Last night Walter Jon Williams and I drove from Albuquerque to Taos to teach Taos Toolbox, a two-week intensive workshop in writing science fiction and fantasy. We drove through drifting smoke from one of the huge wildfires which New Mexico is currently battling. Everything is very dry. Through Taos and on up the mountain to Snow Bear Lodge in Ski Valley. Walter was bummed to discover that the hiking trails have been closed due to fear of fire. But the view is wonderful; the photo below was taken from the porch of the lodge. The air smells of pine needles.
Today the students arrive. My hope is that by the time they do, I will have overcome my altitude sickness, which last night was very unpleasant. Snow Bear is at 10,000 feet. This is a glorious clear morning, but thunderstorms are predicted for this afternoon. I'm looking forward to seeing them over the mountain -- as long as they don't ignite fires here. There is only one way down the mountain and if it ever becomes blocked by fire, Walter has a contingency plan involving a nearby beaver pond -- but I hope we never need to use it!