Fresh air. This morning I got a four-wheeler ride around Buhl, and the wafts of cool, fresh pine combined with the combination of changing leaves and evergreens tickled my sense of delight at Iron Range living. Where else can a person sneak in a four-wheeler ride before work?
We (I) don’t always realize what a prize we have in our air quality. In January 2021 we relocated to Phoenix, AZ. YES. The weather at that time was perfect (70 degrees during the day, 40 at night). As hikers and mountain bikers, we were thrilled to live close to miles of trails. One of our first hikes we climbed to the top of a local mountain and took in the panorama. While the view was magnificent, overlying the city was a gray-brown cloud of smog.
I quickly learned that my habit of checking the weather app each morning had a different purpose. Rather than just informing me of what types of clothes I should don, I began to pay close attention to the air pollution ratings. More often than not, the air quality for the vicinity was rated as challenging for “sensitive groups.” Multiple times, the apps recommended we stay indoors until the wind changed.
Being in a valley, Phoenix is particularly challenged by air quality. By virtue of high population density, traffic, large airports, many industrial and manufacturing facilities and more, all metropolitan areas are inflicted with higher pollutants.
Here on the Iron Range, in rural, northeastern Minnesota, we do not have these same issues. This summer we faced poor air quality for multiple days from the wildfires in Canada. The experience brought back the lived reality of navigating air quality as part of my daily fitness regime in the South.
Returning home, I have been noting our air quality ratings. Again today, the Air Quality report on both Accuweather and the Weather Channel app rates us as “excellent.” (The image above includes one of today’s graphics).
Living on the ‘Range has it’s benefits. I hope to see you out on the trails!