About the Cover Artist: Michael Haynes

Michael Haynes’ studio is near the base of Mount Shavano just outside Salida. He majored in art at Auburn University and completed his training there in 1977. His paintings have won numerous awards including the Addys, the Communications Arts Show in Los Angeles and The Society of Illustrators Show in New York.

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The Natural World

By Tina Mitchell

The alarm buzzer slices through the darkness – 5:15 on a mid-December morning. Take a quick shower, pull on layer after layer of warm clothes, gulp down some breakfast and head out by 6:30. At U.S. Hwy. 50, we point ourselves west to Salida. Along the 18-mile drive, the Arkansas River and Bighorn Sheep Canyon slowly emerge in the pre-dawn light. Off to the annual Salida Christmas Bird Count!

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The Box Canyon Mine

By Ron Sering

The steep hill at the mouth of Box Canyon across from the Wellsville bridge, just off U.S. Hwy. 50 east of Salida is a hard landmark to miss. Just below the summit is a massive hole that when the light is right, appears to be barred shut by some sort of fence.

Exploring seemed like a good idea until about halfway up, when the scrub brush hillside gave way to fields of sharp and loose scree. They were tailings, it turned out, a product of the mining activity that took place off and on over a 70-year period.

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Searching the Night Sky

By Christopher Kolomitz

Mankind has always found the night sky intriguing, and a base foundation of science is centered there. The movement of sun, moon, earth and other planets is especially visible here in Central Colorado, where low population, low humidity and nearly 300 totally cloudless nights create perfect viewing conditions.

The crisp air and silence of a deep winter’s night can leave a person literally breathless. Tilt your head to the heavens and the awe becomes even greater when the Milky Way shines like a ribbon across the sky. Summer camp trips into the woods often become dotted with recollections of meteors, full moon adventures and philosophical starry night discussions.

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Q & A with Gunnison Athlete David Wiens

Western State Colorado University graduate and Gunnison resident David Wiens has won two World Cup Mountain Bike races, two U.S. Mountain Bike National Championships and six consecutive Leadville 100 races. In 2000, he was inducted into the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame, three years after his wife Susan DeMattei’s induction. This year, WSCU has hired …

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From the Editor – Deeper

by Mike Rosso It was a packed house in the back room of the Victoria Tavern one Sunday night earlier this month. The occasion was a launch party for “Deeper into the Heart of the Rockies,” a collection of Ed Quillen columns compiled by his daughter Abby. Many of our regular contributors were on hand …

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A Harvest Beyond Words

by Hal Walter It has become a tradition of sorts each fall for my son Harrison and me to travel down to Larga Vista Ranch, owned by my friends Doug and Kim Wiley, east of Pueblo. We pick late-season produce, mostly sweet peppers, but also Pueblo chiles, watermelons and squash, just before the first hard …

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Quillen’s Corner – History Isn’t What it Used to Be

by Martha Quillen It’s no mystery why the story of the first Thanksgiving became an inspirational legend. The Pilgrims arrived at Plymouth in December of 1620 (393 years ago this month) and stayed aboard the Mayflower, where they died by the dozens. They were sick and discouraged until March, when an English-speaking native hailed them, …

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Restaurant Review – Sherpa Cafe

By Mike Rosso Sherpa Café 325 E. Tomichi Ave. Gunnison, CO 81230 (970) 641-7480 sherpacafegunnison.com Open seven days a week A few years back, in my Durango days, I had a roommate from Nepal named Bindeshar. He owned a Himalayan gift shop downtown but hoped to someday open a restaurant there. Often, he would try …

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Water Update

by John Orr Preston Frank Kaess Moves on to Greener Pastures Mr. Kaess passed on Nov. 6, 2013 in La Junta. Born in Rocky Ford, Kaess never ranged far from the Arkansas River and its tributaries, and in particular, Salida, where he graduated from high school in 1948 and married his wife, Patricia, in 1950. …

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A Hunt Gone Bad

by Robb Cadwell It was the first day of the season, and two high school buddies hiked up to the top of a rock with a good view to glass the small high flats below them. In his fifties and long past high school age, Ben had been hunting the area for 30 years. He …

