshine and endless outdoor pursuits. I've heard it said that Colorado is an expensive state to live in, but I suspect it to be money well spent.

We were headed for Farmington NM, a quiet town on the Colorado Plateau that shares Denver's mile-high elevation and sits at the confluence of the San Juan and Animas Rivers. Soaring towards our destination, the clear sky allowed us a perfect view of the San Juan mountains below us, snow-capped and silent, standing like noble elders, perhaps bemusedly watching the coming and going of us tiny creatures over centuries, our lives lasting no more than a blink of their eyes.

We touched down on a cool sunny day, and I headed for the hotel. My driver told me that coal mining and the power plant are major employers here, and it does feel like a working town. It seemed like every second car on the road was an unwashed flatbed of some kind, many of them lining the broad main street like so many tired horses, hitched to their post and dutifully awaiting their master's return.

Once I reached the hotel, I was told that a river walkway ran right behind the premises, and that it was worth checking out. Later in the day, I headed back there as a bright sun was starting to fall behind the trees. Mallards and Canada geese populated the banks. "Maybe looking for sardines" I thought, chuckling. The shallows of the Animas river babbled along beside me as I walked a loop of 2 miles or so, and although never far from the sound of traffic, the river serves as an easily accessible respite from the urban landscape, perfect for joggers, walkers and nature lovers.

My friends JD and Emily, who live in the area, told me of Farmington's apparently under utilized array of hiking and biking trails in the area, and if time had allowed I would have investigated further, but this is a working town, and I had to go to work. Oh well. Next time, but if you get to it before I do, let me know what you think.

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