Los Penitentes del Valle

After the Veronicas and the Hermanos from the morada in San Antonio, Colorado meet at El Calvario (The large cross) where Jesus meets Mary, part of the congregation goes on to the morada and the others walk to Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Conejos, Colorado which is several miles away. Photo by Ruben Archuleta.

Understanding the Penitente Church in Southern Colorado and Northern New Mexico

by Ruben E. Archuleta

Slowly and methodically the candles on the candelabrum are extinguished one by one as the Hermanos (Brothers) recite their prayers and sing the mournful alabados (Penitente hymns) until the last of the thirteen candles is out leaving the morada (meeting place) in total darkness. Suddenly the pandemonium that ensues with the sounds of rattling chains, the staccato of the matracas (wooden noise makers), banging on tins, and the wailing brings to mind the shaking of the earth, the lightning and thunder, the fear and wailing of the people gathered around the crucifixion … and then darkness as Jesus’ mortal body releases its soul. The Penitente rite known as the tinieblas (darkness), which represents the death of Jesus on the cross, has been practiced every Good Friday evening in the moradas throughout southern Colorado and northern New Mexico for over a century, and possibly longer.

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The benefits of doing something stupid

by Ed Quillen

One way to meet good people in Central Colorado is to do something stupid. I learned that atop Kenosha Pass on the afternoon of February 5.

Martha and I were on our way from Salida to Longmont, where we were supposed to go out to dinner with my brothers and their wives, along with my parents, to celebrate my parents’ 60th wedding anniversary (in case you’re curious, I was born nine months and one week after their wedding).

Since driving at night has become something of a challenge for me, we left around noon to be sure of a daylight arrival. We took our dog Bodie with us, even though he’s not a good traveler. He’s a car-chasing idiot, and when he rides in the camper shell, he sees plenty of cars to “chase” by running around in circles and barking a lot.

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Üllr: Diggin’ his New Job

Story and Photos by Mike Rosso

As a native of Black Hawk, Colorado, Aaron Peyrouse has been playing in the mountains all his life. He learned to ski at Loveland Ski Area at a young age and eventually became a full-time ski patroller. It was during those years at Loveland that he learned about avalanche rescue dogs and became intrigued. The area had employed golden retrievers trained to seek out and hunt down the scent of skiers buried in avalanches.

Peyrouse began his own research into the training of rescue dogs by referencing the certification program offered through Search And Rescue Dogs Of Colorado (SARDOC) Colorado Rapid Avalanche Deployment (CRAD). Meanwhile, he ran into an old friend in Central City who had just arrived from Montana with a fresh litter of bird-dog puppies. Peyrouse got to choose the pick of the litter, a six-week-old black lab he named Üllr after the Norwegian god of snow and skiing.

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A Few Words about the Cover Girl

by Elliot Jackson

The cover photo of my Siberian Husky, Sovay, was taken in early 2009 when, as a vigorous 13-year-old, she was still pacing pal Mike and me up mountain passes and breaking trail when we went snow-shoeing. Sovay, typical of her breed, is a highly energetic dog, easily bored and not all at all disinclined to let me know about it – that is, if baleful, pointed stares, imperious whoo-ings, and impatient tap-dance routines at the door can be taken as indication of a need and desire that we be off, now, on some quest for amusement or adventure. To see the antic gleam in her blue eyes, and observe her tongue-lolling, shark-toothed grin as she peered back over her shoulder just before dusting us on the trail, has made those days of back country ramblings a special delight for me; I believed I beheld my companion at one with her ideal environment.

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The Leadville Ice Palace – A Look Back

by Colorado Central Staff

The year was 1895 and the city of Leadville had fallen on hard times. Since 1881, production had declined at its largest and most profitable mines. The repeal of the Sherman Silver Purchase Act in 1893, first enacted to increase the amount of silver the government was required to purchase every month, had a crippling effect on the local economy. By 1895 the population had dwindled to 14,477 residents from nearly 40,000 only two years previous.

