Settlers quickly learned that the mountains of north central New Mexico were more difficult to penetrate than they looked. In these post-logging days, aspens and conifers coat them like suede, concealing cliffs and box canyons around every corner.

Prospecting blue lines

A trail generally follows the stream on its gentle course to Shoshone Lake. If you walk the trail, you might occasionally see a tiny brook trout finning in a deep, dark corner of the creek. More likely, if you’re not an angler and staring keenly through polarized lenses through clear water isn’t really your thing, you might notice a fish dart for cover as your shadow crosses the stream

Living off the land

A woman picks berries in the Colorado high country.

In the summer, I think I could live off the land — with a bit more education. Wild raspberries and strawberries, wildflowers, wild trout, some wild onions, mushrooms and cattails would make a smorgasbord. The trout tend to come easily in the high-mountain streams I frequent, but too bad I’m a vegetarian as they would be the only filling menu item. I guess I have more learning to do. … Read more

Desert rainbows

A rainbow trout from Idaho's Little Lost River.

On a map, it doesn’t look all that far. A quick jaunt up the freeway. A race across a sea of potato fields and a good section of the Idaho National Laboratory, where plans are in place to build a dozen modular nuclear reactors to help power some 36 western communities starting in less than a decade. Finally, there’s the run up the river valley to where the desert meets the Lemhi Range

Drought and trout

There are many demands on water, especially in the West. Municipal water for drinking and other human uses, agricultural water to grow our food, recreational water to keep a thriving outdoor recreation industry afloat and numerous others. And all are important for the economy and our lives and livelihoods, but in the West, it is clear there is not enough to go … Read more