Great post, Doc. I know exactly what you mean about the east. I'm from CA, and the first decade here I felt like I was living in a hedge. NH and VT offers some impressive sightlines, though. I ride up there to get my fix.
Regarding explosives, as a 16yo I worked on a road crew in the Sierras one summer. I started as a jackhammer operator drilling holes in granite for blasting. I was about 120lbs and too slow, so they made had me filling the holes with dynamite and stringing the wires to the twist gizmo. But the glycerin gave me headaches
, so they moved me to twisting the gizmo. Well, I picked me a spot behind a big old tree and strung my wires to it. The crew just watched silently. I got behind the tree and shouted 'fire in the hole'! Somebody shouted it back and I gave her a big old twist...
I guess I was too close. I thought I had killed myself. After that they moved me to driving a dump truck up and down the grade we were making...I was pretty good at that until I blew the driveshaft off throwing a speedshift up the hill. It ripped the brakelines and locked the dumptruck on the grade, shutting down the job for a day before we could fix the truck.
Hope you are getting better weather than we have up here!