Dear Action Line! On July 8, just before sunset, I saw something strange over the Animas River. I stopped and saw what looked like small miniature steam tornadoes above the Animas behind the mall. I contacted a professor of meteorology and some locals and eventually determined that they were flocks of spawning mayflies that had probably united because of the bats flying around. This is described as “bugnado” in some places on the internet. Looking back at an article a few years ago about the history of the anime’s name, I wonder if settlers or researchers at some point witnessed this phenomenon and interpreted it as ghosts? I certainly wouldn’t blame them – it’s one of the most unusual sights I’ve ever seen in my life! – Seer of Souls
Dear Seer! Rio de las Animas Perdidas is, of course, the River of Lost Souls, as the Spanish explorers called it. Soul Seer also sent in a short video clip, and Action Line can attest that it’s very creepy to see for the first time. In photographs such as the one that accompanies this story, it’s a little hard to tell because the clouds look like tree trunks.
Action Line wanted to disprove the bug theory and believe that the spirits really rise from the river, but, alas, this, apparently, is simply not true. At least in this case.
“It’s definitely caddisflies,” confirmed John Livingston, Southwest Colorado spokesman for Colorado Parks and Wildlife. He conferred with the agency’s aquatic biologists Jim White and John Alves on the matter.
“Brachycentrus caddisflies hatch really well in Animas this time of year.” He added that sometimes they are so thick that they splatter on the windshield from a Wendy’s in North Maine.
“The caddisflies are known to form spawning flocks at dusk,” he said. “This year we did see some massive broods on Animas around this day and time.”
According to Livingston, caddis flies are moth-like insects that have hairy wings instead of scales. And to get some impressive technical information: Caddisflies are closely related to Lepidoptera (butterflies and butterflies) and belong to the same superorder of insects, Amphiesmenoptera. God, you could practically get an entomologist’s degree by reading Action Line.
Anyone who is into fly fishing or fly tying is familiar with caddisflies because they are used to lure fish. Bats in the air, fish in the water – it’s not easy being a caddisfly these days.
Dear Action Line! Several large cars with government numbers are parked in the South City Market. Here are some photos. Can you understand what they are for and why they are here? — Kristen Mishker
Dear Kristen! At first, Action Line simply assumed that these trucks were enjoying and contemplating the spectacular metal work of art on the side of the Holiday Inn Express. The view from Town Plaza is simply amazing.
(For those who are not regular readers of Action Line, see the August 6 column for reference.)
But, going through the actual reporting, it became obvious that something more was going on. These vehicles were in the area around August 10-12. After digging around, Action Line uncovered the truth, or at least part of it: On Aug. 10, the Colorado and New Mexico National Guard exercised at the Old Fort in Hesperus, said Beth LaShell, director of the site. for Fort Lewis College.
“There were about 80 of these trucks around the barns and paddocks one Wednesday,” she said.
So this is part of the truth. It was a bit more difficult to understand exactly what the training was about. Other local contacts were apparently sworn to secrecy, and an attempt to contact the National Guard was unsuccessful.
There are some clues on the vehicles themselves. The G82 code on the license plate shows that the trucks (or at least the one pictured) are heavy diesel trucks registered with the General Services Administration. In short, the GSA “administers federal property and provides contracting options for government agencies.” It probably won’t show up in a trivia contest, but just so you know, the GSA was founded in 1949 under President Harry Truman.
Gichner Shelter Systems of Dallastown, Pennsylvania, which built the truck, is now part of Kratos Defense and Security Solutions. Gichner manufactures military tactical shelters, including communications and electrical equipment shelters. In other words, you guessed it, these are pretty high-tech trucks.
This is national security, national defense. The NSA/CIA/FBI will most likely be asked how Action Line even knows so much, and if Action Line suddenly disappears, you’ll know why. If anyone in the know wants to take the risk of telling Action Line more, please don’t hesitate.
Streams and rivers
Regular reader Jerry Zink saw an article last week about the difference between streams and rivers, the latter supposedly larger, and pointed out that there is a Fall River west of Denver – it starts near St. Mary’s Glacier – and flows into Clear Creek. And he came up with this memorable limerick, alluding to the most famous brewery in the state.
The stream is both big and clean
A day’s drive northeast of here
swallows the river
And so can deliver
Enough water to make beer.
Send questions and suggestions to [email protected] or Action Line, The Durango Herald, 1275 Main Ave., Durango, CO 81301. Action Line can still smell the hops and yeast that grow upwind of the Coors plant.