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Book Review – Between Urban and Wild: Reflections from Colorado

Between Urban and Wild: Reflections from Colorado By Andrea M. Jones University of Iowa Press, 2013 ISBN: 978-1-60938-187-5 $22.50, 196pp. Reviewed by Eduardo Rey Brummel I first opened this collection of essays after placing my order at Telluride’s Brown Dog, and was who-knows-how-many pages immersed in it before noticing that my pizza had arrived and …

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Dispatch from the Edge

by Peter Anderson In October of 1960, I saw Nikita Kruschev ride by in an open car, waving to a hostile crowd of onlookers. Kruschev, the leader of the Russian Communist Party, was on his way to a Long Island estate where Russian diplomats from the UN occasionally stayed. I remember him as a portly, …

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The Cleora Cemetery

By Fay Golson for The Chaffee County Heritage Area Advisory Board The Cleora Cemetery is the sixth property featured from the Chaffee County Historic Resources Survey that was completed this summer. The town of Cleora has a concise history that spans a two-year period from 1878 to 1880. It was born of high aspirations, none …

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News from the San Luis Valley

Polston Property Annexed Alamosa city councilors annexed the controversial Polston school property in a unanimous vote, according to the Valley Courier. A group of Alamosa citizens had attempted to purchase the fertile piece of land to create the Rio Grande Healthy Living Park (RGHLP) with botanical gardens, a commercial kitchen and a production greenhouse as …

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REGIONAL NEWS ROUNDUP (and other items of interest)

by Christopher Kolomitz Monarch Finish in the Works for Pro Bike Race A stage finish on Monarch Pass, with a start in Gunnison, is part of the 2014 USA Pro Challenge course next August. Mt. Crested Butte will be the location for a stage finish as well. The host communities were announced in early November, …

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A Harvest Beyond Words

By Hal Walter

It has become a tradition of sorts each fall for my son Harrison and me to travel down to Larga Vista Ranch, owned by my friends Doug and Kim Wiley, east of Pueblo. We pick late-season produce, mostly sweet peppers, but also Pueblo chiles, watermelons and squash, just before the first hard frost arrives. After this, Doug turns his free-roaming hogs into the fields to clean up the destruction in the path of the oncoming cold season.

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News from the San Luis Valley

Plane Crash at the Sand Dunes Takes Two Lives

A Piper PA-28 piloted by Monte Vista resident Richard Cutter, 69, crashed in a remote area on Medano Pass at the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve on June 8. Cutter died in the crash. A passenger, Sandra Fitzgerald, 51, of Alamosa, died June 18 in a Denver hospital, where she had been transported following the crash. The cause of the crash is still being investigated.

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The Curious Crystal Ball Inside Mount Princeton

By Jane Koerner

The logistical and technical challenges seemed daunting at times. A drilling site had to be found that met all the specifications of the geologists, who had to take into account the tectonic forces that continually shape Mount Princeton and the rest of the Sawatch Range. Permits had to be obtained from the U.S. Forest Service to fix the washed-out sections of the access road so the heavy equipment could be hauled up by truck. Even after the improvements the road proved too rough and narrow for one truck, which had to be retrieved from the edge of a cliff.

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From the Editor

Fall has definitely arrived in Central Colorado. Most of the aspen trees have shed their golden leaves, pickup trucks full of orange-clad hunters are making their way through town into the high country, numerous political signs are visible in yards throughout the city and the mountains are beginning show evidence of snow.

It’s a shoulder season in Salida, which means the streets are quieter and downtown is more subdued, and it will probably stay that way until the ski season gets under way. It’s also a time for chimney cleaning, rolling up the lawn hoses, getting the snow tires mounted and breaking out the winter clothes.

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Down on the Ground with the NFL

By George Sibley

I went to my first NFL football game this October and am trying to figure out how to fit that into the context of my still-evolving but generally mundane sense of reality.

