From The Cabin Door

by SteveHulse on September 10, 2012 · 2 comments

Whether you believe in global warming/climate change is of no interest to the Sagebrush Chronicles. We here have seen and read and heard so much evidence to support it that it has long since ceased to be a debatable issue. I have a good friend who assures me that global warming is an urban myth, designed to make money for some of those ridiculous conservation groups who continue to bombard us with false info about the current dangers to our natural world.

Okay. To each his own. At best, these global changes, whether real or imagined, take place over hundreds and thousands of years, and are most difficult to accurately plot, and evidently difficult to accept. One of the recent articles I’ve read tells us that all the glaciers in Glacier Park, Montana, will be gone by 2020 (instead of 2050, as was initially predicted) if they continue to recede at their present rate. Having seen those glaciers in the last 5 years, that would naturally get my attention. But there’s more… much more. The recent weather patterns here in Montana suggest some dramatic changes on the near horizon – hell, there are several dramatic changes right here in front of my eyes… take a look.

The Jefferson River, more sandbars than water                                          Ruby Reservoir, drawn down by Labor Day
The Ruby River, green with moss

  Moss along the bank of the Ruby River

A rancher in the Ruby Valley has explained to me that the Ruby Reservoir was built for control of the irrigation waters which are so necessary to the farms and ranches north of it, in the Ruby Valley. He told me that as the lake is brought down in the summer to keep the irrigation ditches in the valley full. In 1994 the lake was completely drained, killing all the fish in the lake and doing damage to the river waters below the dam. He said that when the lake gets low, the remaining water warms with the summer sun and moss develops rapidly. Right now the fishing is bad, and the lake continues to drop, as we’ve had no rain for nearly two months.

Several days ago the federal government designated 3 Montana counties (next to mine) as drought disaster areas. Ranchers in those counties can apply for federal aid. Some ranches we’ve seen here this summer got only one cutting of hay, and we’re not sure how productive that one was. If our county (Madison) fried this summer – and it did – the surrounding counties must have really had it bad. I know that at one point in August we had 15 separate forest fires going in the state.

As most of you know, the Mississippi has dried up from what one river captain called “A major freeway” into a one-lane trail. Isn’t that the same river that flooded around Memphis last year?? Given the tornadoa, hurricanes, droughts, forest fires and Sunamis we’ve seen in just the past three years, I feel we would be well-served to prepare as well as we can for some sort of natural disaster in a neighborhood near us.

I know… that’s enough bad news for now. I agree, and our policy is to not bring bad news to the fore, except when it involves the great outdoors and trends that one can see even from the front door of one’s Montana cabin… then it becomes newsworthy.

Virginia City, MT Sept. 6th, 2012

   The hills around V.C. Sept. 6th, 2012

Forest fires are the ever-present summertime danger here in the high country. Dry summer months with hot, high winds drive the fire danger nearly off the scale, as it did this summer. Our little town is built totally of wood… old, dry wood. We are as vigilant as we can be for a town of 140 people. We might have escaped disaster by fire this summer… 3 more weeks of the dry, sunny weather we like to think of as Indian Summer, then hopefully the blessed rain and ensuing snow will return to save us for at least another season. We are so blessed to live up here in our mountain Paradise, but even up here we are still in harm’s way. But hell, I guess we all are, in one way or another…

Steve Hulse

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 brit September 20, 2012 at 1:54 AM

Ah Mr. Hulse, I hope and pray that we can make the sojourn to your Shangrila before the nonexistent changes render all things unchangeable to unrecognizable. I fear we may already be too late. You are thought of often and with great respect my brother!

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