A trip to British Columbia kept me away from my blog for the past week but, as do most vacations, gave me plenty of topics to discuss. Flying to Vancouver from Denver, our route took us northward along the Front Range of the Rockies and then northwestward over the stark landscape of Wyoming's high desert, with its sharp hogbacks, numerous escarpments, broad basins and incised stream beds. Further north, we crossed the glacier-studded crest of the Wind River Range and were soon treated to a spectacular view of North America's most famous fault-block mountains, the Tetons. But the most amazing scene lay further ahead: the rugged, knife-edged summits and deep, narrow canyons of the Sawtooth-Bitterroot Ranges, which stretch along the Idaho-Montana border. To think that early explorers, including Lewis and Clark, managed to cross this forbidding wilderness with canoes and horses is a testament to their skill and perseverance; it is surely the most imposing landscape that I have ever seen from the air!
I love to fly and, unlike most mature adults, I prefer a window seat. For me, the chance to view Earth's landscape from 30,000 feet is always a rewarding experience. There is no other way to truly appreciate the breadth of her floodplains, the majesty of her mountains and the intricate pattern of her canyons. And for those of us who have an interest in geology, there is no better way to witness the interplay of rock formations, faulting, uplift and erosion that have sculpted the face of our planet.