Aviation Noise Coming to a Mountain Near You

Most folks move to the mountains for the peace and quiet, connecting with nature and all that.  My husband and I live in a particularly remote neighborhood.  Each time we hear an airplane flying over the mountain it’s jarring — so jarring that it often results in a slight feeling of fear.  It sounds more like loud fighter jets. I frequently flashback to Red Dawn.  Patrick Swayze is definitely on his way up the mountain.  Alas, it’s always a passenger plane, and I’m up here with Ned, not Patrick….sigh.  

As such, it was particularly upsetting to learn of the recent decision by the FAA to centralize traffic in Denver, with one central route to be over Coal Creek Canyon, and surrounding areas (Gilpin County and Golden Gate Canyon State Park).  This is part of a larger FAA initiative, NextGen, which seeks to “modernize U.S. airspace”.  It appears that the NextGen initiative is targeted at multiple metropolitan areas around the U.S., whereby routes will be reduced and streamlined.  To alert communities, various “workshops” were held to advise communities of the change and how it might impact them.  For instance, when I browsed the supporting FAA documentation there were noise studies, which I suspect would help inform those workshops.  While it appears that certain parts of the mountain communities may be impacted, none were consulted or alerted of the pending changes.  Most of the community were made aware only days before a comment period was ending.  

Whether there was or was not sufficient community communication, it’s upsetting to see small mountain communities feeling unheard and uninvolved in larger public initiatives (this is not the first one in Coal Creek Canyon).  While I don’t have a great answer in this particular case — other than please tell the FAA not to fly loads of planes over my house as I suspect the noise study did not take into account its topography at 8k feet — I am keen to know what other folks think of this initiative. 

A good local reference article is here, and some wider communications here. Let me know what you think!

Taking the Road Less Traveled

First car trip with the baby!  Our friends kindly invited us to their house in Steamboat Springs, CO this past weekend.  This will be our first road trip in Colorado since we’ve moved here, as well as the first trip with the baby.  The trip immediately started out with drama — a snow storm is on the way!  Despite our efforts we got stuck on what I believe folks call “the pass” (the Eisenhower Pass) with snow pounding down.  Shortly after going through “the pass” we landed in Silverthorne, CO and found chaos, I-70 was shut down Eastbound and there were long lines in an already packed city.  Ned and I chose to brave the snow and continue on.  Over 5 hours later we landed in Steamboat Springs.

Are you wondering how I entertained a six month old for 5 hours?  My tactics included the following: 

1. Baby Einstein Song Maker — the toy flashes colors, plays music and is easy for him to push the button for both.  There’s also a section of the toy where he can grasp little tiny rings, which is helping him with his ability to grasp smaller objects

2. Black and White Book — our family is a huge fan of black and white books.  Cash could stare at these books for hours.  This and a pacifier equal instant calm

3. Never Touch a Polar Bear Book — a great sensory book

4. Wooden Rattle — a car trip would not be complete without a noise maker. We had a few in the bag, but he really likes this one! 

5. Teething Ring — Cash was teething on this trip, so we packed up this one which comes with a travel case

6. Pacifier — Cash doesn’t really use a pacifier but when he’s very bored or fussy this one seems to calm him down. We tried other ones but no success….(are your babies fussy with pacifiers?)

On our way back, instead of going back through I-70 to get to Coal Creek, we decided to take a detour to Fort Collins, CO to see our friend’s new baby.  We took a “shortcut” through the Roosevelt and Arapahoe National Park on Route 14, a road trip I’d encourage others to take on their way back to Denver or Fort Collins. We saw a moose, avalanche warnings and loads of mountain goats off (and on) the road.  Just a really interesting and beautiful scenic drive.  It was definitely a bit longer than the Google Maps suggested route, but was one of my favorite road trips for scenery and sites.  Given how much Cash spent looking out the window, I’d suspect he agrees! My favorite highlight below (thanks to Ned for getting way closer than I would ever get!).  

Hello, I’m Darcy

I’m so excited that you’ve landed on my blog!  I’m Darcy, a 35 year old mother of baby Cassius (Cash), as well as a previous New Yorker, gone Rocky Mountains.  My husband Ned and I moved 8,000 feet high to Coal Creek Canyon a year ago, and my mom (also a writer on this blog) followed shortly after.

The last few years have been a whirlwind for me and my family.  My father passed, my husband and I moved from Sydney, Australia, back to New York City, then to Denver, Colorado, all in a six month period, and I found out I was pregnant!  I’m excited to share these adventures, as well as insights into motherhood and mountain living with you!

I’ll be updating the blog weekly, and would love to know what topics you may want to hear more about.  Feel free to leave a comment below on things you may want to hear about, and thank you for contributing to my site!