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39 years ago my Wife and I were married. This date is getting very important because many couples these days, fail to stay together this long. When we proposed marriage, I was told by my wife to ask her Father for his blessing. When the early evening conversation was approaching, my wife became very nervous. Her Father, a 'common sense brilliant', self made businessman, was an unpredictable individual. I told him we were getting married and asked his approval.
His very loud comment was, "My blessing? I don't even know who the Hell you are". "And if you ever hurt her young man, the entire state of New Mexico will not be big enough to hide you". Needless to say I have never hurt her. I did mention to her as we took the tramway ride up to the top of Sandia Crest that evening for relaxation, "Well, he didn't mention Texas".
This evening was far more relaxed for us than our wedding day 39 years ago. The local Coldwell Banker real Estate Professional, neighbor gave us tram tickets for this 'flight'. There is a nice Mexican grill restaurant at the lower terminal, but we were going to the top restaurant 'High Finance', which also discounts tickets.
The tramway ride was still as special for us as that other evening many years ago. The view is spectacular from the tram car. This is the longest tram of this type in the world. The base terminal is at 6,550 feet (2000m) 'Sonoran' Climate Zone. The top terminal is at 10,378 feet (3,153m) 'Hudsonian' Climate Zone. The double cable set is 2.7 miles (4.46km) long. Each of the 2 alternating cars holds 50 people. The travel time is about 15 minutes. Blogengeezer watched as this marvel was built back in 1965.
As we were pulled up the cables at 13 Miles per hour, (19kmh) the ever present migratory hawks were circling, catching thermals along with the prolific large Ravens. Deer are usually spotted somewhere below. Sometimes a black bear wanders into view. The updraft created as the Westerly winds approach the face of the mountains, gives the birds including Golden Eagles, an astonishing rate of climb. Hang Gliders use this Peak as a thrill of a lifetime jumping off point.
The 1.4 billion year old Granite face of the mountain, which was forced by the relentless pressure of the 'Faralon' tectonic plate sliding under our North American plate, to stand on end about 10 million years ago, covers hundreds of millions of years of history as it unfolds into view. The top 300 feet of Invertibrate, fossil laden, limestone is the bottom of an inland shallow sea of 100 to 250 million years ago.
The following 'Range and Basin' uplift which is prolific in the Western Interior States, of the Sandia Crest, combined with the simultaneous drop of the 'Rift' (one of the worlds deepest) Rio Grande valley to the West, totals over 30,000 feet (9km). Taller than Mt Everest, but filled in with decayed Granite rubble over the millinia. The 3 million year old Rio Grande River, flows down from its headwaters near Crede Colorado, a few hundred miles to the North.
The view from the top is spectacular and presents a panorama of an extremely large (9%) portion of the State of New Mexico. Many a trip was made by 'Geezer' and his 3 son's during the ski seasons years ago. I recommend a trip to see the lights and stars after dark. Many hiking/biking trails cross the Crest area, with it's numerous transmitting/receiving towers. If hiking, bring food, water and proper gear, the weather is unpredictable many times of the year.
The valley floor to the West, with the Rio Grande river meandering down the rift valley, on it's course toward Mexico, spreads out like a table for the eye to feast upon. A person could spend a lot of time just looking out over the wide open space and see something different with each sweep of the vista. Volcanic action was highly instrumental in the forming of New Mexico's landscape. Look for lava flows and ancient volcanic 'cores' on the horizon.
The service in the 'High Finance' restaurant was excellent. The food was excellent. Of course the company was excellent. An extremely plump squirrel was just outside our table window, standing tall on it's hind feet trying to see if the food it smelled in the waste container, was possible to access. All of this ambiance was further enhanced by the fact of a wedding taking place on the deck overlook in front of our window. The young bride and groom from Oklahoma, accompanied by the parents were fun to watch.
After our meal, my wife went over and told the young couple that this was our 39Th anniversary. I hope it works as well for them as it did for us. The ride back down descended into the clouds for a very short time. The setting sun with it's special lighting effects, to further enhance the mountains rugged features stressed into the 1,350 million year old Granite face, came out from under the clouds within less than a thousand feet of the top.
Our descent was enjoyable just as much as the ascent. A quiet ride, a nice evening at home, followed this special day. Enjoy life with others, it's a great way to spend your time on this Earth.