My partner Maryo and I were again spending October in Wisconsin – her home state and home of much of her soul, as the Colorado mountains are home to much of mine. She grew up in Madison, Wisconsin’s capital, but came to know most of the state through college summers working for her father, Robert Gard, who was employed by the University of Wisconsin to travel the state helping people articulate their lives in story, play and verse.

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Granite Stage Stop and Livery Stable

By Fay Golson for The Chaffee County Heritage Area Advisory Board

This Granite stage stop and Livery Stable is the fifth property featured from the Chaffee County Historic Resources Survey completed this summer. Granite was spawned by the stampede of prospectors struck by gold fever. The initial gold discovery in 1860 by G.A. Kelley along the Arkansas River – about four miles south of the present day town of Granite – was on a gravel bar later to take the name Kelley’s Bar. Just to the north, Cache Creek became an even more profitable site. Virginia McConnell Simmons in The Upper Arkansas, A Mountain River Valley states it precisely: “Granite’s role in the life of this area went back to 1860, when the entire section along the Arkansas from Kelley’s Bar on the south to Cache Creek on the north was lined with prospectors’ tents. But Granite was simply a suburb of the placer camps, particularly of Cache Creek.”

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The Offering

By Jennifer Welch

I was recently visited by a dear friend – the kind of friend who swoops in with a bottle of whiskey in hand and leaves you feeling more connected with your sense of being than when he arrived. On this particular visit, he happened to be in town the night before my first-ever hunting season opened. We sat long into the night and talked about farming and hunting and various other things. I mentioned that I was a little nervous about walking into the woods and taking a life. And that is when he began to tell me about the Ainu.

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Regional News

By Christopher Kolomitz

Rockslide Tragedy

Dwayne, Dawna and Kiowa-Rain Johnson, all of Buena Vista, plus two other relatives visiting from out of state, died in a rockslide Sept. 30 while they were hiking at Agnes Vaille Falls. Gracie Johnson, 13, was seriously injured after being trapped in the rubble. The deaths were a big blow to the community, Dwayne was an electrician, landscaper and football coach, Dawna was a popular waitress in town and Kiowa-Rain was a senior at the high school.

More than $50,000 has been raised for the Johnson Family Fund and an additional $10,000 was raised for a scholarship by Gracie’s fellow middle school students, reports The Chaffee County Times. The popular hike to the falls has been closed by the U.S. Forest Service and no timetable has been set for its re-opening.

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Breaking the Shackles of Time

By Abby Quillen

As many know, my dad died last summer, and I’ve been compiling an anthology of his work. By November 1, Deeper into the Heart of the Rockies will be available on amazon.com and at select bookstores.

Occasionally, over the months of anthologizing, I’ve needed to access my dad’s email account to retrieve an address. It’s creepy to see press releases, pitches, newsletters and advertorials still piling up there, five or six of them a day with cheerful salutations – “Hello Mr. Quillen!” “Congratulations!” I haven’t read much of my dad’s actual correspondence, because it still feels like I’d be violating his privacy. But occasionally I’ll click on a message, and there’s my dad’s voice on the screen – unpolished, off-the-cuff, typos and all.

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Book Reviews

A Bushel’s Worth: An Ecobiography
By Kayann Short

Torrey House Press, paperback 215 pp $14.95

 Reviewed by Annie Dawid


Thus must it be, when willingly you strive

throughout a long and uncomplaining life

committed to one goal: to give yourself!

And silently to grow and to bear fruit.

Rainier Maria Rilke, “The Apple Orchard”

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A Warning from Venus

By Jim Costello

Beautiful Venus, striking and bright in the western evening sky, brought wonder and awe to human imaginations before the concept of a planet existed. Today, knowing what we do about Venus, those thoughts are stretched even further with critically important questions for Earth and life itself.

When Venus is close to Earth, passing on an inside lane around the sun, it is by far the brightest star-like object in the sky. Then she follows the setting sun, first getting farther from the sun as days pass, and then getting closer to the sun. Finally, Venus disappears for a few days only to reappear and lead the sun in the eastern morning sky.

