Columns

Sat
18
Jul
atodd's picture

Vacationing close to home

They say you're a lucky guy or gal if you get to live where you vacation. Of course, when you work where you vacation, the former can overshadow the latter.
Which makes a weekend overshadow the former.
We loaded the pop up and worn-but-reliable SUV and headed to a whole other world — the Cimarron Mountains.
No detours, no one-lane traffic, just turn right on County Road 10, pass Second Chance Animal Shelter and the RAT bike trail and you're in a different world almost immediately.
About 14 miles up we bumped and bounced the little camper slowly behind us past Deb's Meadow, wound our way up to Owl Creek Pass at 10,114 feet, then worked our way behind the Turrets to land an ideal camping spot at the end of the road right on the Middle Fork of the Cimarron.

Sat
18
Jul
atodd's picture

Look again: That mountain may be a molehill…

Summer always makes me think of lakes and mountains – and mountain lakes.
My college roommate from Alaska spent a few days at the cabin recently. Mike is a retired physician battling Parkinson’s now, but he’s doing pretty well and hasn’t lost his lust for adventure or his sense of humor. People facing challenges, whether climbing a mountain or combating a chronic illness, are an inspiration.
Mike grew up in a place called Mountain Lake, Minnesota (population: 2,104; elevation: 1,302 ft.). There are lots of lakes in Minnesota (even the license plates proclaim it: “Land of 10,000 Lakes”), but there isn’t a mountain anywhere near Mountain Lake.
When I asked Mike how the town got its name, he just shrugged and said, “Oh, there’s a little hill there.” Even the town’s official motto, “Home on the prairie,” betrays its inapt appellation.

Thu
02
Jul
atodd's picture

Healthy river takes patience

A long-time flyfisherman told Eric Gardunio, aquatic biologist in Montrose, that back in the 1980s the sight of four-pound Rainbow trout smacking big, puffy flies on the surface of the Gunnison River throughout summer was common.
"You just don't see that now," Gardunio said.
Overcoming whirling disease has been an uphill battle. Caused by a parasite that disrupts the nervous system of a Rainbow, the disease has decimated Rainbow populations throughout the West. The disease makes feeding nearly impossible and renders young Rainbows vulnerable to predators.
One predator is the Brown trout, which minus a healthy population of Rainbows has grown to dominate the lower Gunnison River.

Thu
02
Jul
atodd's picture

In order to shoe a horse it always pays to catch it first

There seems to be a new trend in the area of running…Barefoot. I, myself, no longer run. I have horses and they are much better at running, so I let them carry me. Anyway, the Barefoot Running “takeover” is definitely on the rise with humans. Many orthopedic sources are saying “it is healthier for the structure of the human body, to run without additional cushioning.” I do NOT agree with this statement based solely (pun intended) on past experience. Why, just this morning I stepped out on the front porch and stepped on a “goat head.” Jump, jump, **it, jump, jump **it…that really hurts. For the simple reason of personal safety, I will continue to wear shoes.

Thu
18
Jun
atodd's picture

Colorado and California – Different states, similar fates?

Tom Magstadt

Summer is beautiful in the mountains, but it's also a harbinger of horrors great and small, forest fires being among the worst and most devastating. Mud is no fun either, but without it – in the absence of abundant snow on the upper elevations and a long, slow thaw – we face something far more unforgiving.

For all our sophisticated technology and machines, soaking rains are still the best defense against forest fires. In ways we moderns often fail to recognize, the earth hasn't changed much since the Pleistocene Epoch, when mammoths and mastodons, long-horned bison, saber-toothed cats and giant ground sloths roamed the planet.

One big difference, however, is temperature. Global cooling and glaciers characterized the Pleistocene. The big worry in these times is global warming, disappearing glaciers and drought.

Heavy summer rains mean more mud, but every good thing comes with a price. If it doesn't, we're either stealing it or wasting it or both.

Wed
10
Jun
atodd's picture

Cartoon

Wed
10
Jun
atodd's picture

The ridge to the “Bridge of Heaven,” a hike up memory lane

The Old Horse Thief Trailhead is a Nolan Ryan stone's-throw from our house in Lovely Ouray. In minutes Bobbie and I are zigzagging up its wooded switchbacks, savoring fresh, pine-scented air that we’ve come to expect but now take for granted. The morning air is cool to bare skin, the trail damp from recent showers. Our bodies and minds soon warm to the uphill task and reluctantly cooperate. Life is still good.

Wed
10
Jun
atodd's picture

Pizza delivery, government style

Some of our Montrose subscribers have called recently to ask us why their newspapers have been arriving a few days later in the mail than usual. We just found out why. Instead of our out-of- county papers being shipped to Grand Junction for postal sorting, they are now being shipped to Denver!
This decision is not a local one, but a decision of your United States Postal Service.
We turn them into the Ouray post office, in turn they travel past Montrose to Denver, get sorted, then are sent back to Montrose. What do you bet they go through Montrose and Grand Junction on the way to Denver?
The efficiency of your big government at work.
There is a remedy, and we are working on it and should have it fixed in a few weeks. Thanks to our readers for alerting us.
For some reason, this kind of bureau- cracy reminds us of an exchange on the television show M*A*S*H, when Henry Blake was trying to get a special order delivered to the front line:

Fri
05
Jun
atodd's picture

Jumping up and down on the Hangman’s trap door

Suffering from a bout of cabin fever, Bobbie and I recently hiked the vertiginous Bear Creek Trail where we happened upon three runners. Two were hard bodied outdoor gals training for the Hardrock 100—an arduous hundred-mile foot race that ascends 13,000 foot passes and weaves the rugged mountains between Silverton, Ouray and Telluride. “Hardrock” says it all; it takes elite runners nearly 24 hours—all day and all night—to finish. The rest drop out or straggle in, trying to beat the 48-hour cut-off. A cumulative 34,000 feet of ups and downs at an average elevation of over 11,000 feet—abysmal weather, darkness of night and precipitous trails like Bear Creek not withstanding.

Fri
05
Jun
atodd's picture

Riddle: It's a race all who enter can win. What is it?

I was sitting on a bench near the iconic lift bridge in Duluth, Minnesota. It was early evening and I had completed Grandma's Marathon that morning. Anyone who's ever run 26.2 miles in one stretch without stopping knows the feeling: a strange mix of two extremes — exhaustion and exhilaration. It's not the runner's high that sometimes happens during a long-distance run, it's what happens when you cross the finish line of a marathon.

"Hey, Tom." The voice was familiar. So was the face.

John.  The tall young man standing in front of me, looking down and smiling, was somebody I'd admired from a distance long before we became friends.  I'd first seen John T. on a basketball floor when he led his high school team to two state basketball championships. As a college player he led South Dakota State University to two North Central Conference titles.  He had a tryout with the Boston Celtics but was cut when they activated Jo-Jo White.

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