All posts by Dana Smith

Author and Entertainer

the nevada man

Slightly Used Ready to Go

Forget about that wild card Romeo from Las Vegas. There’s nothing much you are going to learn from a rhinestone cowboy out of Reno. Take a place like Jarbidge, Duckwater or Paradise Valley and you’ll likely find the kind of top shelf Nevadan that will tickle the muse.

Tonopah has a population of 2009, Jackpot 1244, Eureka 462, and my favorite Jiggs off to the westside of the Ruby Mountains counts 2 permanent residents. With the passage of time the men and women that live out on the edge of what is left of our frontier become downright idiosyncratic. It is as if the essence of rural Nevada crawls right into their being and possesses their personage, sort of like when a dog and a dog’s owner somehow begin to resemble one another.

Just Leave it There

Most are self-employed. Another chunk signup to work for the man. There’s plenty to do and hardly a nickel, dime or extra quarter paid for any of it. Barter, trade secondhand stores, swap meets, and want-ads is how most goods and services are acquired.

Toss out the metro dwellers, those big shots from Sparks, Carson City and Henderson are leaning toward the progressive side of the political spectrum. As you travel further away from the population centers another kind of man or woman comes into focus. The Federal government owns most of the Silver State. Railroads own the next chunk. Water is scarce, mustang is plenty. To the satisfaction of not one libertarian leaning misanthropic rural resident the public lands are managed to the annoying benefit and misery of the many. You already know cattle ranchers lease rangeland from BLM- Bureau of Land Management. Pinion pine nut pickers pull permits by auction from the Forest Service. Department of Fish and Game lottery out hunting tags for mule deer, bighorn sheep, elk, mountain goats and pronghorn antelope. Mountain lion tags are readily available. Coyote are target practice and black eared jack rabbit are consternation incarnate. Irascibility is woven into the fabric of Great Basin life.

Ruby Mountain Sunrise

Trout fishing in the high country lakes of the Ruby Mountains will bring a 240 lbs., six-foot-four-inch angler to near speechless Sunday church like reverie. Surveying a pasture Nevadan’s can name dalmatian toadflax, goatsrue, or houndstongue at first glance. They’ll know whether they’ll have to hoe it, spray it, or burn it after they’ve pulled it out by the roots. A great many are voracious beer drinkers. A hay grower understands the forces of nature, how sun, water and healthy soil keep food on his table and roof over his head. Nevada means knowing how to use your hand tools. You don’t get to be stupid for long otherwise you’ll be bit, stung, cold, hot or just plain killed by the harsh conditions.

Rolled into Warm Springs one late afternoon. Two military jets dogfighting screamed by my campsite right down on the deck, low to the ground. United States Air Force was in training. Came and went so fast, I’d have had a heart attack if they’d given me another second or two.

Before dark, a turquoise miner rolled into where I’d parked under a cottonwood tree. The hot spring was where he took his bath. Scruffy beard, dirt smudged to his face, boney as a stick, had me sized up- right off.

“What do you do out here?”

“I work a turquoise mine.”

“You discovered turquoise out here?”

“No, all the turquoise in Nevada’s already been located. I bought the rights from another man, he’d done his time, sick of the work, ready to move on.” Grabbing his towel out of the cab of his truck, “Kill about one rattlesnake a month, we find a lot of two headed snakes, atomic test site seems to have affected reptiles more than us. Don’t kill the two headers, catch and sell them for a good price.”

I’d learned he had a lady friend in Page, Arizona. For fun he drives down now and again. She’s got a ski boat and likes to take LSD. Explained how he goes to a Navajo sweat lodge, knows a medicine man, trades turquoise for Peyote, that it unlocks his animistic vision, that he can see into the nature of things, then he explains for waterskiing acid is better.

Psychedelic small talk out in the middle of the Great Basin was unexpected, but what do I know.

The miner had three or four sun faded dog eared paperbacks on his dashboard. Handing him a book, I’d finished reading Mailer’s, The Armies of the Night. In return I ended up with Zamoyski’s 1812: Napoleon’s Fatal March on Moscow.

 Expectations will double cross visitors from out of state exploring the emptiest parts of Nevada. My license plates told the miner everything he needed to know. Californian’s may come off as sophisticated but that doesn’t make us complicated. Awkward, ashamed of the first impression that had come up in my mind, “I’ve seen some lizards.” Trying to regain my footing.

By now I believe he had enough, he was ready for his bath. “About the only thing a lizard is good for is keeping a cat skinny.”

Thacker Pass as salvation

End of the Line for Texas Tea

Up on Thacker Pass in Humboldt County, Nevada there has been discovered one of the largest lithium deposits in the world. How can I explain how big-the-big, gigantic, enormous lithium ore deposit is in terms that let you wrap your head around the size of this discovery? Back of the envelop—spitballing—figure over the next 4 decades there is enough material deposited at this site to make batteries for about 1 billion electric automobiles. I could be off either way by a billion or two, but you get the idea there’s a lot of potential sitting on this caldera in the wild wonderful Great Basin Desert.

Mining lithium, in this instance an open pit mine, will tear one hell of a hole into the landscape. Cattlemen and women will lose access to 10,000 acres they have been leasing from the Bureau of Land Management, and consequently if they do lose this lease there will be a predictably tense use of pejoratives, expletives and derogatory language filled with spleen, vexations, and disgust. Range fattened heifers and steers add to the bottom line of the cowhand’s ledger, every single head is make or break.

You take a cowboy with a bent nose, toss these brawlers together with two-thousand open pit miners and you’ve got yourself a timeless tale of fistfights and deer poaching. Once the lithium mine is constructed, once both the extraction department and the refinement and packaging side of the operation, plus the steady stream of big rigs running up and down Nevada State Hwy 293, once that’s all up and running, why you have brought change to a corner of a world that hasn’t much changed at all since the European immigrants arrived and pushed out the Western Shoshone and Northern Paiute Indians, the first people to settle here 17,000 years ago.

Now figure that in this one place if it is done right, you’ll use the best pollution control systems. This will be the first lithium mine in the world to process straight from out of the ground. Evaporation ponds have been the only viable method, but geophysicists believe they have come up with an efficient means of pulling the lithium out of the ore without using evaporation ponds. East or west of Thacker Pass there are hay growing operations, and they’re all jumpy as a pack of coyotes about any enterprise that may threaten the water supply. Toss in some sage grouse endangered species concerns and well there you go, the whole conundrum mashes up into one whopping remake of the shootout at the OK Corral.

