Bare Bones Biology 283

151118-Los Alamos-ASC_9855RLSsIn the morning, we jumped into our new-old gray truck, and drove up the hill to the Sargents Wildlife area, to check out Old Grey and our favorite tree with our own particular mountain in the background – believe me, it is back there. We made the very first set of tracks in the eight inches of new snow.


Old Gray did very well, without snow tires or chains, and, back down the hill, we drove back and forth over the entrance to our Winter Palace to trample down the piles of snow and other debris that our friendly neighborhood snow-dozer enjoys piling right in the place where our driveway meets the road, so we can’t get out with the car, though she could handle the rest of the driveway with no problem, and I don’t have time today to re-learn how to use our personal snow blower before my appointment in Los Alamos.


151118-Los Alamos-ASC_9890RLSsSo we mashed down the snow, switched to the car, made it out onto the very well dozered road, and headed out on this beautiful snow day to take our time on the road to Los Alamos and take some pictures. On the way out, we passed a cold-looking cowboy riding a black horse and leading a fully loaded bay packhorse through the roadside snow. Pictures? No way. First, he was crossing a long bridge, and second, after the bridge, there was no shoulder to the road where the snowplow had been. No place to safely stop until we got almost to Ghost Ranch.


Los Alamos is set on the top of a very high mesa with a mountain behind it. You get there up something that feels like the donkey trail into the Grand Canyon, but shorter and two lanes wide, some parts of which never receive the warmth of the sun, which is why we decided to come a day before our appointment, and even at that we got the last motel room in town, or so they told me. Who ever heard of motel overload on a Tuesday at 3 pm??? Fortunately we lucked out, and also fortunately the toxic chemical level was within tolerable limits, so we stayed two nights.


This odd little town, which is presumably the world center of nuclear power, is perfectly situated for defense. Just close off that donkey trail, and the surrounding cliffs are hundreds of feet steep. The town seems to be overflowing with cars but no people, outside of the places of business, of which there are not very many. I found the – actually Bitsy found the Coop, so we shopped for organically grown goods and dumped our recycle into their bins, neither convenience being available at home.120806-Nukes-ASC_9633s

Last week we were here the back of the car was flowing over with recycles that we took to the massive central facility, a story for some other time, but even Bitsy remembered the place; she loves a parade, and we have photographed two or three Peace demonstrations along this road. To our surprise, they have changed the road, and you can’t get there any more. So, the demonstrators did manage to influence someone; sometimes it’s hard to tell.


151118-Los Alamos-ASC_9911RLSsAnd the next day we retraced our steps, back down the goat trail, through Espanola, and this time stopped at the Abiquiu Inn for a snack (raspberry chimichanga, it was good), and then, chugging on back up the hill, we met our cowboy riding the black horse and leading the bay packhorse down the long hill, along the shoulder of the four-lane highway. While we drove all the way from the top of cowboy country to the home of the most advanced life-saving and death-dealing techniques in the world, and back again, he had traveled 20 miles.


To tell you the truth — this culture-shock hopping – I find it disorienting.   It’s one thing to go visit for six or eight months and actually learn something. Three days, no. I wish we would all get together and talk about what it means to be human – choose – and start making the effort. Even with the chimichanga booster, I was exhausted when the little car pulled us up over the last rise where we greet our own particular mountain and on to home, where we crashed.


Back again next week, and then – I am told the mountain version of Thanksgiving community dinner is a spectacular display, and I’ve been invited by three different people. Shall I take the camera or concentrate on the festivities?


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This is Bare Bones Biology, a production of and KEOS radio, 89.1 in Bryan, TX.


A copy of this podcast can be downloaded at:



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