Adventure: No Go

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The High Lonesome.

Chevy once designed a car for Latin America then decided to name said car “Nova,” which in Spanish means “No go.” Consequently, things did not go well for Chevrolet in Latin America. The only issue with this story is that it’s not true. The Nova did do fairly well in Latin America and so began yet another urban legend.

What’s NOT urban legend is the drought in the American West.

It’s bad. If you are new to this story then let me be the first to explain how bad things are, and if you want to play catchup on New Mexico in particular you can start here although there are some bizarre findings on this site. Yep, things are dry my friends. Winter isn’t much of a winter these days, and summer likes to play the bully.

Earlier today I jumped on the TW and headed for the closest national forest. I needed to run the bike and to run through my gas before taking off for a while. This road into the forest is truly fun to ride. But upon arrival, once again, the forest was closed. Starting three years ago, forest closures became the norm for part or most of the entire summer. Santa Fe, Carson, you name it. Even the tiny roads in are blocked for months at a time and the fine for breaching the closures is steeper than the top of Santa Fe Baldy. (Someone told me yesterday the fine is $15,000)

You see, the forest service knows they can’t trust us. America, as we are proving more and more every day, leads the world in one category. We are number one in dumb. Three years ago, during an intensely dry and dangerous period, the forest service found over twenty unmaintained campfires the day after a holiday weekend. Local businesses were asked about potential response options and business leaders said “Close it.” Yes, CLOSE the forest, one of the primary reasons folks come to this place. Why? Because they knew that if the forest went up Santa Fe would suffer for years, and they new the general population is a danger to themselves and to the natural world. Litter, fire, overuse, dumping, illegal cutting, etc.

We are in the middle of the worst spring winds I can remember. Spring is always windy but I’ve never seen it like this. The doors INSIDE my house are banging from wind coming through cracks and windows. My bathroom smells like smoke. Debris is hitting my house all day and late into the night when winds normally die down. Outdoor events are being cancelled and these same winds are fueling numerous fires across the state. The skies above my house fill with caravans of fire fighting planes and choppers. Double bladed, rat-tat-tat-tat carrying heavy bags of water as crews fight to save Las Vegas and Mora. Los Alamos sweats it out.

What is the future of our nature? I can’t say for certain but what I can say for certain is that the playing field is changing and not just here in Nuevo. The global playing field is changing. Look at that map I linked above and you will see that even regions knowns for wet and gray are becomes dry and red. My feeling is that we must view this as an opportunity. This is the time to rethink, to get creative and to double down on the science. What do we know and what don’t we know? And for crap’s sake, keep the idiotic politics out of it.

Comments 4

  1. Last month, we suffered through seven small wildfires and a large one which required a full-on evacuation for my neighborhood here in Boulder, Colorado. This is unprecedented for early spring. Even so, conditions here are less severe than in New Mexico. After the big wildfire, the incident commander said that except for snow days, every day is now a day of fire hazard. It’s stunning how quickly climate change roared into a full reality we’re all facing now. I share both your pessimism about our fellow citizens and your hope that the overwhelming intensity of the facts will inspire creativity and change. In the meantime, I’ve packed my go-bag and crossed my fingers.

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      I just met with someone who lost their house in Boulder. Last year, actually. It was so fast and so hot they didn’t get a single thing out. This is going to be far more common as we move forward. We have to rethink everything, and for this, I have almost no hope at all. I think we will begin to rethink when we have past the point of no return.

  2. I’ve been in Arizona for a while, half-assedly planning a move here. Bittersweet – will miss the PNW. It’s been windy here, too. The skies constantly seem saturated with dust. Was having a beer outside the other night and heard the people next to me saying how nice it was out. The temperature, sure, but the air seemed unhealthy. Maybe I’ve just been away too long. There have been a few big fires here recently, too, near Prescott and Flagstaff. Lots of articles about Powell and Mead drying up.

    I think it’s all pretty bad. I’m not sure how much of my perception is influenced by my belief that we’re heading towards climate disasters.

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      Arizona air is…….not great. And throw in Valley Fever and you have to be careful about that dust. I’m in NC right now and it’s so green, and wet and lush and the birds are insane.

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