Cut My Hair

By John Mattingly

Not long ago, I was dining out with a friendly group of Republicans who went on and on about the glories of the Reagan years. It’s difficult to stay quiet on this topic if you actually lived in the Reagan years and paid attention. But, before I could give the discussion a booster shot of reality, before getting to the Reagan-guided deregulation of financial systems that laid the foundation for a greed-and-bubble economy, or the Iran Contra Affair in which Reagan “knew in his heart” that he did the right thing even though it was a felony, or before I could get to the bulging taxes and deficits and expansive militarism of Reagan’s actual term in office, a song came over the radio in the cafe …

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Happy Trails: The New Colorado Trail Basecamp

By Tyler Grimes

Mile for mile the beautiful trail in America,” boasts the Colorado Trail Foundation (CTF) of the 468-mile trail between Waterton Canyon southwest of Denver to Durango. Thousands hike the free-to-the-public trail, some day users, others straight through. “In 2015, there were 230 known CT completers, a hodgepodge of multi-year section doers and thru-travelers: hike, bike and horse,” said Bill Manning, CTF Executive Director. The CT spans five national forests through 11 ranger districts and six wilderness areas, climbing from a mile high to over 13,000 feet. “Trips range from less than an hour to more than a month,” said Manning. “Possibly the most engaged users are the thru-hikers striving to see all 486 miles in a single trip.”

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All Aboard the Southwest Chief from Pueblo?

By Forrest Whitman “A review by BNSF Railway of needed infrastructure improvements to support that service would be complete before Christmas,” said Ray Lang of AMTRAK. He gave that quote at a Southwest Chief Commission meeting to the Colorado Association of Railroad Passengers. The folks in Pueblo have worked for several years to make passenger trains …

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A True Champion

By Hal Walter

In my book, what really sets the greatest athletes apart from the really good ones is what they do off the field of play with the skills they developed through sports.

Recently, when I was asked to introduce my good friend Tom Sobal to the Leadville-Lake County Sports Hall of Fame, I began to research his athletic accomplishments in order to prepare a short speech. The thing most striking to me was how Tom’s community efforts were just as impressive as his achievements in running, pack-burro racing and snowshoeing.

Many years ago I wrote in Rocky Mountain Sports magazine that like many other explorers before him, Tom Sobal rolled into Leadville over Mosquito Pass. He pitched his tent in the highest valley in the Arkansas River drainage and he began prospecting.

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The Way We Really Were

By Virginia McConnell Simmons Colorado’s mountains were filled with smoke above and with tunnels below, while diseases and accidents killed miners and smelter workers, children drank and splashed in polluted water, women scrubbed raggedy work clothes, and moguls built mansions in Denver, as long as the mines yielded ore and the price of silver and …

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From the Editor: Weather, Trails, and Health

By Mike Rosso

The “monsoon” season has arrived, helping to dampen down the landscape and snuff out the recent forest fire. I put “monsoon” in quotations because, when I consider that term, I visualize palm trees battered by tropical winds, violently bending at 90 degree angles. In Colorado, it translates to brief afternoon rainstorms, sometimes, but not always accompanied by thunder and lightning. No, matter – we’ll take it. Moisture is always welcome in our high and dry climate.

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About the Cover Photographer: Shanna Lewis

Shanna Lewis is a Central Colorado-based photographer, journalist and writer. Once a denizen of the darkroom, digital photography changed Shanna’s world – for the better. With the cost of film and processing removed, she found the freedom to experiment: to try new angles, techniques and compositions. Shanna sees the world through the eyes of both …

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Down on the Ground across the Greater Divide

By George Sibley

Colorado has now had a state water plan long enough (half a year) for critical commentary to crank up.
The main criticism seems to be that the water plan is “not a plan at all, but just a lot of ideas and suggestions” for better water use. The critics seem to want a twelve-step program to follow, one step at a time, for meeting a mid-century gap between an unknown demand and an unknown supply, but there are just too many things we don’t know for sure but must try to prepare for. Will the 2050 population be 50, 75, or 100 percent higher? And how much of the increase will be in the metropolitan areas, and how much in places like Salida and Gunnison?

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Quillen’s Corner: One Country Indivisible

By Martha Quillen Years ago, Art Linkletter, an old variety show host, asked young school children to recite the first line of the Pledge of Allegiance and explain what it meant, and several of the kids called it “one country invisible,” and one thought he was pledging “a legion” of soldiers to protect the flag. …

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Book Review: The Western Lonesome Society

By Robert Garner McBrearty ISBN: 9781-942280-12-5 Conundrum Press: 2016 $14.99; 123pp. Reviewed by Eduardo Rey Brummel This isn’t your father’s Western novel. Time frames – past, more recent past, and what’s current – get sloshed together. Also, every so often an imagined psychologist appears, questioning and harassing our narrator, Jim O‘Brien, who’s also battling “president …

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Excerpts from “What Gold Buys: A Silver Rush Mystery”

Autumn 1880 in the Rocky Mountains brings frost, snow and the return of Silver Queen Saloon owner Inez Stannert to Leadville, Colorado, in What Gold Buys, the fifth of Ann Parker’s Silver Rush historical mystery series. In this silver rush boomtown, those who are hungry for material riches seek their fortunes in precious metals while …

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The Del Norte Trail System: A Gem in the San Luis Valley

Del Norte’s River Walk Trail.
Del Norte’s River Walk Trail.

Article and photos by Anthony Guerrero

Deep in the San Luis Valley is a hidden gem of a small old mining town known as Del Norte. In recent years, the quiet and historic town has positioned itself to be the hub of all-season fun for the area and is increasingly being recognized throughout the state of Colorado as well as nationally for its amazing natural beauty and redevelopment and economic efforts.

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Rebecca Folsom – Extraordinary Days/Little Medicines

By Brian Rill

Rebecca Folsom’s new double album separates light over dark and unites good and evil. A practical portrait of modernity and a bold criticism of the technological revolution. Disk one, Extraordinary Days bravely embraces advancement of mechanical advantage that mankind has forgotten in the midst of our information superhighway. Rebecca is a heroine who rebukes the notion that because meta aspects of the inferred spectrum are not seen by human eyes, a beautiful sunset can’t be captured fully other than by photographic perfection, induced by a mega smart phone app with a million pixels.
“Why on earth would anyone leave here, except to chase some crazy dream? … Colorado personalty touches a nerve in my spine, the backbone of my livelihood, the land of my dreams: ‘Back where the rivers run wild and cold and the Rockies kiss the sky.’ … The spirituality of nature that I was raised to love is unpretentiously interpreted and straightforward, ‘If you want to go to church, just step outside.’”

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