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The Clayton Blizzard of 2006

by Michael J. Perullo

Just after Christmas 2006, I decided to drive my 1990 Nissan Stanza from Atlanta to Silver Cliff, Colorado to stay in my cabin over New Years’ Eve. What a trip this turned out to be! I love to travel by car or Jeep, and this road trip was to be my 169th since 1991 when I first moved to Atlanta. Usually, I make an overnight stop between Georgia and Colorado in Yukon, Oklahoma, staying in a cheap motel and having some local Mexican food after this first 871 mile leg of the journey I’ve made many times.

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Waiting on Richard’s Marble

By Susan Tweit
November 2009

It’s official: my husband, Richard, is missing a marble. Or at least a marble-sized tumor.

A week and a half ago, his neurosurgery team removed a purple tumor the size of a large marble from the right temporal lobe of his brain. They reported that they’d gotten the whole thing, it stayed intact, and that it was small and well-defined.

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The Story of Soft Salida Brick

by Jackie W. Powell
Photos courtesy of The Salida Library

People say “Soft Salida brick” as if it were one word. Many believe it was sun-dried, like adobe, and therefore not as hard as fired brick. The myth of sun drying is reinforced by photographs such as Figure 1 , showing thousands of bricks lying in the sun. But this was only one of the five steps needed to transform clay into fired bricks: mining, tempering, molding, drying, and firing.

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Goodbye to summer, and two horses

by Hal Walter

Late summer has its many emotions here in the Wet Mountains, from the blustery days when you first notice the edges of the aspens turning, to the clear blue days that seem never to end as summer becomes fall. But I know in my bones these days will end.

At some point the summer bugs will come off the windshield with the first heavy frost.

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The Mystery of The Malta Cemetery

by Annie Mueller

Published by the Colorado Council of Genealogical Societies, the Colorado Cemetery Directory helps the living trace their family histories. Lake County, Colorado has 33 cemetery entries in the Directory. Of these, 13 are listed as abandoned and 18 have “no record available of custodian/owner.” The oldest in that record is the Leadville City Cemetery, established in 1877, used for only two years and then abandoned.

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Poles of Stone

by Ron Flannery

We were motoring up U. S. 50 in the canyon east of Cotopaxi, Colorado. As usual, my dad scanned things beyond the road itself. Suddenly, he said, “Yep, they’re still there.” Not seeing anything but the steep canyon wall on one side and the Arkansas River on the other, I asked, “What’s still there?”

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From the Compost Bin – October 2009

(Tips for high-altitude gardeners)

by Suzanne Ward

We have moved into autumn and frost will be visiting our gardens.? It’s not yet time to put it all to rest – there’s still a little more work to be done before winter.

?When frost threatens, it is wise to be prepared.? The first frost is often followed by warmer weather.? Be ready to cover tender, immature crops such as tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, squash, cucumbers and okra with newspaper or blankets.?Covering them at night, combined with the warm autumn days, will allow the produce to come to full maturity.

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by John Mattingly

I don’t admit this in the mixed company of cattle ranchers, but I used to have goats. Yes, the fact is, I had many goats, such that it was the profits from various goat operations in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s that enabled me to get into the cattle business and expand my farming operation. I owe much to goats, but that’s another story. Suffice it to say I have always had a great fondness for the species. They are clearly among the more intelligent mammals (and I include most politicians in a group that goats could easily challenge), in addition to being a species that helped humans progress, giving them milk, meat and fiber – endowments that ultimately resulted in a larger brain for homo sapiens. Mother never told me, “Be sure to eat your goat meat,” but we all know the rest of the story.