There’s a new sheriff in town. I’m going to try to paint you a picture of what the world, cowboys and miners might pull off for “each and every last dog gone one of us.” First, the mine compared to oil and gas explorers will have a footprint incalculably smaller than the fossil fuel barons’ operations. No more stinky refinery’s, no more oil drilling rigs, no more offshore platforms, no more tankers running aground, no more oil spills, no more smoke in the sky, pollution in your lungs, and credit cards at the limit because you drove to Disney World in your dang titanic V-8 internal combustion engine powered all-wheel drive pickup truck.

As for all those good paying jobs. Here’s how I would want to cut this pack of labor faced playing cards. I want the mine company to donate to the Nevada Department of Fish and Game. Make it a sizable donation, every year so long as the mine is in operation. Get some funds set aside for Environmental Protection Agency remediation efforts. Support sage grouse habitat expansion across the entire Great Basin Desert. Why not pay a stipend to the ranchers and hay growers, come up with a formula, cut them in on the deal, wouldn’t hurt anyone and might make folks who’ve been scuffing by in Northern Humboldt County appreciate and support the mine and enterprise. I’d suggest money donated to local schools, increase the size of the region’s health care services, and support the county fair south in Winnemucca. I believe it is time to cut the great Western Shoshone and Northern Paiute Indians into the deal.  

Give Bugs and Snakes a Chance

Let me explain what in tarnation all this generosity and altruistic community building is about. The last thing the good people of this region need is a corporation muscling in on their way of life and not getting one red cent for the inconvenience. Instead of alienating every single solitary tractor driver within 50 miles of Thacker Pass try sharing some of the profits, try helping that little guy who hasn’t caught a break since unionization dried up and Ralph Nader’s complaining about Corvairs was a topic of current interest.

Transactional win-win is the key to this enterprise. I would keep the mining town’s footprint as small as small can be. Pay your miners a good living wage so that when a man says, “the drinks are on me…” that the worker can actually afford to pickup the tab down at the famous Alluvial Fan Saloon and share some of the fat in his wallet with those hay growers and cattle operators.

I’d offer classes in how to plant your own garden, kill rattlesnakes, squish scorpions and how to properly clean, oil and your long gun. Volunteer to help the hay growers during harvest, make friends with a Basque sheepherder, and eat more mutton. Church is fine, but taking roping lessons, helping move cattle off a mountain for a neighbor or asking the cutest philly you’ve ever seen to the country fair dance might help everyone and everything. Rodeo queens, barrel racers and a rough and tumble rural woman you might convince to go out for a four-wheel drive to watch sunset could make this lithium mine business something to make a life around.

Capitalism mixed with a properly arranged set of social services could go a long way toward making this new energy system a success as we scramble to save our necks from the “Holy Toledo, it is too dang hot out here.” A more enlightened approach might do us all some good. Disability insurance, retirement benefits, free day care, real health insurance, yoga classes, Wednesday night bingo, and paid vacation time will help everyone.

If Thacker Pass is approved, I’ll have more to say about the project. We don’t have just a world to save we’ve got lives to build. Communities willing to help deploy carbon free technologies should benefit for their effort and sacrifice. The era of fouling our own nest with filthy fossil fuels is coming to a close. I’d prefer to see America smarten up, can’t just be about the fat cats and well connected. Time for us to cut the working man back into the deal. Not a better place to begin than up on this mountain right about starting now before we lose our way, our freedom and this experiment is self-governance. Saddle up buckaroos, we’ve got a whole world to save, and a country in need of more love.


In 1974 I hooked up with a roadshow. The tour took us coast to coast, Seattle to Key West, Boston to San Diego. I was hungry to see the country, I drank in the North American continent playing one day stands city to city, state to state.

Rolling westward from Cheyenne I was home bound. Somewhere west of Rock Springs, Wyoming we settled in at dusk on the easternmost edge of the Great Basin Desert. Among my responsibilities was caring for a 3-year-old miniature horse, a black stallion, Othello.

Together we walked up to a ridge into the sagebrush. From there I released Othello. Charging off at a full gallop, farting, nickering, tossing his head side to side the mighty miniature horse exalted in having this vast sea of space to romp among. Arriving at the highest point on the landscape my stallion scanned the terrain, stallions are always imagining lovers may be found at any time in any place. There were none. From where I stood to Othello was a quarter of a mile, perhaps further. I took a knee. Othello bolted back galloping down the slope. Playful, showing off, freedom was sweet, he swept past then halted.

He nipped at the grass, savoring the wild forage. I patted my stallion on his shoulder, he liked his neck itched. “I’ve never been here either.” Confessing to my friend, “Some kind of high desert. I don’t think I knew there was desert in Wyoming, never occurred to me.”

Launching my own show, I began working across the American West. I’d travel east to Colorado, north and south from the Mexican border to British Columbia. Travel patterns varied, there were years I remained in San Francisco working in Fisherman’s Wharf. Many other years of my life, for many decades, I traveled across the American West.

In my mind trees, rivers and mountains I had prejudged to be the most appealing landscapes. Visiting Palm Springs, a womanizing carpenter friend introduced me to the Palm Canyons. The canyons are on the ancestral lands of the Agua Caliente Band of the Cahuilla Indians. Indigenous to Baja and the southernmost deserts of California and Arizona the palm trees, Washingtonian filifera, captivated my sense of oasis. Because of the stream flowing in the canyon birds abounded. Verdant, shady, rugged, granite boulders, sand… the wheels in my mind began to turn. I finally got the bug, the buzz, figured out how to explore desert, understanding that I would need to be on the lookout for hidden terrains.

Unaware of the spa resorts out in Desert Hot Springs, my friend told me I had to go have a soak. Then I discovered Sam’s Family Spa and added taking to the mineral baths after hiking in my favorite palm canyons.

Jumps between Palm Springs and Phoenix, initially, before I was able to grasp what all this emptiness might mean, how it might move my interior emotional world, all those early jumps, all that vast emptiness went lost on me. I picked up a bird guide, found a book about the American deserts, began to get some sense of when I was in the Mojave, Great Basin, Sonoran or Chihuahuan deserts.

Crystal clear air, pyrotechnic sunsets, forty-mile-wide valleys, rugged mountain ranges so enormous they can make you feel as if you could stick your hand out the window and touch their slopes with your fingertips.

