By Chuck Van Drunen
This picture is the medical equivalent of the world’s largest MRI, but it is not showing you the interior workings of your physiology. Rather, this is an introspective image of the land you inhabit.
This is a map of our region, Gallup is roughly in the middle and marked with a small green “GLP.”
The lighter areas of this map indicate higher elevation, while the darker zones show lower areas like rivers and valleys.
The Chuska mountains north of Gallup are highlighted in green, and just to the west of them is Canyon De Chelly, faintly visible in a touch of pink. Likewise the 50-mile red rock ridge is in green where it terminates to the east at Mt. Taylor. The Zuni mountains just south and east of Gallup are also indicated in green.
Our region has amazing topographical variety. See how many features you can identify on this map; go ahead, just write them in. Start with some easy ones like Lake Powell and the Grand Canyon and then over to the San Juan Mountains. After a few minutes you will see that the quantity of amazing places within our reach is overwhelming.
In terms of our terrain, we are certainly rich. Even within McKinley county, just one of our smaller Gallup mesas or canyons, that don’t even show up on this map, would be considered a state park or national monument by just about any Midwestern state.
In this sense we aren’t just rich, no, it would be more accurate to say we are all “terrain billionaires.”