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Photo: Tyler Roemer (Adam Bradley hikes in Nevada's Steptoe Valley)
Adam Bradley, 38, is what is called a thru-hiker. A pioneer in the relatively unknown sport of fastpacking (a seemingly masochistic union of backpacking and trail running), he holds the current speed record on the 2,650-mile Pacific Crest Trail at a mere 65 days, nine hours, 58 minutes, and 47 seconds—21 hours faster than the previous record. While substantially shorter in distance than this transcontinental adventure, Bradley recently underwent a Nevada trek of far greater significance.
In the energy-hungry world in which we live, people rarely take the time to think of what it takes to power our homes, offices, shopping centers—basically, our lives. With the support of the Nevada Wilderness Project, Bradley set out in the spring to follow the path of the planned Southwest Intertie Project Transmission (power) Line from southern Idaho to the Harry Allen substation, north of Las Vegas, 501 miles away. Bradley’s objective for the 15-day trek was to route the intended path to help the aforementioned conservation group determine the impact the line will have on the landscape and wildlife.
Bradley’s “SWIP” trip, as he came to call it on his blog, took him through some of Nevada’s most rugged, iconic terrain; over lofty mountains, across parched valleys, even up craggy rock faces. “[It was] a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me,” he says in a recent story in the Las Vegas Review-Journal. When completed, the line will deliver energy from geothermal, solar, and wind sources to Southern Nevada, making it, as John Wallin, director of the Nevada Wilderness Project puts it, “the backbone of Nevada’s clean-energy economy.”
Bradley’s journey underscores the very reason the advancement of such green-energy initiatives is so vital for Nevada, the nation, and the world. As the default stewards of the planet’s fragile ecosystems, we must ensure that the evolution of human progress does not irreparably harm the land that supports us and be mindful of the environmental cost of things we consider necessities. Bradley says it well in summing up his trans-Nevada march along the route that will soon support a virtual electrical and economical artery: “Every time I flip on the light switch at home, I’m now considering the journey that my power takes to get to me.”
WORTH A CLICK