The Coachella Valley, Valley of the Sun, Tucson, Patagonia, Tupac, Sedona, Camp Verde, Albuquerque, Las Vegas, St George, Salt Lake City, Pocatello, Twin Falls and Boise I found convincing, conceivable, plausible, as if given their dimensions, their sprawl, their size, population, the access to water that there was a case to be made for people to live in the desert, make a life, thrive, have a family, vote, and build community.

There is a beauty to be found in emptiness. Lending the world your open mind is a kindness. What remains of the American west’s emptiness decreases with each moment of each day of each passing month and year.

For millions of years across the North American continent the kingdom of wildlife flourished, swelling and shrinking with changes in climate and availability of food and water. Man’s immigration into North America twenty thousand years ago tipped the balance. Any place man arrived resulted in the same sequence of events. The largest mammals were soon driven to extinction. We had no idea that gestation was such a bitch. Imagine what a salmon would say if it could gripe about what the Bonneville Power Administration has done to their chances?

Intelligence isn’t a one-way street. Blowback is interwoven into every nook and cranny of every ecosystem studied. We’re just smart enough to get ourselves over our heads in heaps of blowback and catastrophic species collapse, and we don’t even have to try that hard, it seems to come naturally.

People have been living in the Great Basin Desert hunting and gathering for many thousands and thousands of years. Eating fresh caught trout, Jack Rabbit, and pinion nuts. Gathering mushrooms, wild onions and sage. Foraging for leafy greens, crickets, and snakes.

Vast underground aquifers have been tapped. If a well is productive a place might be settled, even thrive, remote for the few people that can tolerate such solitude. There are big cities in the Great Basin, but in this desert it is emptiness and untouched open space that is lord and ruler of this natural wonder.

Being a native Californian, having spent much of my life in the San Francisco Bay Area I’ve grown more in need of what this desert emptiness whispers to my heart, how it soothes jangling heavy traffic irritated nerves. How I can drive 90 miles and not see another single solitary soul. How I can feel the emptiness healing a hunger in every fiber of my being, running unbound without the hustle and bustle, the temptation to take one more meeting, have one more drink, drop by to see one more friend. Color me selfish, tell me I’m a want it all type, impractical and environmentally off kilter, but I want what I want, and I want the Great Basin Desert to be this healing place, this empty place. I want to know there are prospectors, mustang and dirt roads and ornery burros. Instincts are strong. Whatever healing emptiness allows, however you measure solitude and silence, there is some measure, a measly pinch, there is this elixir of fairy dust found in empty space all of us will want to experience while on our visit here upon Mother Earth.

Salida’s Soul Sauce

The Force is Found Here

Running the high country in Colorado, looking at 4 degrees below zero by morning. Hunkering down, a reliable heater, tossing a third quilt over the bunk. Salida’s snow and ice is melting off in the sunny patches, the rest is as stubborn as a stain. Short days and long nights make for bountiful nurseries come September. I am that offspring.

Clear as a bell. The Arkansas River and footbridge separates my van from downtown and a cup of coffee tomorrow. In Salida’s city limits the Arkansas runs plenty good, but measures mountain width not bottom valley Missouri wide. This is a recovering river, flowing clearer and cleaner. Falling water over rocks descending across the landscape, beats the truth into water, not every time, but here is where the purest water is found.

Overnight other side of the Arkansas River

Salida appears prosperous. Running east ninety miles, another 3000 feet lower is Pueblo, an aching coal fired power plant-steel mill closing mess. Salida is a recreational destination for the tattooed and pierced, a place where the dream and libido may be celebrated by10k run and circus arts school workout. If you live in the heart of town a fair shot at a barista shift could well unlock a chance to find a show business contract that gets you out of here. At least for one season or part of more than another.

Still, the bitter truth is Salida’s civility begs you to not go, not forever, not for too long, why go at all— yeah, truth be told I have to go, but I’ll see Salida, I’ll sleep in your midst again— she’s too tender a mercy to turn your back on.

The Kindness of Baristas

5000 citizens make their home here. We know them as former urban dwellers, a tad more stinking liberal than folks you’ll find in most other corners of this region. Buena Vista has a more moneyed conservative interloper. Other communities tend to pray on Sunday’s, spray Roundup, and detest the Bureau of Land Management and US Forest Service. Tantrums over land management afflicts certain folks living out here. Salida is an incursion of the sportsman and recreationalist, they have no understanding of how it is folks survive up here.

After hiking to the top of the many 14er’s here in Chaffee County the idea is to come off the mountains and soak in the nearby hot springs to rid your aches, pains and sore feet. Then, you’ll cast about choosing one micro-brew pub or another while you whittle away on a few pints. Better still make it a pub crawl, art walk, end up at the one vegan joint before you give up the day.

Circus Wagons and Gypsy Types Abound

Living in a mountain town, elevation 7083 feet, sorts out the pretenders from the real thing. Then, you have to reckon with what work you might find. Mountain bikers, river kayakers, and trout fishing addicts end up squeezing cheek to jowl making the job market tight. Like all of hell on real estate earth housing is not cheap. Shoveling snow ferrets out a good chunk of folks considering settling here in the county seat of Chaffee County.

Taken as a whole there’s a mix of artists, entertainers, writers and vegans, near vegans, and never will be vegans congregating in this mountain town. Purchasing supplies at the local Napa Parts Store the gentleman behind the counter had an affable grace for a man grinding out a shift slinging parts all day long. I didn’t get too nosy, but my guess is he’s a local ticket buyer, audience member and supporter of what ends up gracing the local galleries and stages.

Salida’s Historic Old Bones

If somebody is getting rich in Salida they are keeping it a secret. Somebody must be rolling in the dough, but likely if moneymaking is your prime directive another more populated cosmopolitan community may help increase your odds. Come to Salida for what quality of life a small Rocky Mountain community might lend to your life.

Living amidst the historic buildings in the heart of Salida brings out the best in the worst of us, and it appears most of the truly miserable are either broken of their cantankerous nature or after finding they don’t fit in go ahead and mosey on down the line.

Like the Arkansas River Salida has a way of clearing the window into our soul. You will find the tempo of life soothing, lack of traffic congestion reduces your foul mood and the enthusiastic spirit of the younger citizens providing hope for a better tomorrow. Out of the blue you’ll want a dog.

Bisbee and Salida

In my mind there are a few Salida’s scattered across the American West. I’d nominate Bisbee, Arizona. The two towns both host about 5000 contrary souls. Bisbee’s elevation is 5,538 feet, at this elevation cooler nights take the edge off the Sonoran Desert. What you may find to do in Bisbee for work is much the same as here. There is no room for multinational destination service providers to come in and muck up the place. Airports are two hours away. Roads are two lane, twisty, and if you’ve never been to Bisbee or Salida you might give up before you get there.

