Monday, March 31, 2008
Friday, March 28, 2008
Mrs. Ellen Jack was a prospector who found and
sold a valuable mine, then moved to early-day
Colorado Springs and built what would now be
called a motel on top of the High Drive. She always wore a
six-gun and a pickax in her belt and claimed to
bear a scar from a poisoned tomahawk dating from
the last Gunnison Indian uprising. The real
Captain Jack was her husband, who was just a
memory when Ellen arrived, yet people called her
Captain Jack. Nothing remains of her place but
the parking lot.
Digital Photography Outdoors’
c The second edition of this book by James Martin, a veteran photographer who has shot for Outside, Climbing and Rock & Ice, shows outdoor enthusiasts how to take their snapshots to the next level. Loaded with examples, this compact guide takes budding photographers through age-old rules of the film era and recent Photoshop tricks and tips for the digital darkroom, such as how to interpret histograms and use cloning tools.
Where to get it: Most bookstores
Bonus: Beautiful enough to be left on the coffee table.
Bummer: So beautiful you may be demoralized by your efforts.
Anyway, the year is a quarter gone. Time is running short to ski to a ghost town or go on a hut trip. However, there's still plenty of other ways to scrape a knee still waiting. Here are two for April:
-Bike, hike and ski the Imperial Challenge the last weekend of the season at Breckenridge. Bike from town, then carry skis to the top of Imperial Bowl at 12,998 feet, then ski down. First one down wins.breckenridge.snow .com
- Catch the songbird migration at Chico Basin Ranch. The trees of this massive ranch are a stopover for thousands of feathered wayfarers. chicobasinranch.com
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Coupounas has no idea how far he’ll get claiming “That’s part of the adventure!” but he has targeted more than 620 miles, the current distance record. He added, “I’m carrying maps for over 1000 miles and considering that weight is an issue on this trip, it would be tragic to have carried something that far that didn’t get used!”
The last lion in Kansas was killed in 1904. So our flat neighbor the to east is all abuzz about whether lions are back, having wandered in from the mesas of southeast Colorado, or whether this was a pet lion set loose, like others that have been killed in the midwest.
According to the Kansas City Star, the Kansas Department of Wildlife plans to DNA test the lion to see whether it is wild.
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
The $20 million
- Innovation Grants to fund dozens of on-the-ground projects each year that employ creative approaches and engage diverse communities to help achieve measurable land, water and/or energy conservation results.
- Conservation Fellowships to train and foster up to 200 promising environmental leaders who can serve as role models, expert guides and organizers for engaging new and diverse audiences in effective conservation action.
- Volunteer Days to be offered at
and other locations nationwide, providing hands-on opportunities to address environmental problems and take part in restoration activities. Audubon Centers
The Seattle P.I. is reporting that a farmer found an old parachute in his field that may have belonged to D.B. Cooper, the criminal/folk hero who in 1971 hijacked a plane, collected a ransom of $200,000, the parachuted out the back.
Many think he died. None of the ransom money was ever circulated. But if this parachute turns out to be the right make, it could revive all sorts of speculation. Until then, I recommend listening to the Todd Snider song DB Cooper.
WildEarth Guardians, a.k.a. Sinapu, claims that park officials did not adequately consider reintroducing gray wolves into Rocky Mountain National Park to solve the elk population problems.
Park Service biologists considered reintroducing wolves as one alternative to control the elk but nixed the idea because reintroducing a self-sustaining wolf pack was not feasible, because there was no regional wolf reintroduction plan. (The plan to cull elk took six years to finalize, so just imagine.)
But the lawsuit, the bureaucratic excuses, and the culling may miss the larger wolf point. Independent of any human plans, signs suggest the wolves are coming, from the north, and possibly from the south. Maybe it's best to just wait and see what happens.
Here's the hitch: In order to develop, the resort must by annexed by the tiny town of Minturn. The city council approved the annexation in February. But some residents aren't so sure they want more congestion, more skiers, and more second homes in their little community, so they are petitioning to have a referendum. It only takes 73 signatures in the tiny town to get a referendum, and organizers say they're "75 percent there."
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
“The subprime mortgage crisis, the falling value of the dollar, increasing prices for consumer goods, and the high price of petroleum have hit the economy very hard but when the snow is good nothing will keep people off the slopes,” said Kelly Davis, Director of Research for SIA.
Or... maybe people that signed up for subprime home loans (and the hapless investors who bought them) don't ski.
