Welcome back. Regular readers know that I often travel to northern New Mexico or the “Land of Enchantment” as it’s called. Unfortunately as of this writing the precise area where I usually stay in this land of enchantment has been under siege by the Ute Park Fire. Last week the town of Cimarron, New Mexico had to be evacuated but I’m happy to report that the five hundred and forty-five professional firefighters who have been battling this fire with their ten helicopters saved the town.
The fire came within a few blocks of the historic St. James Hotel and from reports part of the fairgrounds were burned but no houses were lost. At last count about forty thousand acres have burned but it is now believed to be seventy-seven percent contained. Waite Phillips’ old ranch, the Express UUBar, has had some damage and sadly Philmont Boy Scout Ranch has had to cancel all of the treks that were planned into the mountains until July 14th. According to their website conditions will be re-evaluated at that time and events at the training center have also been cancelled until further notice.
Local scout master Charles Lewis had been planning to take his troop to Philmont this week and he and I estimate that over six hundred kids a day are missing out on the trip of a lifetime. Yes friends, kids from literally around the world who had been planning a trip to Philmont for years have now had their plans cancelled. It’s a real tragedy for many young people and I can only hope that they will be able to reschedule for another year. The heroic fire crews who have been fighting this fire around the clock deserve another mention and although the fire is still ongoing happily no lives have been lost so far.
I’m moving from one catastrophe to another as dry conditions are just as bad in southwest Colorado, another of my favorite places. Durango is known for its ties to Hollywood from a day that is now long gone as well as for an old train that takes you up the mountain to Silverton- a place that everyone should see at least once in their lifetime. Durango is definitely a special place but I’ve just heard from my contacts that dry conditions are taking a toll there as well.
The “416” fire that has been burning in the area has doubled in size due to high winds and over 2,000 home in its path have been evacuated. If conditions don’t improve a lot more property and some important history may be lost.
Be safe and till next time I’ll see ya down the road….