Around the world, at last |

Around the world, at last

Don Rogers

This 14-day balloon ride around the globe – the first achieved, of course – is really just another of many adventures involving planes, sailboats, dog sleds, even a swim across the English Channel. Next up might be taking a glider to the stratosphere, he says. Wow.

Why? God knows. Most of us find more than enough adventure straying into Royal Elk Glades on a pair of skis or a snowboard.

But Fossett is a welcome antidote to murderous nuts like Osama bin Laden and his ilk.

Fossett’s balloon – Spirit of Freedom – is a beacon for mankind’s ability to soar. That’s a message we could stand to hear more.

New gold

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Wednesday evening’s rain – and as we write, we’re hoping Thursday will follow suit – was a most welcome drop in the bucket of Colorado’s droughtiest drought in the past century.

A monsoon season that delivers a steady beat of afternoon and evening thunderstorms would do wonders in many ways.

It would help keep the river water temperature down a little for fish struggling to survive. It would help the ranchers, as well as the suburban lawns that have sprung up in the place of what used to be a lot more ranchland. It might help a little with water shortages made acute by a dry winter and snowpack that eroded quickly this year.

And, of course, it would dampen our acute wildfire danger.

Some scientists warn that our part of the West has run through a relatively wet cycle, and perhaps we’re due for the sort of dry spells that might have helped roust out the Anasazi centuries ago. This is a desert environment, after all, and even the New West must eventually face Mother Nature’s realities.

The new gold in the New West is water. Count the drought as mild warning, for now, that population growth across the arid West will be bounded by water even more so than available land. The line in the sand won’t be the blissfully wet years but the droughts.

Oh sure, we’ll figure out schemes to pump, tunnel and channel water from far away to go beyond what a particular area can support on its own. Look at Los Angeles. More worrisome for Western Slope communities aiming to grow, look to the water rights gobbled up by Front Range communities eying projects such as a Lake Wolcott.

An irony is that anti-growth types perhaps ought to welcome schemes to send our water away.

Man’s ingenuity vs. nature. The deck is stacked against us.

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