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Beers and Bikes on New Mexico's South Boundary Trail

The initial climb to the 10,770-foot summit of northern New Mexico’s South Boundary Trail is a lung-buster, but the payoff is huge: a 20-mile amusement park of mountain-hugging singletrack dropping 3,500 feet through pine forests and aspen groves.

Linking the towns of Angel Fire and Taos, the South Boundary offers a variety of starting points and gives riders the choice of anything from a short, at times leisurely loop through the grassy meadows of Garcia Park, to a grueling 45-mile out-and-back slog from Taos. While it is possible to skip the uphill by driving to the park, if you take the thrill ride down to town, the only way to avoid the rocky and technical final three miles is to turn around and grind back up. Perfection does have a cost.

It takes a couple of months for the two hundred or more inches of snowfall to dry up, so riding the South Boundary too early in the year can be a muddy and exasperating adventure. It’s best not to hit it before June—or later. Cool temperatures and kaleidoscopic foliage make September and October prime season; the views make eyes pop year-round.

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Perry Farrell, the Godfather of Alternative Rock

When Perry Farrell hopped a Greyhound from Miami to Los Angeles, he didn’t take much with him, just some art supplies, a bag of weed and a surfboard. As he bounced from apartment to apartment, that same surfboard was the one thing that always went with him, but he eventually stopped using it. When he got into music, he stopped surfing and sometimes didn’t see the outdoors for days at a time.

“I was a bit of a Howard Hughes. I was the guy who hadn’t cut his fingernails and was losing his mind in quiet and solitude, Farrell tells me. Farrell spent the better part of the 1980s and early 1990s in a haze of sex, drugs and rock’n’roll, but even in his darkest days, Farrell was productive. As the leader of the band Jane’s Addiction, he made his mark as one the most influential rock musicians of all time. He’s been called a visionary and an icon, and he earned the nickname “the Godfather, for his contributions to alternative rock.

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Greening the Ski Industry

As global warming threatens their business models, some ski areas aim to minimize environmental impact.

The wind in your hair. Virgin snow at your feet. Clean mountain air and glorious vistas. Skiing is good, clean winter fun. It's frolicking in Mother Earth's playground. It's man communing with nature. And it's a threat to the very thing that makes it all possible: cold, snowy winters.

With its high-speed chair lifts and energy-hogging snowmaking operations -- all in the interest of enjoying the boreal winter -- the effect of the ski industry on climate change can't be discounted. Its fleets of diesel-powered snow cats and smokey two-stroke snowmobiles pollute the air. Cutting down trees for ski runs shrinks habitat for the local flora and fauna, and bringing thousands of 4x4-driving tourists into the middle of a forest every day can compromise wetlands and pollute rivers.

As enviro-awareness has been on the upswing in recent years, the ski industry has felt increasing pressure to reduce its ecological footprint -- both locally and globally. In 1998, Vail, one of the largest and most-trafficked ski resorts in North America, was the victim of an act of eco-terrorism precipitated by the ski area's perpetual quest to compete for the skier's dollar. Arsonists linked to the Earth Liberation Front destroyed a lodge and damaged ski lift towers, a ski patrol office and radio towers. Mainstream groups immediately condemned the acts, but because many ski areas operate on public lands -- leasing their black diamonds and blue squares from the federal government -- enviro groups hold them to high standards and have since tried harder to get the ski industry to use renewable energy, limit ski area sprawl and expand benignly.

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God's Performance Review

Come in, Bob. Shut the door.

You’re wearing your blue paisley tie. Let me guess, it’s bi-millennial performance review time.

Should we start with your strengths or weaknesses?

What weaknesses? Am I not God?

I am the one true Creator. Technically, you’re still a junior associate.

I’ve been with the company for 13 billion years. What do I have to do to get a bump in pay grade? I do have my own universe.

Let’s start there: the slow growth of your universe.

It’s expanding at 46 miles per second.

I’m not talking about that kind of growth. I’m talking about developmental growth.

I don’t follow, Jefe.

For example, there is only one planet in your universe known to sustain life. What are your goals in this department?

I created a planet about a thousand years ago. It’s got everything. It’s the same size as Earth. It’s in a habitable zone and it revolves around a red dwarf. That’s pretentious Earth-speak for star or sun, not a little guy in a red suit.

I recall reading something like that in one of your constellation reports. I apologize.

NASA just discovered it last year. They call it Kepler-186f. What a dumb name. They gave real names to eight planets, nine if you count Pluto, and then they switch to this lame alphanumeric system. Talk about uninspired.

Can you bring me up to speed on the progress you’ve made on this project?

I admit it’s been slower than I’d like. I think I might have made the red dwarf too small. Ironic isn’t it?


Read it all at The Morning News.


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