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Peace of Art Café

Regional restaurant review by Patty LaTaille

Organic Peddler
14475 W. Hwy. 160
Del Norte, CO 81132
(719) 65-Peace

Healthy eaters and vegetarian travelers can now travel through the San Luis Valley with peace of mind and a culinary destination ahead. There exists an oasis of organic food and drinks in the meat and fried potatoes and road trip fare in an unlikely spot – Del Norte. Look for the mustard yellow building and sign for the Organic Peddler and Peace of Art Café right on Highway 160.

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Scholarly Peaks of Colorado

How did the Collegiate Peaks, the towering mountains that soar above the Upper Arkansas River Valley, get their Ivy League names?

The tradition began in 1869 when members of the first Harvard Mining School class named 14,420-foot Mount Harvard after their institution while on expedition with Josiah Dwight Whitney, professor of geology at Harvard. The same group named the adjacent peak, Mount Yale after Whitney’s alma mater. The class was in Colorado that year to identify the highest point in the contiguous United States and to debunk rumors of an 18,000-foot peak in the Rocky Mountains.

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Symbols of Colorado’s Diverse Nature

by Susan Tweit

If you’re looking for a simple way to teach Colorado nature literacy, search no farther than our state’s official list of symbols. It’s longer than you might expect, and affords an easy way to begin exploring Colorado’s incredible natural diversity.

How many official natural symbols – bird, tree, rock, fish, wildflower, and so on – does Colorado boast?

If you guessed an even dozen, you’re correct. Can you name them?

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Ores to Metals: The Rocky Mountain Smelting Industry

By James E. Fell, Jr.
Published in 2009 by University Press of Colorado
ISBN 978-0-87081-946-9

Reviewed by Virginia McConnell Simmons

Like most readers in Colorado, I have countless books and booklets about the holes in the ground where miners struck it rich or suffered disappointment, but until I read this book, I never knew much about the rusty smelter ruins and grimy slag heaps that remain near those mines. The no-nonsense tome Ores to Metals became a lodestone for me this summer, attracting me to read every page and learn the things about the smelter ruins and slag heaps that have been ignored in the more popular dramas and melodramas about mining.

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Table Walking at Nighthawk

By Carol Darnell Guerrero-Murphy
Published in 2007 by Ghost Road Press
ISBN 0-9796255-1-3

Reviewed by Elliot Jackson

Why, oh why, wonders the Inconstant Reader, do I routinely pass by poetry in my restless forays through my library’s shelves? Is it because I had a rigorous education in my youth, and read so much of it that I just OD’d? Or do I just forget about it? Maybe it’s simple intimidation: a good poem is such a richly-stuffed little nugget that getting through a whole book of poetry feels like downing a plate of baklava all by myself (maybe that’s why, when I do get around to reading poetry, that I love to read it aloud, or hear it read: just like that plate of baklava, a poem seems created to be shared – munched by multiple ears).

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Water Update – October 2009

by John Orr

It’s been a good water year so far

Streamflow in the Arkansas River kept most everyone happy this summer. The runoff came early and high flows were bolstered by a cool and wet beginning to the season and plenty of transmountain water. The above average boating season lasted well into August.

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Regional News Roundup – October 2009

(and other items of interest)

Tanner Found Guilty

SALIDA – Andrew Tanner, 27 of Salida, was found guilty on nine charges including first degree murder and kidnapping Salida resident James Durgan Sept. 3 in 11th Judicial District Court in Cañon City.

The verdict came after 15 hours of deliberation by a seven man, five woman jury.

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Adams State College Unveils New Projects

by Marcia Darnell

Adams State College in Alamosa recently unveiled plans for a new sports stadium as well as new dormitories in two recent community meetings presented by ASC president, Dr. David Svaldi.

The centerpiece of the plan is the stadium, a larger, more resplendent facility than the open field and tiered seats the school currently uses.

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Western State Thinks “Green” and Brings Sustainability Home

by Mike Rosso

Western State College (WSC) in Gunnison is leading the charge statewide in sustainable building practices in an effort to reduce its carbon footprint. The WSC campus is rapidly becoming a model in earth-friendly, energy-efficient building practices and renovation techniques, thanks in no small part to its students, staff, and alumni.