Essential Progressive Services

Perhaps the ingredient that protects and preserves these mountain towns is that there is no gosh darn gold rush bubble fueling mindless growth. What you have here is what you’ll find thriving here and not anywhere near as much the same. I’d reckon Mendocino, Sedona, Jerome, Santa Fe, Taos, Carmel, Ojai, Sisters, San Luis Obispo, Ashland and Sun Valley all miss the mark because of one fault or another. Salida’s got this sweet spot quality the other community’s have let slip from their grasp. You’ll come for the ease of life, the surrounding majesty of the snow capped peaks. You’ll set roots down and stay because you have found your people here. Like you they find the place speaks to what they want to make out of their one crack at life on earth.

pine valley water heist

Getting all smart and testy, accusing Cedar City of trying to pull off a water grab is a comic and sporting means of bringing an issue to life, is my way of making it accessible, something a reader might be able to approach without going high dungeon and holier than thou.

Most of what I know about water comes from Maude Barlow. Blue Futures is one of her many books, a Canadian and activist, her work has elevated the issue of water access to being recognized by the United Nations as a fundamental human right.

Before the Central Iron County Water Conservancy punches more wells, builds a 70-mile water pipeline the water district should inform their community that 80% of the water is used by agriculture. Welcome to the public/private subsidy of our water. If the public pays and the farmers profit, then the community should know what they are getting for this generous subsidy.

Jarbidge River, Elko County

With a growing population and dryer climate the water districts are under stress. Water in this region is irrigated by pivot or water wheel. Alfalfa, hay, corn and silage are the main commodities produced. Much of this production is destined for regional dairy producers, and their product ends up exported for markets nationwide. Iron County is sending the water their citizens need out of the county and then out of state. “Farmers are using thousands of dollars of water to grow hundreds of dollars of hay,”

Long before the pipeline out to Pine Valley is built with precious tax dollars that most taxpayers are loath to surrender to the local accessors a whole lot of smart people need to sharpen their pencils and revise the regional agricultural system. Are there crops that might use less water? Can drip irrigation technology be used? How much dairy production will be needed between now and 2030? Isn’t it a fact that dairy beverage alternatives are growing while dairy’s market share is declining?

Pumping Pine Valley’s ancient aquifer creates more problems than the extra water destined for Iron County solves. California is confronting the same puzzle. The state has grown to 40-million people. Agriculture wants to continue receiving its full allotment while a swelling population continues to use more and more too. If you have never seen a tomato field in the Sacramento Valley flood irrigated before then you don’t understand how much water farmers are wasting.

Cotton growers in Yuma, Arizona need to be stopped. Alfalfa grown for export to international markets with Colorado River water in Imperial Valley needs to end. Department of Agriculture scientists need to identify regions in the United States best suited for each particular farm product and then incentivize farmers to shift operations to those locations.

Iron County’s short growing season is a challenge of its own kind. Growing food for local markets should be a priority where possible. Using water to grow a crop to feed and fatten an animal that ends up on our kitchen table is inefficiency writ large.

Most of the political nonsense that seems to pervade our present moment can be directly linked to citizens having detached their believing that they have any responsibility whatsoever to adapt and adjust their lives to the changing circumstances of our world. Yes, you bet it is inconvenient, that it will require sacrifice, that you are being asked to do something you’ve always done one way to now try doing another way. Get over the notion that everything is all fixed by complaining, griping and digging your heels in. Might be time we tried to cut the deck fair and square.

Great Basin National Park

I’ll bet there is a sizable part of Cedar City’s population that wants nothing to do with purchasing this pipeline. Sure, they don’t want to run their rural farmers and ranchers out of business but on the other hand maybe its time everyone put their heads together and see if there might be a win-win solution to accommodating Cedar City’s need for access to water for their growing population.

Pine Valley needn’t be ruined because local politicians can’t find the courage to spur change. There are kit fox, coyote, rattlesnake, red tail hawks, Big horn’s, elk and deer all depending on that water.  

cedar city water grabbers

In the grip of a water grabber

Cedar City Utah’s, Central Iron County Water Conservancy District Pine Valley Water Supply and Conservation Project is worth our thinking about before we go out and cause all kinds of irreversible natural world hell. Southern Utah is one of the fastest growing regions of the United States and I mean horizontal suburban sprawling housing projects that are being thrown up just as fast as a hammer swinging beer drinking football fan can manage. Water is a vital, scarce, hard to come by necessity out here, every squirrel, rattlesnake and icemaking machine from the Mexican border to the Boise, Idaho needs more water.

To be on a planning commission, supervisory board, or to become mayor means you have got to talk fast and find answers to impossible problems. You can’t win without support, and you can’t win support promising to shutdown businesses, slow down growth, and throw your voters out of work. Until now there has been enough water for Cedar City to get into the mess they are in today.

Backwaters of Baker, Nevada

Iron County Water Conservancy is doing its dead level best, but push has come to shove. Seventy miles northwest is located Pine Valley. I been through this region, land is owned by the Federal Government. A proposal to pump groundwater from Pine Valley back to Cedar City is under consideration. That’s all you need to know is that otherwise good civil servants in cahoots with real estate developers want to go from Iron County up to Beaver County and grab the water from a pristine untouched immaculately conceived ancient aquifer. I’m am nothing if not objective, fair and balanced and through and through unbiased.

Let’s wrap our heads around other solutions. Before we begin you should understand taking another track could come back to bite or sting a politician right in the butt end of the ballot box. Best we understand reality before casting about for solutions.

I haven’t crunched the numbers but by aerial photographic investigation it is plain as day that there are a few thousand farms that are going to need to surrender their rights back to Cedar City for the common good.

Water Rights Reassigned

Rescinding a farmer’s water rights is like coming home drunk, lipstick on your collar, a night out two-stepping at the local honky tonk, knowing full well that there are no undiscovered artesian gushers or marriages that can’t end in divorce.

First thing we might want to try is just conserving what water we use now. That rankles contemporary Americans, “I ain’t sacrificing one single inch of my entitled ass for you and that stink eye you are trying to water shame me with.”

Mayor Mobile

That’s one vote losing suggestion right there. Second, every means of water conservation is going to be required to be fully exhausted to slowdown the flow of water from every home and business in or near Cedar City. Low flow showerheads, low volume toilets, drought tolerant landscaping, condemning golf courses, and installing recycled water commercial carwash facilities. That all sounds like some kind of nightmare liberal utopian gateway to socialism. I know, I know, but time has come.