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Bruce Hayes – Colorado Mountain Music

By Ericka Kastner

Some say Howard resident Bruce Hayes is the hardest working musician in Central Colorado. He sees himself as more of an opportunist, performing his rhythm and Celtgrass harmonies for a live audience whenever he gets the chance.

Hayes has proven himself to be both hardworking and opportunistic. Songwriter, singer and multi-instrumentalist, Hayes has been on the live music scene since his college days in the late 1970s. He produced both of his own albums and has recorded collections and singles for more than a dozen artists, including the first recorded single for the internationally known band String Cheese Incident.

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Cancelled – How the Government Shutdown Affected a Group of Area Boaters

By Elisha McArthur

Permits to run the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon are acquired by a weighted lottery system and are not easy to get. What used to be a ten-year waiting list switched to a lottery in 2006. The weighted system means that you have a certain number of points, giving you so many chances to win. My better half, Alan, and I put in for a permit in January of 2012, and even with my dad on our permit (who had priority lottery points from being on the waiting list for nine years before it switched to the lottery) did not win the primary lottery on Feb. 22. We did, however, win a permit from a secondary drawing held in March. Our launch date was Oct. 2, 2013, and we were elated! We spent the next year and a half planning the perfect trip and rallying the perfect crew.

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Treasure of the Sierra Sangres

By Hal Walter

Largely because of geology, the Sangre de Cristo range was not heavily mined or prospected, though ironically, the town of Silver Cliff in the valley below was founded on minerals extraction. Still, over the decades, many have sought out other resources in the “Big Mountains” – timber, game, grazing, water. Some of the stories behind these exploits and even some artifacts and landmarks remain. We hear of the old-timer who waited for the wind to be right before setting fire to the timber in order to develop meadows and improve the hunting. Sheepherders had trails following the finger ridges to the high slopes, where the grass was lush in the summer months. The imprints of wagon roads tell the story of where timber was dragged out.

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My Mount Princeton

By Richard R. Cuyler

Up close, Mount Princeton is an ugly pile of granite; from a distance, it is beautiful in all its changeability of weather and seasons.

At 71, should I have known better? Six of us, Princeton University alumni and friends, gathered for the annual climb up “our” eponymous mountain. Since it was mid-August, I dressed in my usual eastern gear: shorts, T-shirt and hiking boots, with a fleece pullover and a poncho for good measure. We met in a drizzle, so out came the poncho. I was chilly, but why break out the fleece when the climb would soon warm me up? Our late start didn’t concern me. I knew about the furious afternoon storms but thought they couldn’t happen on an overcast day, since heat wouldn’t build up, a condition I understood as necessary.

First the road, then the trailhead, then the short stretch of tundra before the boulders, interrupted occasionally by sections of rough trail. I could tell the air had become thinner, but the light rain had stopped. I was warm and content. Although I had to stop frequently to catch my breath, I was exhilarated. Sometimes I could hear water purling through the jumble far below my feet. Everything, including my knees, was right with the world.

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LIGHTS OUT? The Clock is Ticking for Small Rural Movie Theaters

By Mike Rosso

Movie theaters have been around in the U.S. since the late 1800s with the invention of the Vitascope projector by Thomas Edison. During the Great Depression, millions of Americans took refuge from economic woes in local theaters. Movie houses were big business for much of the 20th century.

Then came television, allowing families to be visually entertained in their own homes; this put a small dent in theater attendance, but the cinemas were still bringing in big bucks. The video home system (VHS) presented the next challenge to the movie houses, but a delay in the release of the VHS tapes still allowed the theaters to sustain attendance numbers.

Next was the DVD and shorter release dates for new films. The advent of DVD dispensers, such as Redbox, and high-speed internet, which led to Netflix, along with the introduction of large, high-resolution flat-screen televisions made it even easier for folks to enjoy a cinematic experience in their own homes. All of these technologies took their toll on movie houses, especially in small rural areas, where profits are based on the number of seats sold.

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Down on the Ground in the Anthropocene

By George Sibley

The Anthropocene: I’ve been thinking about this concept a lot, but nature and culture both kicked in recently with ugly news that both affirms and challenges the idea of an Anthropocene Epoch on planet earth.

