In the winter of 1985 I was driving through the Mojave Desert with a friend, talking about our apparent need for new river gear. As we passed the Twenty Nine Palms Marine Base, a man unexpectedly appeared on the side of the road selling used ammo cans. My friend and I laughed wildly and quickly came to realize that the moment was "All In A Days' Karma". This blog contains the occasional ramblings of a died-in-the-wool westerner who loves seeing, understanding, and being alive upon these landscapes. I cherish the moments of bliss and irony that come to all of us as we explore the planet and its residents (and perhaps visitors) in the short time we are here.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Taos, New Mexico - The Renaming of the City's Kit Carson Memorial Park

Kit Carson
An interesting row has blossomed in Taos, New Mexico regarding the name on the city park. It was recently changed from Kit Carson Memorial Park to Red Willow Park. The Albuquerque Journal ran a bang-up article about the fracas here. (You might have to answer a silly question to read the article and see the photographs).

I read the book mentioned, "Blood and Thunder," by Hampton Sides and found it to be a fair treatment of all sides involved. I liked the book and highly recommend it if you like Western history. It is not biased toward any one side.

Atrocities were committed on both sides of the "Indian Wars." Kit Carson was genuinely conflicted about how to deal with the Native peoples of the US. It is a complex issue.

Perhaps the tribes who advocated for the name change can issue some kind of statement to the effect that the name change was not undertaken to demean or denigrate Kit Carson per se, but meant only to remove the controversy from the name of the park. Kit Carson did some things to promote the good of Native Americans and using selected deeds from his life serves only to forget the rich and complex history involved with this time period. Read the book!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Should Death Valley's Racetrack Playa Be Made Off-Limits?

Read this very interesting article and an invitation to discuss the idea. It will help you to understand why the answer to the question might be yes.

Photo by James Brandon

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

The Heart of the Grand Canyon

My wife, Helen, took this shot of the Grand Canyon recently. As we looked at the photo, we couldn't help but notice the very obvious heart formed by the shadows of the clouds over the canyon. And the center of that heart goes right through the axis of Bright Angel Canyon! So there it is, the Heart of the Grand Canyon.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Slide Fire Reveals Archaeology Sites

The Slide Fire in northern Arizona is mostly history now but it is still making news for other reasons. The fire caused archaeologists with the Coconino National Forest to work with fire fighters to determine if certain sites should receive protections. An old cabin and railroad were revealed in the process. Read an LA Time article here.

Also, Ted Grussing has taken some really nice aerial photos of the burn. See them below, along with his commentary.

"The fire crews have done an incredible job and while I am normally no fan of prescribed burns the decision to manage this fire really looks like a great decision. A large percentage of the trees in West Fork appear to be in very good condition and only a few cliff faces have been charred leaving no vegetation on them. On the top, the ignited perimeter fires stopped the advance of fires that came over the top and the areas on top that are burned appear to be pretty small over all.

I'm attaching two photos that I shot early this morning of the area.

The first photo titled West Fork was shot from about ten thousand feet msl over the SW end of Long Canyon looking towards the North. Boynton Canyon is just out of sight lower left and Long Canyon extends to the NE to the right of the photo and ends at the mountain ridges; just over the ridges is Oak Creek Canyon, engulfed in smoke. Oak Creek Canyon extends northward on the right side and is marked by the smoke filling the canyon. The smoke line that cuts to the left side of the image is West Fork and the many little canyons and sub canyons of West Fork can be seen as smoke rises above the very deep canyon walls. On the horizon from the left to the right is Sitgreaves Mountain, Kendrick Peak, The San Francisco Peaks and Mt. Elden.

The second photo titled West Fork 1 was shot from the left side of the smoke in the first photo and is looking generally to the NE. This shot was taken from about twelve thousand feet directly over the TFR area. It shows the beauty of West Fork and the mystical beauty enhanced by the residual smoke in the canyons that will be smoldering for some time. Although there are quite a few trees that were damaged the vast majority seem to be in pretty good shape ... when you consider what it looked like last week when it was burning so intensely it seems a miracle that it came out so good."