Mule, Jeep or on horseback

Baker, Nevada is a town of 56 good souls. Men and women from this community sit at the foot of Wheeler Peak home to the Great Basin National Park. Not that you are supposed to know or even understand how underground aquifers can all be interconnected, but now that you do know you might just be wondering if Cedar City pumping water out of Pine Valley might potentially cause harm just ever so slightly west to the aquifer beneath Snake Valley? Look at that, just like that, those Cedar City water grabbers have put at risk all that is right and mighty in White Pine County, Nevada.

Wheeler Peak, Nevada 13,065 Above Sea Level

Water grabbing is a big, tangled mess, makes Los Angeles freeway gridlock seem like an almost solvable problem compared to this venomous pit of Great Basin water moccasins. Men, real estate developers and ranch hands are wanton creatures and know more about a 12-gauge shotgun than they do about modern-day birth control.

Drought has the Southwest by the neck. Our swelling population, all the booming communities have arrived just in time for a climate emergency civilization changing reckoning. Business friendly politicians are about to leap into rhetorical obfuscation and pretzel misshaped solutions even the dirtiest devils will regard as even harder to scrub off than a tattoo.

Downtown Baker on a busy day

Timidity will buy time, but it won’t get you what you don’t have. Crystalline materials, powders called metal organic frameworks, can now harvest water vapor from the air. This device comes from Yaghi Laboratory at UC Berkeley. This new solar-powered device can pull water straight from the desert air, and enough water each day to supply each and every happy home in Cedar City.

Lithium mines, geothermal electrical generating stations, Gigfactories, and for the love of God and all of creation you mean to tell me that there is a thing called a solar powered residential water maker in our future? I know it’s hard, but this is where our struggle to coexist with the finite resources found on earth have brought us to. So, dear Cedar City water grabbers, deal with it.

caliente Nevada promise

Older Hotel

The Lincoln County Fairground and Rodeo is located in Panaca, Nevada. A rural county fair is a vital piece to a place as remote to get to as this Great Basin settlement. You can tell people have been leaving Panaca. Nothing personal, Reno and Las Vegas are booming while the states small towns keep drying up. Walking out on Panaca has been going on since they stopped selling elixir from atop a soap box next to a horse drawn wagon.

Eighty-five miles east in Cedar City, Utah there was a cattle auction. Livestock trailers, long haul rigs, pickup trucks, cowboy hats and belt buckle championship barrel racers of yesteryear were busy market making steers and heifers. In this perilous moment, you’d expect to see ranchers in masks, but because of their misguided faith in Sean Hannity’s hatred for the better half of humanity there were no masks being worn.

It’s a living not a livelihood

Cattle auctions tell a cowboy which way the wind blows. In this day and age the sage investor is going long on Beyond Meat, then putting up most of the rest against cattle futures. The smartest money is shorting cheeseburgers, pork bellies and farm raised salmon…bastards.

White Pine County, Nevada and Cedar City, Utah are in the midst of a toe to toe. Cedar City has bought water rights on Snake Valley property located on the Utah side, even though most of the underground water they have claim to is in an underground aquifer on the Nevada side.

Great Basin Water Network (click on)

I’ll make this short. Mormons in Cedar City, Utah are not taught one thing about water scarcity. Instead, Jack Mormons are instructed from cradle to grave in the divine rights attributed to the so called Latter Day Saints. Each man, woman and child use three times as much water as a heathen in Las Vegas. If they’d break their fast and go get good and drunk, I believe they could get by with one hell of a lot less of most everything, if they could just appreciate the fun in blacking out and going tits up in a casino now and again the whole non-Mormon universe wouldn’t have to hide their wallets or worry about Cedar City water grabbers.

Resource conscious citizens living atop the aquifer in White Pine County, Nevada are none to pleased with their spiritually hifalutin water stealing neighbors. Cedar City folk can be as aggressive as a hungry bobcat finding there is a fresh lunch waiting on the other side of an expertly installed poultry wired chicken coop.

Pick a direction, any direction then go

From Panaca south on the Great Basin Highway you’ll find hayfields, forlorn abandoned homesteads, and if you stick with hope and the horizon, you’ll come around a bend into Caliente. One of the puzzles I’m always trying to fit the pieces to is how a town is born. In the case of Caliente, you will not by use of your naked eye to be able to tell. Caliente was identified as suitable habitat by emancipated slaves, man and wife. Two new free citizens of the United States, Civil War negroes traveled to this desolate corner of the continent to set down roots and stake their claim to freedom.

Best block in Caliente

Today near 1200 citizens live in Caliente. In the Union Pacific steam locomotive way station era this high desert town was a growing concern of 5000. Diesel powered trains ended the railway company’s need to use Caliente as a refueling station. Operations were scaled back, jobs went hard to come by, and with hard times a good many of the town’s citizens struck out one direction or another in search of wages for work and better days.

There is a grocery store. The place isn’t big at all, but you’ll get by with what you can find on the shelves. Highway 93 runs north and south, either direction it is at least 100 miles if you want to go shop elsewhere. Likely the people in Caliente stock up. If you have some cooking talent, know what you are doing in a kitchen, you can stretch your shopping days apart by weeks to a month or more.

I wanted to look inside the one bar in town but didn’t because of the goddamn virus. I’ve been warned the Covid-19 curse is just waiting inside and would infect me before I could get my lips on even one ounce of whiskey. What remains of the towns long closed movie palace is next door. Drug store is gone, secondhand store is shuttered, even Caliente’s City Hall isn’t opening due to the pandemics spread through the community.

Panavision falls on hard times

The Caliente Hot Spring Motel was sold off after the previous owner had been found guilty of sex crimes. This was a fundamentalist Mormon character caught practicing polygamy, which was not the crime, it was the age of his wives, and that is the reason his lawlessness landed him in prison.

A good many of the best homes were built back when the Union Pacific boom days were on. You’ll walk around town and there is a neat as a pin quality to a good many blocks. Of course, religion is still big here because sinning is still so popular. By my count there is a thriving Christianity being offered here of various types and kinds. You don’t like the way your soul is getting saved at one operation why you can just try your luck down the street at this other establishment.