Monday, March 24, 2008
John Ball of Boulder was supposed to pay land-owner Harvey Carter $1 million on March 20, but he said because of the dire economic atmosphere created by the credit crunch, his investors have been hesitant to write checks.
“I’ve got $1.5 million pledged by 22 investors,” Ball said Monday. “But it’s just taking longer to get the money together.”
In the mean time, Carter, who owns 320 acres near The Crags, said he is discussing offers from Ball and other developers who want to build a ski area on the site, including an unnamed real estate agent in Manitou Springs.
“I’m talking to both of them, plus another guy. There’s a lot going on but nothing happening,” said Carter.
He said he’ll go with the first party to make the down payment.
By the way, you can see a map of Colorado Springs Bike Routes here.
One: Forest Service permits usually have a closing date on them.
Two: Interest drops dramatically.
Two is probably the main reason. If people still wanted to ski in May, the resorts could convince the Forest Service to let them. But they don't. I'll never understand why people are so eager to ski in November on crowded ice, but are tired of it by April when days are long and warm, and snow is plentiful.
This doesn't apply to backcountry skiers. Their season is just really starting.
Friday, March 21, 2008
Clove hitch, marlinespike, cat’s paw, bowline. If you get tangled just thinking about these knots, the Fourteener could straighten things out. The hook-shape plastic gadget mimics everything in the outdoors you might have to tie a rope to, whether a tent stake or a fellow climber, so you can practice knots before you really need them. A companion booklet gives clear, step-by-step instructions for 17 handy knots.
Where to get it: 14erknotting tool.com
Bonus: It comes with rope and a storage sack.
Bummer: It’s hard to secure so you can use both hands to tie.
This bill, signed by Gov. Bill Ritter on March 20, specifies that DOW officers along with other state law enforcement officers will now be able to issue tickets in the field to those who violate motorized vehicle laws.
Anyone who spends time in public lands (who isn't a bad hombre) will probably agree this law was needed. The U.S. Forest Service is spread thin, and can't keep up with the number of tire-spinning yahoos tearing up some parts of the national forest.
“This bill is the result of many people coming together in an effort to preserve public lands in Colorado. It addresses the growing problem of unauthorized motor vehicle use in prohibited areas and we look forward to assisting federal agencies in enforcement on public lands," said Tom Remington, Director of the Division of Wildlife.
In the five years I've run the Pikes Peak Ascent or Marathon the one thing I've consistently done to prepare is run on Thursdays with the Incline Club. This free, local club is a great way to stay motivated. Plus, Matt Carpenter graciously donates his time to making sure runners of all abilities are training smart. To learn more about the club click here.
Here's what else I do on a weekly schedule
Sunday: A long run. This generally means running/walking up Barr Trail. As soon as snow melt allows doing the whole thing, I head to the summit, then hitch hike down. I find this is much easier on my body than running back down. In July and August, I'll start alternating this run with a 3-2-1 run (a series of laps down from the summit designed by Carpenter.)
Monday: mountain bike - my true love and a nice break from running, especially after Sunday
Tuesday: fast 5k - this can easily be done at the Jack Quinns Running Club, because there are always folks there who want to race a bit.
Wednesday: the Incline, illegal but a great workout
Thursday: Incline Club, 30 minute "fast" run up Barr Trail, short hill repeats.
Friday: short run with my dogs, basically a rest day.
Saturday: Ditto. Rest up for Sunday.
This works for me, everyone is different. Matt Carpenter and Jim Freim have a great book about training for the Ascent and Marathon that will give you more info.
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Rocky Mountain News and Denver Post both headed down to cover the coming of the knuckle draggers (I can call them that since I'm a knuckle dragger.)
No big dust up, just people having a good time.
The post had a very short, matter-of-fact report and didn't send a photographer. (see freelance results left)
The Rocky spilled a bit more ink, but I was disapointed to see the writer propped up the old straw man of skier/border strife, saying "Snowboarding has been shadowed by controversy ever since pioneers like Jake Burton, Tom Sims, and Chuck Barfoot pioneered the sport in the late 1970s."
Makes it sound like some deviant cult where you get to marry more than one person.
Anyway, shred on. Taos rocks.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Note to Uncle Sam: wouldn't it be cheaper to just outfit tomorrow's warfighter with a mule?
That's right, today's the day the boarders officially hit the slopes with the skiers at the little but mighty steep resort down I-25.
