Climbing Mountains the Easy Way
OUR cable car must have resembled a tiny spider inching its way along a single silken strand. Actually, we were climbing a mountain the easy way—riding one of the longest aerial tramways in the world.
The 2.7-mile [4.3 km] tramway ascends Sandia Peak, which towers majestically above the desert city of Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S.A. At the tram’s base, at an elevation of 6,500 feet [1,980 m], we boarded a sturdy cabin that holds up to 60 persons. As the cabin surged upward, we seemed to shrink against the magnificent backdrop of jagged granite slopes. In some places we were suspended 1,500 feet [460 m] above the floor of the canyon below.
Less than 20 minutes later we arrived at the observation deck, 10,378 feet [3,163 m] above sea level, and the view was dizzying. A vast area of 11,000 square miles [28,500 sq km] stretched before our eyes. Was it the high altitude that made our hearts beat so rapidly, or was it the thrilling panorama? It was hard to tell.
The construction of the Sandia Peak Tramway, we later learned, was an engineering feat. The mountain terrain was almost impossible to traverse in many places. So the builders opted to use helicopters as packhorses. They airlifted everything from steel girders to concrete. Two towers were erected for the cables, one 232 feet [71 m] tall and the other 80 feet [24 m]. Building secure foundations for these towers and then aligning them properly required painstaking precision. Elaborate braking systems were installed to ensure safety. The project, 24 months in the making, was finished in the spring of 1966.
When our trip was over, we looked up again at the towering peak we had just climbed and descended. How awesome those mountains are! How exhilarating and how humbling to think of their Creator, the One who weighs mountains in his scales! (Isaiah 40:12)—Contributed.