Tender Mercies and virus workarounds

Carson City state government officials have ordered all of Nevada’s hot springs to remain closed until the war against the virus is won. Museum, Chamber of Commerce and community hall are closed until further notice. Auto repair shop remains open, post office still delivers the mail, and the saloon remains in business twenty-four hours a day for drinking, cigarette smoking, and gambling. In Nevada there is no emergency of any kind that will force saloons closed because a closed saloon is the single biggest most colossal emergency of all imaginable emergencies. Any prohibition fearing Nevadan knows no rule or law must ever be passed that would short circuit a citizen’s liquor consumption, not now, not ever. Nevada without booze would be like living in hell without heat, it is just not possible.

My favorite California saloon tried reopening. Because there is so much virus they were ordered closed again. Boom times in high end cocktail bars have turned to bust. Windows get papered over, doors are locked, lights remain off.

Not much but then it’s all they got

Citizens from Caliente could be enlisted to spread out across the countryside to help the luckier places while citizens cope with the crisis. Things have been hard in this slice of paradise since forever, even the virus can’t make misery much more miserable than was already here before anyone ever arrived to witness the burdensome toll firsthand.

Here is what I want each and every one of you to do. Schedule a post-pandemic holiday, put it on your bucket list, set it down on your calendar. Then, once the all clear signal has been sounded drive on out to Caliente, Nevada. Spend time here talking to the citizens. People here will fortify your gumption, give your stubbornness a revival, and inspire you to get the hell out of here and go back to where you’ve come from. On your return you will do your level best to make the most of what you’re town can do for you. I’m telling you can’t afford closing your mind to what Caliente has to offer an adventuresome soul. Caliente’s truth is so big they had to go and hide it all the way out here.

rock art racing

14,800 years before present our ancestors scribe into Nevada stone this symbol

Twenty-one-thousand years ago San Francisco’s shoreline was four miles west of the Farallon Islands. Haight-Ashbury was in this era a distant 34 miles west of this desirable beachfront property. There are a lot of things I didn’t know in 1967. I didn’t know much about marijuana, why a girl wouldn’t shave her armpits, or what Donovan’s cryptic reference to “electrical banana” symbolized. In this era I was dashing about in my ’39 Chevy coupe, still much too young, too inexperienced, and all too sure I wasn’t ready to be sent to a war zone in Southeast Asia.

Those many thousands of years ago the Laurentide ice sheet was over two miles thick in what is now Quebec, to the west the Cordilleran ice sheet covered Alaska, British Columbia and much of Washington. This continental sized ice formation locked up vast quantities of the world’s water atop North American. The oceans of the world were four hundred feet lower than now.

Homo Sapien Flow Chart- A Theory

Squeezed between Siberia and Alaska, with the Bering Sea frozen over was a place that is now no more. Like the Summer of Love, the Dead and Quicksilver Messenger Service all has vanished with the sweep of time.

Across Africa, Europe, and Asia an ever more capable animal, homo sapiens, a curious, imaginative creature trekked across Beringia, this now vanished land bridge and pushed east and south into North America.

I was a barefoot hippie teen. I camped out on the beach in Bolinas with my surfing mates. We’d build bonfires, smoke tobacco and drink beer. From out of San Francisco we’d tune our transistor radios to our tribes’ station out and sing our lungs out to Barry McGuire’s Eve of Destruction.

Twenty-one thousand years ago our first people of the America’s, paleo-Americans were with the sweep of time moving south along the Pacific coast. The further south our ancestors walked the warmer their world became. Ice, in this era, covered Alaska, British Columbia and most of Washington.

Picture from ’67 of my ’39 Chevy

Over the next four thousand years North America’s first immigrants, toiled their way southward until arriving at the Columbia River. Some of this tribe continued south along the coast while others headed up the Columbia River exploring the interior continent to the east. The extent of ice at the lower warmer latitudes was in retreat. Conditions were in this region more favorable for hunting and gathering. The great Chinook and Coho salmon runs choked the sea and rivers. Abundance was a cure for subsistence.

Because I had a boy’s instinctive inquisitive nature I learned in San Francisco there was a woman named Carol Doda, she worked at a strip club on Broadway, and that sailors on shore leave went to see her because she had a really big silicone enhanced bosom. My mom blushing tried explaining how breast enhancement surgery had triggered this new fad, how Miss Doda had become a worldwide sensation, how thrill seekers would pay good money so that they could say they saw the most famous pair of attractions to grace the City by the Bay. My adolescence was overwhelming. I found 1967 to be confusing, and like my mother I blushed. I was still too young and the world too wild. 

Geothermal Potential Lithium Source

When it comes to brains science informs that size isn’t everything. Over the last 200,000 years homo sapiens cranial capacity had remained unchanged. Researchers theorize that the brain’s backbone, its networking, this vast web of nerves evolved over the course of the next 130,000 years, neuron by neuron, brain cell by brain cell, in collaboration with the mysterious wisdom of nature itself and would acquire the evolutionary key to unlocking the power of the mind. Homo sapiens intellectual force like the lights on Broadway went fully present 70,000 years ago.

Fifty thousand years after the mind of man’s lights having been switched on, immigrants from somewhere near what we know as Korea moved into the Americas. With articulate hands these hunters could build stem pointed weapons, hunting tools, by now they had an expanded vocabulary and the capacity to not just describe the physical world but they could speak of interior experiences, how they were feeling, what they believed, what was true and what was not. Shelters were still temporary, they hunted and gathered, were able to build fires, cook what they’d killed. This was no small feat. Cooking enabled homo sapiens to digest more calories, quicker than their competitors, man was not yet the fiercest animal of prey. Mammoth, mastodon, giant sloth, saber tooth cat, and giant faced bears were formidable predators. Our ancestors still lived in a world where you could eat or be eaten.

Four hundred miles east of the Pacific Coast in what is now Idaho the Salmon River flows into the Snake River and then empties into the Columbia River. The first homo sapiens worked their way upriver and then struck out to the south around the Blue Mountains of Oregon to explore, hunt and gather in the Great Basin Desert. You’ll need to imagine a wetter and warmer place than now. Fresh water lakes, some more than one hundred miles in length, a thousand feet in depth, offered our first human explorers’ habitat well suited to hunting and gathering.

In January 1967 in Golden Gate Park at the Polo Fields the San Francisco Oracle announced there would be, “A Gathering of the Tribes for a Human Be-In”. Psychedelic drugs had been outlawed, tensions between the city, state, and national government had erupted. America was a tumultuous brittle uptight tyranny against the impulses of a generation intent upon doing their own thing. Because of the war in Indochina there had been riots, teargassing, and brutal arrests. A massing psychedelically dosed counterculture turning on, tripping, participants experiencing an unanticipated jolt, expressing the psychedelic tripping as having opened their minds and given them access to a higher consciousness. For better or worse LSD  had induced a religious awakening, a tangible enlightening, the drug unlocked perceptions door and expanded their minds, enlarged their sense of soul. 

