## Friday, January 29, 2010

### How high?

Do you like to be up in the air, living on the edge, hanging over the rail with your camera, capturing it all? Riding the Stratosphere Roller Coaster, at the top of the Empire State Building, climbing the Eiffel Tower, dangling over the edge of the Grand Canyon's North Rim, enjoying the overlook at Bridal Falls?

Or are you like a couple of us at Excel Math - just a little happier with someone holding onto your arm while you close your eyes and back away from the edge, thinking thoughts of sea level and flat prairies? If so, read on.

I don't care all that much for mountains. I like floating on a river. Canal boats are a slow and relaxing way to spend a holiday. You simply putt along at a walking pace, through gentle countryside. Right? Thinking math thoughts, like how many hours of cruising can we do on one tank of fuel, where's the next pub ... la dee dah.

This is the life, we're thinking, then suddenly the boat enters a skinny aquaduct (water pipe) that goes up in the air! Or to be more precise, the ground disappears and we find ourselves in a metal channel stuck atop some stone pillars. The ground is 130 feet below us!

Here's another view, for the height-challenged reader.

While researching this blog, I read about a gal who was riding her bike along the path. She wobbled and fell over into the canal. It was so deep she couldn't climb out, and had to push her bike through the water, all the way to solid ground at the end. Oh boy. Imagine her pulse rate!

I had all sorts of math thoughts in my mind while preparing this blog, like how much water is flowing through the canals, miles of canals in England, Scotland and Wales, number of boats in the canals, etc.

Then I remembered going to the The Falkirk Wheel, a unique water lift that scoops boats out of a pond and hurls them into the air! Or to put it another way, you cruise into a pipe and it suddenly drops you 80 feet down into a pond! Here's an animated timelapse photo that's from the Wikipedia media library. My shots were too shaky!

But after remembering this traumatic, high-altitude canal adventure, I thought I'd just keep the blog simple. Here's another shot in some canal lock, somewhere in the UK, showing me at the elevation I prefer. Not too high. Can't fall too far. Lots of other people around. No math required.

Have a nice, flat, sea-level day!