To refresh your mind (or assault it if the concept is new to you), “Anthropocene” is a new name that scientists from a number of fields, including geology, are proposing for the current geological epoch, known to this point as the “Holocene Epoch.” Some scientists sees the Anthropocene Epoch starting only 200 years ago, when humans began the large-scale use of fossil fuels. Others see it going back the full 11,700 years of the Holocene, when the Big Ice of the Pleistocene Epoch receded – “went back for more rocks,” as New England farmers say – and humans began cultivating land.

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A St. Patrick’s Day Parade … in September

By C.C. White

Sometimes a town just needs a good excuse to party. Leadville – the self-proclaimed “Parade Capital of the U.S.” – certainly had yet another one this past September. Being too cold in March to formally observe St. Patrick’s Day, each September, at the halfway mark, the citizens hold what they call a “Practice Parade.”

Like the traditional holiday, it features police car escorts, candy-throwing children, dyed green dogs, revelers sporting green hair and sparkly hats, Irish dancers (“Last year, they were Scottish,” grumbled my friend Cecilia Ogasawara, who took Irish dancing lessons and knows the difference), and of course, a dynamite Irish band. There’s a delightful difference with this event, however: often, Leadville tourists have no idea what’s going on. “Why are you dressed up?” one of them curiously asked our group of seven, which included Cecilia’s sister, Mary Carey. “Why is Harrison Avenue getting blocked off?”

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Colorado Forts – Historic Outposts on the Wild Frontier

By Jolie Anderson Gallagher

Editor’s note: The following excerpt is the first chapter from a new book: Colorado Forts, published by The History Press, Charleston, SC, ISBN #978.1.60949.660.9.

Contested Borders (1806–1822)

At the turn of the nineteenth century, the fledgling United States hungered for new territory. To the west of the Mississippi lay uncharted and unpopulated terrain of striking contrasts: towering mountain ranges, expansive plains and verdant valleys. Yet that wide swath of land was alternately claimed by the British, Spanish and French. In a political topography defined by competing interests and contested borders, European nations stood in the way of America’s desire to extend its influence across the continent.

Americans eyed the Louisiana Territory, 828,000 square miles stretching from the port of New Orleans up through the Mississippi basin, to the eastern edge of the Rocky Mountains. Spain had claimed that land in 1800 but had agreed to transfer portions to France in a treaty. Their negotiations dragged on for years, and before the two nations could settle the details, an impatient Napoleon Bonaparte slapped a For Sale sign on the territory. Desperate for cash, Napoleon offered it to the United States for a bargain: a mere $15 million (three cents an acre). President Thomas Jefferson readily accepted Napoleon’s offer, effectively doubling the size of the country. In the process, he made an enemy of Spain.

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Moving Salida Sideways

It’s the silly season in Salida.

Lines in the sand are being drawn, ammunition is being stockpiled and talking points are being honed.

We have three council seats as well as mayor’s seat up for grabs this November in Salida, and the philosophies of the candidates couldn’t be more stark.

On one side we have a group declaring “It’s time for us to take Salida back!” Which begs the question: back to when? The 1980s and early 90s? When half the businesses downtown were boarded up? Or the 1970s, where for sale signs stood in front of a quarter of the homes in town and a house could be had for five figures? (Actually, that one doesn’t sound so bad.)

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Light on the Headstones

By Hal Walter
As I was pulling away from the feed store, I noticed the early evening light on the headstones of the small cemetery on the hillside about a mile away. I’ve seen so many great photos of cemeteries in the Southwest, and had tried some photography in this graveyard a couple of times with no luck. But this evening the light and the clouds looked interesting, and I thought I’d drive up there and take a look around.

Harrison and I got out of the car and stepped across the cattle guard and into the fenced-in area. There was a warm breeze, and the little flags on the veterans’ graves all fluttered in unison. It seems there’s always a breeze at this cemetery. But it’s one of the most peaceful places I know. Harrison began running around looking at the headstones, reading the names, some of them of well-known Wet Mountain Valley families.

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