Our paleo-archaic ancestors hunting and gathering across the Great Basin fifteen hundred centuries ago possessed not just a sense of knowing that they know, but they also possessed imagination. A fully formed ability of such powers of mind that they could create symbols on rocks, and that these carvings are a sign that these people wanted those who would follow to know that they had a vibrant interior life, a penetrating self-awareness.

Sign of Man

The oldest rock art in North America not four hundred miles from the Polo Fields was discovered at Winnemucca Lake in Nevada and dates back 14,800 years before the present. This lithic artifact memorializes the soul of man. Out here on the shores of this now vanished lake our ancestors etched in stone symbols of their being here, knowing that they knew, that they were part of something larger than self, cosmic, some interior cognitive expansion, and they had finally found a way to cut into rock a sign that their people could leave to those who would come after.

And now look at us, the brawling politics and runaway technologies, the chaos and contempt, our tribes’ anger toward one another, our very survival hanging in the balance. Wildcatters in Nevada, near Winnemucca Rock, much like our ancient ancestors are in a race against time drilling down into the earth. Only this time we are cutting into the lithic not to announce humanity’s awakening, but to fend off our civilization’s climate change collapse. That is the remarkable journey of how we have arrived out here in Nevada hunting and gathering for the means to fending off our civilization’s end.

a solitude for damn few

Imagine a place where for each square mile there is just one person. Where in an entire county of 9475 citizens the largest town is populated by 3944 of these remote beings. White Pine County, Nevada measures 8,987 square miles in size, this gives each citizen just under one square mile of space on which they may live, breathe, and dream.

Before moving to Mumbai, India you may search your passion for cohabitation because in each square mile you will share life with 76,790 other human beings.

Winnemucca Basque Restaurant

Most of Nevada’s land is owned by the Federal Government. Homesteading while legal isn’t practical. Water scarcity, a short growing season, and Jack Rabbits make farming impractical.

Mining is a boom and bust business. Commodity prices jumping up or down can open or close a productive mining claim in a day. In the late 1920’s the Great Depression shuttered the mines and emptied the boomtowns.

Home on the Range

The mythology of the cowboy delayed the inevitable need for better range management. Federal officials kept trying to buck the power of the western ranchers in Washington DC, and for decades lost vote after vote. Years of overgrazing caught up with the politics and mismanagement. Too many ranchers found it harder to fatten their herds of livestock then and now. There have always been too many rancher’s intent on running too large a herd trying to do too much with too little rangeland. That right there explains most of White Pine County’s emptiness.

Saloons where you go to forget where you are

A visitor drinking whiskey in a woebegone saloon in Wells, Nevada had the pleasure and company of a local while the gent explained how an enterprising citizen might make a go of things. “The First thing,” the unshaven gent explained, “you’ll have to own something outright.” I nodded agreeing with the comment. It’s best to act interested while saloon hopping the least visited corners of a state. “You see, there would not be enough profit off this land to pay on a loan and have enough left over to make ends meet.” I nod again, the gent seated in the stool waits until this fact sinks all the way into my thick skull. “Second thing,” I was confused because I’d thought we’d already discussed the second thing, no matter, don’t interrupt is a creed to follow while you go solo whiskey drinking out here where you could go missing, “Second thing, you’ll need land with deeded commercial agricultural water rights. If you owned land outright and had legal access to water, then you might just be able to grow a big enough hay crop to scrape by.” Nothing about this patron’s painted picture looked like anything worth giving a second thought to.


Yonder is hayfield irrigated by pivot

Most hay ranch irrigation pivots are scaled to cover about 140 acres, forecasting how fat a hog a grower might cut is tricky business, an average yield of 4 tons per acre at today’s price on the commodity exchange pays $200 a ton. You’ll use expensive electricity to pump water, fertilizer, herbicides, pesticides, tractors, harvesters, and the cost of shipping your crop to market. You’ll get to wear a cowboy hat for all that hay bucking, make your nut and then some, but there will be drama, and you’ll know what you are made of after a lifetime of putting your back into this work.

In the state of Nevada Reno and Las Vegas are where most of the 3 million people live. Only about 400,000 quirky types choose to strike out into the Great Basin Desert to make a go of things. Listening to their own inner voice, the loner’s coming out here are by most measure offbeat, and the longer they spend living fifty miles out some two track tumbleweed infested dirt road the more likely they are to acquire a peculiar self-sufficient eccentricity that with the passage of time will verge upon untreatable non-psychotic rural lunacy.

Waterways stir a sense of abundance

Here in Nevada’s outback you’ll find various kinds and types. Hay ranchers, cattlemen, Basque sheepherders, taxidermists, miners, saloon keepers, mechanics, geophysicists, air force pilots, tow truck drivers, brand inspectors, veterinarians, motel operators, road repair crews, shop clerks, waitresses, insurance salesmen, nurses, doctors, dealers, gamblers, drunk Christians, sober atheists and that doesn’t include the painters, plumbers, carpenters actors, dancers and hard rock turquoise prospectors.

Working hayfields, living well beyond the reach

Unless you like loneliness you’ll need a wife or husband. To keep a partner, you’ll need to be nicer than your naturally inclined to be. Limiting spitting, cussing and spousal criticism will go a long way toward that end. You’ll want to be supportive to everyone and everything except for maybe the rattlesnakes. Get a dog, buy a burro, see what tomorrow has in store for you. Get your hunting tag, acquire a meat locker, get out in that field with your brush hog, and whatever you do don’t stir up the yellowjackets.

New roof, paint, windows, place is ready to go

People that have found their half acre of happiness in Nevada know that east waits a Mormon dominated Utah they’ll never stomach, west an overcrowded California full of numbskulls all doing their bumper to bumper thing, south is Mexico, tequila and the pickup truck is as unlikely to make it round trip as the wife and dog are, while further north might offer some promise Idaho is pretty much a crap shoot so might as well stay right the hell where you are. People aren’t stuck in the Great Basin Desert so much as they realize almost any direction a Nevadan bitten with wanderlust may choose to go explore, at the end of that journey they’re sure to find that they still don’t fit in. Never did, never will, Nevada’s empty piece of solitude is a sure fit for damn few.

birth of imagination

16,000 years ago homo sapiens arrive

Bluefish Cave in the Yukon, now there was a place you could call home 24,000 years ago. There’s evidence the cave might have been used an ever more distant 40,000 years back in time, North America’s earliest immigrants crossing over from Siberia consolidated their foothold in this North American cave as others began immigrating south.

