This is either overdue or redundant. But when I sent some of these to not very “Anonymous” commenter- in- chief Lane Batot, to satisfy his curiosity about the country, he thought I should blog them. The physical “structure” of the land, and its use patterns, will be utterly familiar to Westerners but perhaps a bit alien to Eastern or European readers.
From my note to Lane:
“I live downtown in a town of less than 1000 on a dirt road– the only pavement except two cross streets less than a mile long is the road through. It is 30 miles east to the county seat, 2500 feet below on the Big Rio, and there are only two towns between us and the Arizona border, 120 miles west. This east -west road, Rte 60, divides two Connecticut- sized blocks each of which has basically ONE paved road through, with well under 6000 population in the southern one. They are “filled” with big ranches, mostly public land (National Forest to the south, BLM everywhere) and a small Indian rez N. Average elevation is probably 7000 feet, peaks up to almost 11,000, cold winters, dry not too hot summers, late summer monsoons if we are lucky. No jobs & fewer people than in the cattle & mining days.”
“When Aldo Leopold was a predator controller, in 1914, he gave a talk in the no- longer existing “Magdalena Sportsman’s Hall”, to 700 people. There are just over that number now in the whole town! Then, there were upward of 5000– some say at its height almost twice that! It was a cattle shipping center with a rail spur up from the valley and a mining center.”
“No suburbs here or in most of the rural west– nothing but open land between towns. I can hawk or course within walking distance…”
Pix: town & high desert plains. I will do more town, and montane forest, later (because of our vertical range from 5 to almost 11,000 feet above sea level, we have the entire gamut of Rockies ecosystems from Canada to Mexico within 40 miles– elk and peccary, Nutcrackers and Hepatic tanagers and Vermillion flycatchers…) Please click on photos to see them larger, especially the first one.
Panorama of town in winter by Jackson, looking south. Entire town– nothing but ranches east or west for 30 miles, LESS in terms of human presence north or south. The high peaks of the Magdalena mountain range are cut off by clouds.
Looking east and down from the Magdalena mountains over Lee’s ranch in the next set and toward the Rio behind the peak…
Lee’s ranch on the plain where we hunt; Lee showing Vadim Gorbatov his print based on sketches V made there.
Box canyon cut below plain; Lib by seasonal “river” that cut it: