The Blacks Fork River

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Some miles along the interstate, when we crossed the Blacks Fork River, we would see alkali deposits lying in the floodplain like dried white scum. On both sides of the road were abandoned farmhouses, abandoned barns, their darkly weathered boards warping away from empty structures out of plumb. The river precipitates and the abandoned farms were not unrelated. This was the Lyman irrigation project, Love explained-a conception of the Bureau of Reclamation, an attempt to make southwestern Wyoming competitive with Wisconsin. The Blacks Fork River was dammed in i971, and its waters were used to soak the land. The land became whiter than a bleached femur. It still appeared to be covered with light snow. “Alkali sours the land,” Love said. “The drainage here is just too poor to flush it out. Imagine the sodium those farmers drank in their water.” Meanwhile, west of Green River, a tall incongruous chimney zakelijke energie vergelijken seemed to rise up out of the range, streaming a white plume downwind. Below the chimney, but hidden by the roll of the land, was a trona refinery, and, below the refinery, a mine. I had gone down into it one winter day half a. dozen months before, and I now remarked that the people there had told me that the white cloud issuing from the chimney was pure steam. “It goes clear across the state,” Love said. “That’s pretty durable for steam.” He said that fluorine, among other things, was coming out of the refinery with the steam. Settling downwind, it could cause fluorosis. He thought it might be damaging forests in the Wind River Range. The afternoon sky was cloudless but not exactly clear. “The haze you see is the trona haze that goes across Wyoming,” he continued. “We never used to have this. You could clearly see distant mountains on any average day.” Trana is about as hard as a fingernail, and much of it looks like maple sugar or honey-colored butter crunch. I remembered drinking coffee at a picnic table nine hundred feet below us, in a twilighted Kafkan dusty world where dynamite provoked reverberate thunders that zakelijke energie moved from room to room and eventually clapped themselves. Chain saws with bars ten feet long sliced into the rock to define the next blast. Stickers on lunch pails said.

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