Outdoor Philosophy

Harnessing the power of adventure to inspire environmental action

24 June 2006

great hospitality from jonathan and mela, including a wonderful bed outside under a car-port-like structure illuminated with fairy lights. lay in bed listening to the crickets and watching the sky light up with distant lightening. and MARMITE for breakfast!!!

was hoping to meet up with an old friend, tom buffalo, in a few days time. last minute change of plan – tom would come and get me today and take me to mancos in sw colorado for a day off. tom leases planes. he said he’d pick me up in one. i said, tom, i’m on a global warming trip, i can’t let you collect me by plane. he said, now let’s get this in perspective. we’ll talk about global warming later. see you at the airport!

the airport was three miles away which left time to visit the bike shop. after various flats i wanted to borrow a foot pump. discovered slime!! you inject slime into your inner tube, and heh, punctures become self-sealing. awesome! also spent some time with the mechanic sorting a range of minor gliches that added up to the front derailer not shifting into top. rocky has some highly-strung components that are taking my mechanical skills to new limits. slowly.

at the tiny santa fe airport, we passed ‘million aires’ and some hangers and on to the beautiful buff adobe-type reception building for private planes. a whole nother world!! er, can i bring my bike in? of course madam. so rocky and i waited in cool luxury. tom arrived. huge hugs and ‘god damn!’s. haven’t seen each other for 12 years. then, ok, compromise, i’ve bought my neighbour’s plane, it’s smaller and uses less fuel… tom borrowed the staff car and we went into santa fe for lunch and a wander around the beautiful old part of town. he told me how much these streets and shops have changed – more tourist focussed – and took me into galleries he knew from a previous career in dealing in indian rugs. some of these are worth hundreds of thousands of dollars now, literally. seems somehow obscene, given how the indian people were treated, to have their banal artefacts elevated so highly by the same culture that persecuted them.

back at the airport we squeezed rocky into the back of the tiny cessna and took off over santa fe. cycling on the road, you think, mm, this is pretty deserty, but you don’t really get a sense of the scale. in the air, you think, wow, it really IS a desert i’ve been cycling through! suddenly see for hundreds and hundreds of miles of dry land, scrub, empty water courses. and hundreds of tiny square patches that are gas wells. by this time the afternoon storms were building up. bumpy clouds. i don’t travel all that well in small planes. tom let me take the controls and only by focussing fiercely on the horizon and on keeping the wings straight did i avoid using the bin-liners we’d scrounged….landed on a grass strip, met by rosalind, tom’s wonderful wife who i hadn’t met before, and walked up to their ‘trailer’ – a beautiful, spacious white-painted house with a wooden deck and patio under tall shady trees looking out across a hayfield to distant mountains. lovely lovely place.