As you've probably noticed, I cherish my time high in the oxygen-scarce environment of Colorado's highest peaks. I like also to disappear into the magical mystique of a parched desert sandstone canyon in the remote Four Corners region. And, I very much look forward to an occasional visit to the salt-laden air of a wind-blown coast. I feel like a grizzled old salty sea captain by the end of the day.
Recently, I got in some coastal time. Snowcatcher and I attended a family wedding in southern California. Because I feel a wedding is personal, there are no wedding pics forthcoming in any of my blog posts. No, not even of the bride's dress — which was stunning I might add! On the other hand, pics pertaining to the non-wedding aspects of the trip were one too many and difficult from which to select. The flight route from Denver to Los Angeles is over some of the finest southwest desert America has to offer. Viewing geologic and fluvial erosion from altitude is outstanding, clouds permitting. Disappointingly, I often get mixed results shooting through two panes of glass at 30,000 feet. Nonetheless, here you go — enjoy!
We had an early morning flight. Not knowing what to expect at this time of day, we arrived early and cruised through security unimpeded. I actually thought there would be more business flyers this time of day. Around 4:15 a.m., I took a picture of "Peachy the Fox," our upcoming ride for the morning. Peachy is a new Airbus A320.
Morning temperatures were cold, and the airplane had grown some ice on its wings. A quick deicing bath was in order before flying.
The mile high city was coming to life.
I can see my house, can you? The tall peak in the background is 14,110 foot Pikes Peak, state rank #30.
We played tag with the clouds while flying over South Park, Colorado.
The eastern side of the Mosquito Range was catching sun while the west side was socked-in with clouds.
Morning light hits Colorado's San Juan Mountains. The La Plata Mountains, a San Juan subset, rise in the far upper right.
It's fun to catch a bird's-eye view of peaks I've ascended. The below photo is the Wilson Group of the San Juan Mountains, with three fourteeners I've summited. Left to right (and forming a perimeter) are Wilson Peak (14,017 ft, state rank #48), Gladstone Peak (13,913 ft, rank #67), Mount Wilson (14,246 ft, rank #16) and El Diente (14,159 ft). El Diente is Spanish for elk tooth. El Diente does not get an official rank because the drop in the saddle between it and Mount Wilson is not 300 feet or greater. The verdict will always be out. However, due to the difficulty of the climb, I consider it a separate 14er. The ridge joining Mount Wilson with El Diente is considered one of the state's four most challenging 14er traverses.
Flying over the canyon country of southeast Utah is about as good as it gets. Below is Comb Ridge. It's primarily a north-to-south trending monocline. It's 80 miles long and runs from Blanding, Utah, to Kayenta, Arizona. In 1976 it was designated a National Natural Landmark. This view conjured up memories for me because I was flying over a region where I did lots of research and field work in during 1987 and 1988.
The upper center of the photo is Monument Valley and Kayenta, Arizona. Comb Ridge may be seen wrapping around the back side of Monument Valley.
Welcome to Los Angeles, California!
There's more on the way. Thanks for reading.