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From the Editor – October 2009

I had already penned a piece to go in this spot, even going as far as dropping it in the layout, when Martha Quillen’s column came across my desk.

About halfway through it I realized she was voicing many of the same thoughts I had written except with a bit less cynicism. You see, what had prompted my unpublished tirade was a bumper sticker I had seen that day. It was stuck on an oversized SUV driven by an aging woman in downtown Salida equating liberals with laziness and unhappiness. Although I prefer not to be pigeonholed into all-too-convenient liberal/conservative tags, I certainly cannot side with a group of paranoid, angry folks who consider people like Ann Coulter and Glenn Beck their spokespersons.

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S-E-C-E-S-S, That’s The Way They Spell Success

with Martha Quillen

Conservative pundits and politicians have long rallied their followers by fomenting fury, but you’ve got to wonder if they’re going too far when they start fomenting revolution.

Minnesota Representative Michele Bachmann often urges revolution, presumably in the metaphorical sense. In March she said, “I want the people in Minnesota armed and dangerous on this issue of the energy tax because we need to fight back.”

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The Denver, Leadville and Gunnison Depot in Buena Vista

The Denver, Leadville and Gunnison Depot in Buena Vista – damaged by fire in 2002 – was donated to Buena Vista Heritage in 2003 and moved to McPhelemy Park where restoration soon began. Most of the exterior work on the depot has since been completed and work on the interior is scheduled to begin soon and to be completed by mid-summer 2010.

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Telling Tales in the Valley

by Susan Bavaria

Ranging in age from 81 on down, several regional women authors have written books as varied as river stones. Tackling subjects ranging from geology to self-publishing, these six writers exemplify the moxie needed to endure the publishing process and a love for language that creates worthy content. Some have taught students. Some have experienced far-flung adventures in the quest to find a good story. Some are members of the Colorado Authors League. All share a passion for good literature and an innate curiosity about the world we share.

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From the Compost Bin – September 2009

(Tips for high-altitude gardeners)

by Suzanne Ward

By this time of year you will have been harvesting your garden produce throughout the summer and hopefully, not too soon nor too late. Harvest timing is learned by experience. It is determined by what tastes best to you. Sample your vegetable produce at various stages of ripeness and you will learn the right harvest time for each vegetable to suit your tastes. Here are some general harvest rules.

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Homeland Security – Eight Years Later

by John Mattingly

Prior to September, 2001, I thought of home, land. and security as three separate words.  But as patriotic fever has spread through the country, possibly a fourth has presented itself as home and land as one, and from that, a few points of thought.

1. Look both ways.  Soon after we attacked Iraq, we often heard the mantra, “The safety of America depends on the outcome of the battle in the streets of Baghdad.” Then it moved to include the streets of Kabul, and now Karachi.

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Climbing Memories from Mt. Elbert

by Sarah E. Moffett

“Climbing at altitude is like hitting your head against a brick wall-it’s great when you stop.” – Chris Darwin

There are things we can’t let go of in life, and then there are things that won’t let go of us. Mount Elbert and I fell into both categories thanks to childhood experiences. Growing up, Leadville was a magical place set in the clouds. Sitting at 10,152 feet and shadowed by the towering Sawatch Range, the temperamental weather, stunning scenery and crisp scents made it a backdrop for dreams, imaginations and uncertainties. It was where anything could happen. So naturally it did.

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Rhythm, Soul and Education

by Mike Rosso

Salida-based musician Bones has put quite a few achievements under his belt over the past 25 years. He has performed in a variety of rock bands from England to Los Angeles and was a member of the popular Afro-beat band Jaka as well as the Grateful Dead tribute band, Shakedown Street.

