Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Freakout at 10,000 Feet

Today has been jampacked with activities. We arose around 7:30, picked up bagels, and headed out to Petroglyph National Monument. We walked around for about an hour and saw around 200 petroglyphs, just a fraction of the 20,000 carvings in the area. This was one of my favorite guys:

Afterwards we stopped in Old Town and looked at a bunch of tourist crap. We had a pretty good lunch at Church Street Cafe. I had a Navajo Taco, which totally exceeded my expectations. My memories of such tacos were from stopping on the road to Monument Valley and having lunch at one of the little dirt floor huts that line the road. Anyway...the fry bread that I had today was totally delicious, and there were plenty of toppings.

We stayed inside during the afternoon while the hot desert sun went scorching through the sky. Once again, Porkchop trounced me during rummy. We also cried some...well maybe a lot. To pick up our spirits, we decided to go on the Sandia Tramway.


While Porkchop voiced fears about the ride and being on top of the mountain, I played it cool and said everything would be fine.

I really thought it would be, what with my experiences on Jungfraujoch, Mt. Pilatus, and some other mountain type places that required riding an air gondola or super steep railroad.

Well, I was wrong!

I started freaking out soon after our tram car started out. Here is a picture of Porkchop looking cool as a cucumber while I'm silently panicking:

We were REALLY HIGH above the ground. Panic, panic!

Here's a shot of the pretty scenery that I couldn't enjoy because I was freaking out so much:

When we FINALLY got to the top (the ride was 15 minutes), my hands had each released at least a pint of sweat.

Porkchop adjusted more quickly than I did and readily did things like lean on the guardrail and stare out from our vantage point of nearly 10,400 feet. See:

Meanwhile, Porkchop had to drag me over for this picture:

I actually said to her, "I really don't appreciate you pulling me to the edge like this."

Things got better once we left the area by the tram and went out on some of the trails. Since it was already so late and pretty chilly, we didn't walk for long. But here's a nice shot of Porkchop:

It was so nice and quiet on the trails. I forget how easily we get used to the constant noise of everyday life. It was refreshing to just hear the wind blowing through the trees and animals scurrying about.

I was, however, relieved to go down. I enjoyed being on the mountain top, but I couldn't stop thinking about the return ride, so it was nice to get it over with.

Here are two great shots that give you an idea of the size of the mountain that we were on and how high up we were during the ride. The cable cars are a good size and hold up to 65 people (although they only load a maximum of 50):

After such a harrowing experience, we stopped for gelato on our way home. Ecco Gelato is relatively new and is super delicious. I had the chai and cinnamon flavors. Yum!

However, even though the gelato was terrific, nothing beat being back on ground level and not dangling above a mountain.

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