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Response to DemoTex (Original post)

Sun Jun 8, 2014, 04:31 AM

59. Good to meet you today!

Good to meet you today at the Mt. Lemmon Lookout, DemoTex. And looking at these photos again, they are all beautiful. Back in the 80s and 90s, in the film era, I carted my SLR plus 28mm, 50mm and 70-210 mm zoom lenses with me all over Arizona and western New Mexico on my many hikes and backpack trips into the wilds, and though I got many good photos, I don't know that they have the stunning clarity and color that these do. Plus, it seems like you're having a very different photographic experience, getting to know one place well, and waiting for the photo moments to come, as opposed to my rushing about and catching moments more randomly as I did. Excellent work!

Soon the "summer monsoons" will be upon us, first creeping closer day by day from the southeast, out of Sonora, and then finally reaching the Tucson area with thunderheads building up daily over the mountaintops by mid-afternoon. Some of my favorite memories of working from 1982 to 1984 at that no-longer-existent University of Arizona Physics Department telescope that was over near Mt. Bigelow was going up to the top of the telescope tower (it was shaped sort of like a lighthouse) on summer nights and watching the distant thunderheads flickering away madly and silently over the Pinalenos Range (Mt. Graham) or the more distant high Gila Range of western New Mexico. I also remember not so fondly cowering through the raging storms on the ground floor of the telescope building, or in the adjacent trailer at night. You are brave to be in these lookouts in thunderstorms, and I WOULD recommend the stool with the glass insulator feet--it certainly can't hurt.

Hiking and backpacking in the mountains in the 80s and 90s here in Arizona was such an immersion in the huge forests, never failing to leave me in awe, so completely unlike the woods of Maine where I grew up. And now almost all of them have burned, it seems, in the 20 years since, and I haven't been back to many of them, too sad to see what remains. The Santa Catalinas I visit for summer dayhikes to escape the heat, but the Rincons, Santa Ritas, Pinalenos, Chiricahuas, Gilas, Escuidilla Mountain, the Mogollon Rim from Alpine to Hannigan's Meadow and from Prescott to Show Low, the Mazatzals, the Sierra Anchas--I have not been back to them since they burned. In the rest of my hike today, down the control road, and back through Mt. Lemmon Meadow up near the peak above you, I'd pass small patches of tall unburned trees, and remembered when the forests were solid. But the unburned forest was artificial, the result of decades of fire suppression, and now the pendulum has swung too far in the other direction, with too much burning off, too hot, burning away the ten thousand year old soils to the bare rock beneath, and we, and our children's children's children's children will not again see the mountain slopes covered thick with Douglas Fir.

May your work there at Mt. Lemmon Lookout help to keep our forests safe this summer!

--Tom

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DemoTex May 2014 OP
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