As you know, if you have ever read my blog before, I hate flying. So getting up at 4am to get on a 6am flight to Chicago, just to transfer to a flight to Santa Ana, was not appealing. The changeover was the result of the bargain price I got (and was worth it no matter how much I bitch in the coming paragraphs) but needing to switch planes preventing one minor flying necessity: sleeping pills.
Luckily–although not at the time–I had only slept 2 hours the previous night so I did manage to doze on both flights. With about two hours to go, I woke, peaked and was instantaneously awestruck. We were flying over the Rockies. It looked like we were just skimming the tops yet we seemed to be idling, barely covering any ground.
For the next two hours I stared out the window.
We passed snow-capped peaks, rocky green hills cut by bright blue rivers. And just like a sand dune blends in with the sea, the mountains sloped into desert land cracked with canyons and craters. Then out of nowhere, ridged grass covered mountains would appear.
This continued for hundreds of miles.
With 20 or so minutes remaining, the captain announced we would begin to descend. We were over flat farmland. You could immediately feel the decline in altitude and recognize that we were passing over more dense suburbs—and human existence in general.
Then, out of nowhere a cluster of hills popped up. It felt that we would soon be flying adjacent to their peaks. Ridged and sharp looking, yet grass-covered, rounding off the edges. And along each ridge line was a dirt trail, or road. I stared, astonished, at the beauty that was growing from the ground so close to the densely-populated Orange County. You didn’t see this as distinctly in NY—it was amazing.
I stared at the dirt paths trying to figure out their purpose. Surely wide enough for vehicles, but with such drops on each side, it must not be safe enough to ever let someone operate a vehicle atop this scenery. “If I had known about these ridge top trails, my plans for the next day would be totally different,” I thought to myself.
I think I discovered my key to flying: breath-taking terrain. The whole transatlantic thing is boring.