Travelling through Southern New Mexico in June has its disadvantages. It's the dry season and the Gila National Forest is on fire. Hired by local newspaper, the Silver City Daily Press and Independant, we were escorted by the U.S Forest Service to inside the line to report on the situation. The good news is that fire fighting crews were able to quickly contain the blaze, in spite of more than 30 mile per hour winds, and its location in a canyon.
Pink ribbons on trees signified routes into the fire area.
Crews from around New Mexico and other states assisted at the scene.
Moving on to another part of the forest, a much larger Buzzard fire has been raging since May.
A dust devil erupts below the burning Buzzard fire.
With high winds and no moisture, wildfires become difficult to contain. Not until the monsoon season begins will there be relief and safety in the forest again.
Welcome to Field Notes! This post kicks off what might be the most epic photo adventure ever ... or a blockbuster travelling disaster; only time will tell on that one. We've hit the road with no agenda, except to explore beautiful places and find good stories. By we, I mean myself and my comedic sidekick/the one who put a ring on it/wildlife photographer Tom. He also relentlessly bombs my photos, so I'm sure he'll show up here occasionally.
From our home in the high Rockies of Colorado, we chose Silver City, New Mexico as our first destination--partly to visit a friend, and partly to explore the state's deep south. Said friend is a newspaper editor, and sent us out to cover a wildfire within two hours of rolling into town, but that's a story for another post.
New Mexico lives up to its motto: The Land of Enchantment. It's lovely here. It's also very hot. But, there's beauty in the brutal sun here, and mystery in the land's history. It's truly an enchanting place.
Heading into Silver City from Interstate 25 on New Mexico Route 152, the scenery was stunning and beautifully in bloom. The road, which is also part of the Geronimo Trail National Scenic Byway, winds through the Gila National Forest's Black Range and is also along the Southwest New Mexico Birding Trail.
We stopped at the Kingston Campground near mile marker 40 and Middle Percha Creek, to have a closer look. Kingston (6,224 feet in elevation) is a tiny town--population a little over 30 people. One resident claims there are more dogs than humans in Kingston. Judging from the fact he and his wife were walking five of their own (rescue) dogs, I'd say that's believable.
The town is also home to the (maybe) famous Spit and Whittle Club , according to a road sign that I did not actually capture a photo of. There must be a story in there somewhere. What I did find in my research, according to the Sierra County Recreation and Tourism website, is that early miners who founded the club actually did spit and whittle, and their motto was, “never spit in the wind, and always whittle away from yourself.” Women were not allowed in the club until the 1940s, but today, the president of the club is a woman. Take that, you dudes!
See, what I mean? Just walks right into my shots as if he owns the place. ;)