Monday, May 07, 2007

Field trip and family trip to the American West (21 April -4 May)

As the DTI supports Imperial College geology research into Transgressive Reservoirs, three spots on a fieldtrip were offered and I was one of the lucky winners. Despite five long days in the field and total submersion in the arcane jargon of sedimentology, it was fantastic... as if days walking through remote river-eroded canyons looking at cliff faces could ever be bad? The other corporate sponsors of the research came from New Zealand (!), Germany, Houston, California and the UK - really interesting people, all expert sedimentologists, who were patient with answering questions. Despite snow one morning, a bit of sunburn (and windburn) was the worst hardship we faced, and we managed to fit in a bit of culture as well as rocks.

We had a tour through the Pueblo Bonito ruins in Chaco Canyon, the centre of native American Indian trade and worship from 850-1200AD. Archaeologists have only theories about the use of the many kivas (round rooms) and other tiny rooms in the 5 story palace. We then moved on to examine the cliffs near Mesa Verde and wondered at the agility of the people that lived in the cliff houses perched high on ledges (wave ravinement surfaces, actually) in the sandstone.

Jet lag made early morning runs easy, so I explored the back streets of Albuquerque and Gallup, New Mexico before leaving for the field. Farmington was a bit too industrial for a run, but the last hotel in Cortez CO backed on to the mountains and I surprised a herd of elk, who joined my run for a few incredible moments. With only a few weeks before the half-marathon, I'm glad I could keep to the training schedule while travelling.

Then I flew to Pueblo Colorado to see my step-mother, Jewell and meet up with my sister Linnie, who was just out of surgery for her shoulder. We ate fantastic Mexican food with Jewell's sister, brother and his wife. Jewell put me to work in her garden, reminding me how I was neglecting the one at home! Her house is lovely and its good to see her settled in with family nearby. Jewell is working too hard as the Admin Mgr for a Charity for the Homeless, but finds helping people, particularly children, makes her feel it is worth all the stress and long hours.
Then back to Denver to meet up with Billy, his parents and niece, Lindsay. Bill and Sally bought a house near Washington Park where we met to walk, roller-blade and walk the dog... simultaneously! Curt's friend, Wendy had just returned from Washington DC where she testified at a congressional hearing on the care of cancer patients. She's a very cool lady!

We also got to see Quang Ho's Studio and he and Nancy, his wife, took us out to a trendy restaurant with fantastic wine. Bill and Sally treated me to a decadent massage and facial for my birthday - shopping, spa, lunch, more shopping - what an indulgent day!

So finally, back home for the Spring Bank Holiday and I managed a 10 mi run along the Chess Valley.
The trip was great, but its nice to be home! Nick, Ali, Tanya and I are planning a weekend in Matlock for the White Peak Half Marathon, with Billy as photographer - 19 May 2007.


Nigel Staffordshire said...

Good luck in the White Peak HM !!


petra duguid said...

Dear Drusy,
Due to illness I've had to forego my marathon plans for White Peak but will be running the half instead so I hope to see you at some point along the trail. Good luck!
All the best, Petra