Monday, June 19, 2006

...that is tenacity

We just got back from spending Father's Day weekend camping above Ouray, Colorado. The little mining town is one stop on a "scenic byway", encircling the San Juan Mountains. Many times we have driven the route up the Dolores Canyon, over Lizard Head pass, down into Telluride, up over Dallas Divide, turning east toward Ouray, up and over Red Mountain pass, into Silverton, then over Molas and Coal Bank pass, through the Animas valley to Durango and then back north through Mancos and back up to Dolores.
And every time we do it, there are moments I am holding on tight to the #$%@! bar as Jonh has to move way over to the edge of the road to allow a wide RV, probably with a small car in tow, to get by and I look down the thousand foot drop off, wondering how close our tires are to the edge and my thoughts always seem to turn to the men who dug these roads out of rock, before the age of powered machinery and think of their tenacity to get the job done!
But then Gold and Silver have always motivated men to be tenacious.
Otto Mears was greatly responsible for getting the railroad to about every place it could go in the San Juan mountains, then to the places too steep of a grade for the steam engines, he made toll roads, on which the miners had to pay him to get their riches out.
tenacious men were able to lay track up the Dolores Canyon and the train brought much need supplies to Telluride, in it's box canyon. But even today you can stand on the main street and see the remains of roads cut into the sides of the mountains, Black Bear, being the most famous and most dangerous, dug by miners to get at their treasures.
When we headed home yesterday we decided to get off the beaten path and turned on to Old Lime Creek Road, a dirt and rock road that paralled the modern highway above as it made it's way over CoalBanks Pass. Luckily for my husband, my memory is short and I usually don't remember the %$*&! places of a particular road till there is no turning back.
Well that moment came about midpoint, when we started to climb out of the creekbed and the road hugged a red dirt cliff. This is when I start thinking about how wide our truck is, how wide another car might be meeting us and how wide the road isn't! Backing up on a narrow road, next to a huge drop off to let another car pass is no fun! Jon is very skilled and I would want no other to be behind the wheel, but getting through places like this always makes me suck in air!
Once pass the crisis, I thought of the ladies, who traveled this road, not for pleasure, or an aircondtioned cab of a truck with great suspension, but in a wagon, out in the air, with unpredictable horses, but hopefully sitting next to a skilled man, who she has complete faith in to navigate the treacherous road, wondering what they would do if they met another wagon coming the other way.
Do you know why the pieces and parts of NASA's shuttles are the size they are? Because they have to be able to fitt through the tunnels that the trains take, the trains are a width because that is the width of the track they are on, the track is that width because of the width of the roads they were layed down on, determined by the width of the wagaons that were driven down them, determined by the width of two horses harnessed together. Our future is connected to our past!

1 comment:

  1. The picture is spectacluar. You were able to spend time in a magical place. I enjoyed the comments about our present and past being so connected. I never thought of it that way, but it has me thinking about a hundred other things that are the size they are because........