Sunday, January 15, 2017

Man spends 40 years as only inhabitant of Colorado ghost town

bill barr who insists on spelling his name with lower case letters has lived by himself in Gothic Colorado for 40 years now. Gothic is a ghost town abandoned since the 1920's.

To pass the time, barr has recorded all kinds of data including daily snowfall in the winter, temperature, snow melting, and animal sightings. Barr never imagined that scientists studying global warming would find his data useful in understanding global warming and even earn him a special title The Snow Guardian.
Barr had first come to Gothic in 1972, when he was a Rutgers University environmental science student doing research on water chemistry. He fell in love with the town and the quiet life there. When he finished his degree he became a permanent resident of the cold ghost town nestled in the mountains. Although he had grown up in New Jersey barr never liked being surrounded by many people. Barr said: “I grew up in the city. It was too much for me". Barr is now 65 years old.
In 1974 barr began his first winter in Gothic camping in a tent. Depth of snow in Gothic can reach up to 25 feet. Fortunately, the owner of an abandoned mining shack let barr move in. It became his home for eight years. His sole goal he claims in keeping the records was to fight boredom. For something to do barr began monitoring daily snowfalls, snow density, temperature, and much else. Barr claimed: “I didn’t have anything else to do. It was simple curiosity."
barr's observations show warming in the area during the time he has spent there. Barr says: “The trend I see is that we’re getting permanent snow pack later, and we get to bare ground sooner. We’ll have years where there was a lot of snow on the ground, and then we lose snow sooner than years that had a lot less snow just because it’s a lot warmer now.” While some climate change deniers have already criticized his measurements as biased, barr insists there is no reason for him to be biased. He says that he started his project long before global warming was even a trendy topic and just because he wanted to have something to do.
Barr travels four miles to Crested Butte about twice a month using skis to buy supplies. Crested Butte is a town of about 1500 people. He has bought a house in a nearby town for when he will be too old to survive on his own in Gothic. He does not suggest that other people quit cities and town and strike out for the wilderness: "Everyone has this idea, sitting in a comfortable chair in your cabin, reading a book, with the snow falling softly outside. The truth is, it’s boring as shit. But I like it.” " Gothic life is not for everyone only for eccentrics such as barr. National Geographic has a video on barr found here. The same video is embedded above.

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