Nothing like waking up to your friend telling you that you’ve been mentioned in Newsweek Magazine. While the article itself was not a surprise, the fact that I was mentioned in it was.
Last November my hiking buddy Death Valley Jim and I hosted Newsweek Magazine senior writer Alexander Nazaryan on an exploration of the El Paso Mountains area of the California desert. He was researching an article about the green destruction of our American deserts.
Jim and I work together on a project called Scorched Secrets (www.scorchedsecrets.com) in which we document remote points of interest in the American Desert with a view to bringing the fun into the living room and helping people see that the desert is not the desolate place so many imagine it to be, but rather a vibrant, living region full of exotic American history and history in the making.
My friend Jim is a desert explorer and activist. He believes that public spaces are ours as citizens to both protect and enjoy. He also believes that archaeological sites on public land are similarly ours. It is his firmly held philosophy that if people were properly educated about how to visit and respect our archaeological heritage, like native rock art sites and old mines and the like, society would be much better stewards of this part of our history.
The Newsweek article touches on this argument as well as the destructive nature of the “green” projects that are placed in the desert such as wind farms and solar arrays.
While this Newsweek article is not about me, it is about Jim, but since I was there I got a mention. The most fun part about Alexander’s observation of us was how perfectly he nailed my relationship with Jim in two succinct sentences. Jim was on a cranky rant about how he disapproves of everyone who tries to destroy the desert, from off-roaders to renewable energy companies. I’ve also listened to hours of him go off on people who build rock cairns as trail markers and pretty much anyone who breathes on the desert, so I’ve become a little inured to these cranky rants. While I agree with him in principle, I tend to feel he’s a little idealistic sometimes. Especially when it comes to things like building rock cairns that help people know where the trail is. I think the cairns are really helpful, minimally invasive and zero destructive, but anyway, we can agree that he is passionate. To my point, Alex reports that as Jim is standing on the pristine silent desert he furrows his grumpy brow and declares, “I hate man’s footprint.” And I said, “Yet here you are.” That’s us in a nutshell. The modern version of The Honeymooners. We frequently irritate each other, but its usually somewhat entertaining, and Alex saw it. Nice one, Alex.
Here is a link to some video we took of the Burro Schmidt Tunnel gold mine while in the desert with Alex. Click here to jump over to my post about the Burro Schmidt Tunnel.
Thank you, Alex, for the mention. It was a pleasure to meet you and I hope to adventure with you again soon.