Headed down that way? Send us a report. And join in the Ernie Blake Birthday Celebration on Saturday - marking founder Ernie Blake's birthday with fireworks, a torchlight parade and music in the Martini Tree Bar.
So I get out of the shower and go look out and there's a deer that's been hit by a car lying on the side of the driveway. What was really sad was that three other deer were there and they kept going up to it and nosing it.
I called the Humane Society who told me to call Division of Wildlife who weren't in yet so I had to call the State Patrol who called Wildlife who were apparently on their way 'cause they gave me a call about the time I got to work.
Anyhoo, should this happen to you - and 'tis the season - you call the DOW Pueblo office at 719-561-5300, or, after hours, the State Patrol at 719-544-2424. Note that if the poor thing is already dead, you call Colorado Springs Public Works instead. They have a guy.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
The up side: no more 10 restricted days only at Vail like the Colorado Pass.
The downside: no A Basin.
The bait and switch: Instead you get Heavenly, which is 1,000 miles away. I'm not sure I'd drive past Breck, Copper, Vail, Beaver Creek, Aspen and the mountains of Utah to ski in Lake Tahoe. We'll see how it sells.
Deer hunters in Colorado harvested the highest number of deer since 1997 with 98,283 hunters killing 45,026 deer for a 46 percent success rate in 2007.
Pronghorn harvest and success remained high in 2007 indicating that unusually harsh winter conditions on the Eastern Plains the previous winter did not have a major impact on pronghorn populations. In 2007, 12,647 pronghorn hunters harvested 8,492 pronghorn for a 67 percent success rate. The 2007 pronghorn harvest was the highest since 1997.
Think Pikes Peak gravel has a shot?
Monday, March 17, 2008
“Mountain lions, on average, walk about 25 miles per night and eat a deer per week. Jackrabbits can run at 40 mph but prefer to avoid predators through excellent camouflage. Tiny water shrews pluck insects from stream bottoms, eating their weight in bugs every day.
These are some of the surprising facts in this new color guidebook to the mammals of Rocky Mountain National Park.
Color photos make it a useful field book. Colorful descriptions make for an intriguing read. This book is a great start for anyone who wants to learn more about the wild world.
Where to get it: Local bookstores or upcolorado.com.
Bonus: The chapter on observing animals makes spotting wildlife more likely.
Bummer: The book’s focus on RMNP shortchanges local mammals such as the pronghorn.
Friday, March 14, 2008
Even if you're very good at it, like racers in the Alps.
So... ski biking, or skibobbing as it's also know, has never really caught on. But now there are a few people like Lenz making a more bike-like ski bike that seems to attract a lot of attention. Also, a company called Hansen (formerly Winter X Bike) makes these cool conversions for your existing mountain bike. I rode one recently, it was pretty cool. Not as design-specific as the other bikes, but also a lot cheaper.
So, if you really want to see what these bikes can do, get yourself some of this youtube of them in action at A Basin.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Interestingly, wave one is still open as of noon, Thursday.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
A 19-year-old man suffered serious injuries when he fell from a rock formation at Garden of the Gods Tuesday night.
Police and the fire department responded to a call at 7:31 p.m. They learned two men had climbed a rock formation without safety equipment or a permit.
One of the men fell about 25 feet and was taken to Penrose Main Hospital, where it was reported he had sustained life-threatening injuries, including trauma to his head.
Finish the Bear Creek Singletrack Project
Start the West Bear Creek Trail
Ute Valley Park Trail Building - with Rock Shox
Ongoing trail maintenance in Palmer Park
Red Rock Canyon Freeride Park Phase II
Layout new trail in Cheyenne Mtn State Park
Fight tooth and nail to let bikes back into Garden of the Gods after over 20 years by staging raucous "bike-ins" at city council meetings.
Oh, wait. Never mind about that last one. (That's 2009)
A gold star to the first non-fourth grader who can name the state dinosaur, mammal and insect.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Don't forget, there are new criteria this year for sign-up.
Here's links for sign-up (won't work until noon Wednesday)
Ascent wave 1
ascent wave 2
Marathon wave 1
marathon wave 2
The market value of the property is $691,513, according to the assessor's office.
Very nice of Nor'wood President Chris Jenkins to make that move. We'll see if it works.
Read the full story here.
Davenport said in an email today that he hopes the exchange of information on routes and conditions, and the forum's ability to connect like-minded people "can grow into a strong and open community that will help grow the sport of ski mountaineering."