Use your imagination to play the homo sapiens game. First, remember earth has grown warmer and colder over these many tens of thousands of years. Plant communities advanced and retreated with climate’s variations, what seems like an uninhabitable cave in the frozen north has in certain periods of time provided an ideal environment for hunting and gathering. The advance of the ancients was not linear, ancestors explored and expand their presence across the continent only to retreat or perish because of incessant rain, persistent heat or cold, or unforeseen drought. Even hunter and gatherers are subject to immutable law of scarcity.

Imagine ingesting magic-mushrooms from atop Nevada’s Tohakum Peak then spending the day marveling southward below at the gleaming blue waters of Pyramid Lake. This sacred body of water is part of the Paiute Nation. If we turned back the clock of time 15,000 years, our ancestors had arrived and roamed this region, our ancient ancestors camped on the shores edge of this lake fishing, hunting and gathering edible and medicinal plants. Pyramid Lake is a mere remnant of Lake Lahontan, this larger lake wasn’t five miles in length, Lake Lahontan stretched out hundreds of miles north to south. From the high ground looking out, this is our ancestor’s homeland, from this vantage point the ancient people that arrived here could behold a lake as big as any in North America.

Winnemucca Lake Rock Art

Dominating the view to the west from Tohakum Peak were the Sierra Nevada’s snow and glaciers. At lower elevations occupying suitable habitat were limber pine, bristlecone pine, fox pine, western white pine, and giant sequoias. Lower still was the sagebrush steppe, and juniper trees. Lower still meadows of grass where could be found camels, giant sloth, tapirs, peccaries, bison, horse, donkey, mammoths and mastodon. Lurking in the shrouded bush were now extinct, giant short-faced bears, dire wolves, saber tooth cats, and the American cheetah. This was time of giant condors and saber tooth salmon. Isolated islands dotted the now vanished lake where white pelicans numbering in the millions fledged their chicks. It was from Lake Lahontan breed grounds that the white pelicans on broad powerful wings and soared to fish and explore the furthest regions of the America’s.

Our ancestors standing erect, hands guided by nature’s largest brain, a burdensome heavy high energy experimental organ, a mind able to fashion arrowheads, built fires, each advance in tool and skill increasing the advantaged probability of our species survival-supremacy was still not more than an untested vanity project. Fire, spears, arrows, and knives expanded the terrain suitable for prevailing over their competitors. This was not the Nevada of modern times, the shores of Lake Lahontan, this complex ecosystem was homeland where early man skillfully learned how to feed upon an uncultivated pristine wilderness, a life sustaining variety of indigenous flora and fauna.

Modern Man and Beast at Pyramid Lake

The human mind isn’t a mere mass of brain cells but is more like a complex interconnected information neural highway, each successive generation’s brain ripening into a more and more complex web of linked cognitive pathways. Linking the minds different hemispheres into a wholistic conscious force progressed, nudged ahead by evolution, over tens of thousands of years, this vast web of nerves, this system increasingly more connected, enabled deeper understanding, higher consciousness, and an ever expanding ability to speak. None of man’s competitors had a comparable vocabulary. 

If by some force of time machine magic, we could travel back 15,800 years, standing atop Tohakum Peak we would have been a privileged witness to our ancestor’s earliest demonstration of the ability of man to imagine, to be creative, to think in the abstract, from dreams in our mind to making actual linguistic/symbolic/shambolic patterns in rock. The sentience of the Winnemucca Lake rock art is less about the specific meaning of the symbols etched into stone, but more to do with our ancestors for the first time memorializing the fully realized birth of imagination. Our ancestors were still not more than middle of the food chain pack of tasty morsels; fierce strong jawed, sharp toothed and clawed predators remained the dominant existential force in the world of the hunter and hunted. Like arrow, fire, and speech man’s imagination would be tested, proving over the millennia that intelligence is a formidable adaptive power in the immutable Darwinian law of the survival of the fittest.

Lake Lahontan vanished 10,000 years ago

A journey of a thousand years, then another and another, for much of this time humankind’s advances were incremental, marginal. You know the storyline. Man’s consciousness eventually resulted in formalizing a set of teachable cognitive skills that we know as science. Taking pieces of what we learned from the many disciplines that have been developed empowered homo sapiens to invent, build and then dominate.

Here we are. This is what we have become. Because of our species use of fossil fuels we have arrived at a bend in the road. Our auspicious beginning is memorialized by our ancestors Winnemucca Lake rock art, the other end of this journey is more menacing, as lethal as any beast we have ever faced, it is an unseen phantom stalking the world, we call it by its name- climate emergency. We are racing toward an inflection point, where all of civilization, all of what we hold as irreplaceably sacred is tangled up in the fallibilities of man’s vices and virtues, tossing out the old ways and ever too slowly embracing new ways. The brilliant and clever homo sapiens are struggling to turnback the human experiment of life on earth from a fossil fuel induced collapse of civilization.

Beowawe Geothermal Generating Station

The ancients that inhabited what we now have named Nevada would not have known about the lithium buried in her soils, that a precocious South African would come to North America and build the world’s largest battery manufacturing facility, the paradigm shifting Gigafactory. That here in Nevada’s Great Basin desert there would be experimental geothermal wells drilled, that the power of these six mile deep wells would pull the earth’s molten cores heat up from her depths and will one day demonstrate the potential to provide an inexhaustible source of carbon free electricity, and then this briny water will bring minerals up from deep below and these vital minerals will be laden with more lithium and that emergent technologies, funded by philanthropic men with names such as Gates, Buffet and Bloomberg, will fund teams of scientists to devise a means of separating from the geothermal waters an inexhaustible supply of lithium that can be used to manufacture yet more Gigafactory batteries.

This is not fiction. Winnemucca Lake rock art is an original inflection point, 15,800 years since man arrived here and marked in rock this first moment, when our ancestors etched evidence in stone of mindfulness, to this present moment where humanity’s future now rests upon the fateful scientific engineering success of our cutting through more stone, this time with ever more at stake, with ever more skill, with the entire civilization’s survival quite literally at stake. Every last one of us have skin in this game, this is it, this is for the whole ball of wax, whether we can stay or must go, with the human experiment on the line, we have arrived in of all places back in Nevada searching for our salvation.