Conquering the bluffs
In outdoor education the idea of "conquering" a land mass is outdated. However, I believe it is human nature to find satisfaction in looking up at a mountain and knowing that you've been to the top.
When I first moved to the Four Corners, someone told me to always use the bluffs in the south of Farmington to orient myself, and that has helped me out numerous times. But aside from their use as a landmark and reflecting spectacular light during a sunrise, what other way is there to "appreciate" this unique formation?
In Durango, Colo., it is easy to look up from the center of town and say, "You can hike the Junction Creek Trail and get to the top of Animas Mountain." In Farmington, you just need to be a bit more creative. The trail I ran — or rather, jogged. Slowly. — to reach the top of the bluffs on Sunday was the Bisti Highway. Farmington Mayor Tommy Roberts knows. He cycles the steep, curvy section of road as a workout, and maybe as a good way to keep an eye on his district. From the top, as is the case with most climbs, part of the satisfaction you feel is from the beautiful view you have earned.
From my house to the top of the "pass," where the highway evens out and becomes a straight shot to the Bisti Badlands, was exactly five miles so altogether it was a pretty intense run for me.
The broken glass and cars whizzing by may be a turn-off for some, but to me there is a sense of adventure that comes with experiencing anything in a new way. And that is one reason I love Farmington. We can't always get to the wilderness (and by all means, we shouldn't be able to), so sometimes you have to be willing to find your own.