Kevin Fedarko's insights into the dilemmas faced by the Skull Valley Goshutes are compassionate and clear ("In the Valley of the Shadow," May). The Utah Legislature has complicated the picture further by ordering the fast-tracking of a permit to receive more "low-level" radioactive waste at a dump near Skull Valley, undermining the state's case against the Goshutes who want to stockpile spent fuel rods on their reservation. As we hike, bike, and board through the Western landscapes we treasure, we should understand how those places are downwind and downstream from military pollution and private hazardous industries. Congratulations to Outside for such serious, thought-provoking journalism.
Ward is the author of Canaries on the Rim: Living Downwind in the West
As an avid outdoor enthusiast, environmentalist, and nuclear engineer, I was bothered by such phrases in "In the Valley of the Shadow" as "mobile Chernobyl" and "ultimate 20th-century poison." They make no physical sense, and do little more than support the article's anti-nuclear flavor. All benefits of living in today's society have a price. When we need to dispose of our trash, it has to go somewhere. I applaud the Goshute effort to support a storage facility—it's capitalism and resourcefulness at work.
Erik F. Shores
Los Alamos, New Mexico
I just finished the article on Mountainfreak magazine, "Bum's Rush" (May). I spent five years in good old T-ride, and while the magazine has definitely changed over the years, it's always a welcome remembrance of powder days, good friends, and howling at the moon. Rest assured, Freaks like us live all around this world.
Black Mountain, North Carolina
I had too much fun reading Bryan Di Salvatore's recent well-written article on Mountainfreak and Telluride. I'm a 46-year-old Ohio river rat who's gone there half a dozen times to mountain bike and ski. I still hike the ridges for a powder shot, and I'm pretty tired of the We-are-cool-locals-and-you-are-gross-tourists attitude lurking about town. I am sure the magazine is a fine alternative to other publications, but sorry, kids, the place has been Aspened already.
Shannon McIntyre's impressive May cover photograph of Lance Armstrong gave me the same feeling of exhilaration that I had when I watched him hammer away from the world's best climbers on Mount Sestriere in July 1999. I read cycling magazines religiously, but even so I found there were still plenty of fresh plums to be picked in the accompanying "Great American Cycling Guide"—from new training methods to matching tread with terrain. After reading about the Bombay Bicycle Club of Madison ("Blacktop Beauty"), I'm trying to figure out how we can set up a bicyclist-exchange program for Arizona and Wisconsin roadies. So little time, so many great places to ride!
I work at an elementary school and every day I try to instill good sportsmanship and respect for others in my students. So I was horrified to read, "Lance Armstrong Is Here to Kick Your Ass" on the cover of your May issue. It is this kind of attitude toward others that I see manifested on the playground each day in poor sportsmanship, fights, and hurt feelings. Lance Armstrong is great in his own right; he doesn't have to kick anyone's ass.
Iowa City, Iowa
Love 'Em but Leave 'Em
Like many people, i had always thought that swimming with a manatee would be a tremendous thrill. But then I read "My Son, the Manatee," by W. Hodding Carter, in your May issue. Now I realize that the desire to swim with manatees is just as dangerous to them as boat propellers. I plan to adopt a manatee as soon as possible and, like Mr. Carter, let him live his own life without my intruding on his daily routine.
Stephanie Gregory's article about the peace and joy of paddling ("The Floating World," April) was right on. In a time when the danger of extreme sports often overshadows the transcendent qualities of quieter pursuits and the places where they unfold, Gregory expressed a perspective that rings true. As I read this article I was brought back to childhood days canoeing with my father, when simplicity was found in the rhythm of a paddle cutting the water. Thanks.
Hooper Bay, Alaska
In 1969 you could probably have sold a bag of Cheez-Its to any Peace Corps volunteer in Nepal for whatever price you asked ("Mr. Salty to the Rescue," Dispatches, April). I know because during my tour I experienced what must have been hyponatremia. A group of Nepalese porters discussed my symptoms and came up with a diagnosis: "He needs vegetables!" One of my companions had long lived in Nepal and drew the connection—salt. Nepalese hill people boil rock salt with their veggies. Had I been alone and not met these good people, I may not have lived to write this letter.
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