The two and a half mile tramway from Albuquerque’s foothills to the top of ten-thousand-foot Sandia Mountain is no longer the longest in the world. It enjoyed that record until less than one year ago when a mile longer one opened in Southern Armenia.
Yesterday, as the guest of my Safari Trek pals, Ken and Cathy, I took the 15-minute ride. The late afternoon sun was full upon the rugged cliffs and canyons for the eastward, ear-popping 4000-elevation gain.
No bears had been sighted for three days when a mother and two cubs had been spied. Sometimes we were less than 100 feet above the ground, then the ground dropped from below us as we soared a 1000 feet above a deep canyon.
Off to the left was TWA Canyon named for the TWA flight that wandered in on the night of Feb 19, 1955, and was claimed by the walls of the box canyon. Wreckage is still visible to the sharp-eyed tram rider or hikers up to the 5-hour athletic challenge.
From the top, Albuquerque lay like an Indian blanket with a hundred miles of desert, mountains, the Rio Grande–a silver snake–in the foreground and virga rain clouds (showers that fall from high clouds into dry air and do not reach the ground) stretching into forever .
And the city lights come alive.