Monthly Archives: May 2013

  Although the canyons of the Uncompahgre Plateau began with an uplift four million years ago, they continue to be shaped by wind and water today. Every time you walk the unique trails of the McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area in Fruita, Colorado you will discover new fanciful structures, rock windows and caves, ancient rock art from the Fremont culture and secluded slots. There’s no mystery as to why the Ute Indians chose to camp, hunt, and gather food among the protective arms of the Colorado River canyons.

          In the novel, Sun on Snow, a pioneer girl and Northern Ute boy play house in a cave inhabited only by small animals. They come to appreciate the differences in their writing and communicating techniques as well as the joy of pretending they are carefree and self-sufficient.

          I’m sure your steps will also feel lighter and your heart sturdier as you experience a hike back in time.

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Pioneers of Flight

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            Women and men made history in the simplest, yet most demanding ways. Two brothers from Ohio used their bicycle engineering skills, dredged up what they knew about wind and kite flying and applied every ounce of their resources to master the first successful airplane. Wilbur and Orville Wright used a single steel rail and a twenty-seven mile per hour headwind to fly their invention on December 17, 1903.

     I was impressed by these men and the Wright Brothers National Memorial on a recent trip to Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina. It wasn’t until they were able to control the rudder, warping mechanism, and elevator simultaneously that they stayed aloft for 59 seconds. They were satisfied with the 852 foot world record, despite the plane crashing into the sand, flipping over in the wind and being damaged beyond repair.

     Surely these men were aware of the extreme cost and manpower which brought railroad trains to Colorado in 1870. Yet, they were not bound by the popular opinion of trains being the ultimate way to travel. With the meager support of a few people, they broke through barriers most still believed to be crazy. By 1904 their next airplane was able to make one hundred five successful flights. In 1905, an improved design stayed aloft for thirty eight minutes.

     I shall remember these determined and ingenious men the next time I allow myself to become discouraged.

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