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Sand, Wind, and Light: Great Sand Dunes National Park: An essay in words and images

By Ed Berg
Blurb, Inc: May 2009. $14.95

Reviewed by Eduardo Rey Brummel

The San Luis Valley is a distinctly different world. Perhaps the clearest demonstration of the Valley’s unique nature is the thirty-some square miles of sand dunes serving as foyer for the Sangre de Cristos’ western flank. In the same view, you have Lawrence of Arabia sands foregrounding snow-stippled mountains, with Medano Creek pulsing at your ankles. In his book, Sand, Wind, and Light, author Ed Berg begins where we all do – attempting to reconcile the existence of the Great Sand Dunes:

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San Juan Legacy – Life in the Mining Camps

by Duane A. Smith
photographs by John L. Ninnemann
Published in 2009 by University of New Mexico Press
ISBN 978-0-8263-4650-6

Reviewed by Ed Quillen

The Sawatch Range is the highest in the Rockies, the Sangre de Cristo Range is the longest, and the Mosquito Range is the richest in overall Colorado mineral production. But it is the San Juan Mountains that provide the quintessential Colorado mining-camp imagery and lore: soaring jagged peaks, frothing streams in narrow gorges, steam-powered narrow-gauge trains, immense old mines in sites apparently accessible only by jaybirds, and Victorian towns in various states of preservation.

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Project Education Sudan comes to Salida, Sept 10-13

Daniel Majok Gai and Isaac Khor Behr were only six years old when civil war broke out in their village in Southern Sudan. Fleeing their home and becoming separated from their families, Daniel and Isaac joined 30,000 other war orphans for a 1,000 mile journey to a refugee camp in Ethiopia. Walking barefoot, fighting enemy soldiers, starvation and disease, Daniel, Isaac and the other Sudanese children became known as the “Lost Boys of Sudan.”

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Making sense of a Nonsensical Death

by Susan Tweit

The call came on one of those afternoons when life moves so quickly that even though you’re going as fast as you possibly can, you feel like the Red Queen in Through the Looking Glass, as if you’re barely keeping up.

“Susan, it’s Jim,” my friend said, and then paused. “I’ve got sad news: Carol Jacobson died yesterday in a rafting accident on the Green River.”

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News from the San Luis Valley – September 2009

Natural Gas Exploration in Baca on Hold Until Ruling

CRESTONE – Toronto-based Lexam Explorations has agreed not to drill for gas on the Baca National Wildlife Refuge until a federal judge rules on an environmental groups’ request for a preliminary injunction on drilling.

The groups are seeking an injunction to block any ground-disturbing activity on the 92,500-acre refuge until the lawsuit is resolved.

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Regional News Roundup – September 2009

(and other items of interest)

Nestlé Permit Granted

SALIDA – Despite overwhelming public opposition, the Nestlé Corporation of Vevey, Switzerland was given unanimous consent on August 26 by the Chaffee County Commissioners for its application to remove water from a private spring adjacent to the Arkansas River and truck it to Denver to be bottled and sold.

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A 21st Century Look at Ranching in the San Luis Valley

by Bill Hatcher

photos by Mike Rosso

It happens without fail every September. Driving down a county road where I live in the northern San Luis Valley, I am given yet another opportunity to ruminate on why I love living here so much. No, not it’s magnificent scenery. Instead, the little reminder of pastoral patience I’m referring to lumbers along over cloven hooves, tended by that durable American icon, the rancher-cowboy, reins or twist-throttle held loosely in gloved hands.

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Seeds of Change – Transition Towns by Patty LaTaille

Is the Greater Arkansas Valley ready to join forces with a multitude of towns, cities, and counties who have signed on to become leaders in the growing global task force to address peak oil, climate change and economic stability?

Considering the number of concerned citizens who are connecting in Salida, Buena Vista and surrounding areas to adopt the “Transition Model” (www.transitiontowns.org) – all with the intention of engaging a significant proportion of the people in their community to kick off a “Transition Initiative” – it appears that the local community is ready to commit to change.

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