Book Reviews – Simply Nora: High Heels and Diapers

Simply Nora: High Heels and Diapers by Theodore Marquez Club Lighthouse Publishing ISBN 978-1499648430 Reviewed by Forrest Whitman This is a tender book about a mother, written by her son. It reads like a Christmas card or high school scrapbook. Theodore Marquez was born and raised in Del Norte, Colorado. Nora, his mother, had 24 …

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Browns Canyon: A New National Monument for America

By Christian M. Lyons On Feb. 19, 2015, President Barack Obama designated 21,586 acres of pristine canyons, rivers and backcountry forest in Colorado as the Browns Canyon National Monument. “Conservation is a truly American idea,” the president said. “The naturalists and industrialists and politicians who dreamt up our system of public lands and waters did …

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Twin Lakes & the Interlaken Resort

by Virginia McConnell Simmons Although few places in Colorado have finer scenery than the conjoined Twin Lakes, the fortunes of this hamlet have ebbed and flowed, just as the water levels of the lakes has. Originally, these natural glacial lakes consisted of conjoined bodies of water, one about two and one-half miles in length by …

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News from the San Luis Valley

by Gena Akers Have Lemons? Make $2,000 Peyton Sanchez, a 9-year-old Alamosa resident, organized his second annual lemonade stand for charity during Summerfest on the Rio in Alamosa. Last year all the proceeds he raised benefited Children’s Hospital programming and the Alamosa anti-bullying program. This year, Peyton is supporting La Puente and the PALS Children’s …

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Regional News Roundup

Pirate Treasure Discovered A Western State graduate has gained worldwide notoriety after discovering what he believes is pirate treasure in Madagascar. Undersea explorer Barry Clifford (class of 1969) was part of a group of divers who claim to have discovered treasure belonging to the Scottish pirate William (Captain) Kidd. The group discovered a 50 kilogram …

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La Caverna del Oro (The Cave of Gold)

by Kathy Weiser-Alexander Long before the white man came to the United States, the legend of La Caverna del Oro, the Cave of Gold, was passed down from generation to generation by the Native Americans. When the Spanish explorers arrived in the 15th century, monks translated the legend and the storied gold was eagerly sought …

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Hemp: Colorado’s Next Big Thing

 By Mike Rosso

Colorado voters made history in 2012 when they passed Amendment 64, allowing for the cultivation, sale and personal use of marijuana.

But easily overshadowed by its sexier cousin was the part of that ballot initiative that also allows for the growing and processing of industrial hemp. Although 64 did not authorize the immediate cultivation of hemp, it directed the General Assembly to enact legislation regarding it. With sponsors Rep. Don Coran and former Sen. Gail Schwartz, they passed SB13-241, the Industrial Hemp Growers Registration DOA, which was signed into law by Gov. Hickenlooper in May 2013.

Hemp, like marijuana, is derived from the cannabis plant, but contains little if any of the psychoactive components of the popular recreational drug. What hemp does provide is an endless number of commercial, industrial and medical benefits from the entire plant – from stem to seed. It also requires fewer pesticides for growth than most major food crops and requires considerably less water than crops such as corn.

Hemp is currently legal in many other parts of the world including most of Europe. Russia, Japan, Thailand, Chile, India and Canada are among many others that produce industrial hemp, but the leading producer of in the world is – who else? – China.

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Places: Willow Lake

By Ericka Kastner

The Rocky Mountains are scattered with high mountain lakes, and Central Colorado is no exception. One of the best lakes I’ve seen yet lies at about 11,800 feet in elevation just east of Crestone. While the Willow Lake Trail is wildly popular with visitors on weekends, it still makes for a spectacular overnight adventure or a long day hike. Travel the trail on a weekday, and you’ll nearly have the place to yourself.
I first learned of this gem after admiring a painting by Salida artist Joshua Been. He’d just returned from an annual backpacking trip to the area and had captured Willow Lake in an oil painting. I was struck by the lake’s beauty as portrayed in his work and vowed to make the journey later that summer to see it for myself.
In reality, it wasn’t until the next summer, in late August under a blue moon, that I managed to get in a trip up to Willow Lake. My then 8-month-old pup and I thoroughly enjoyed the steep yet magnificent 4.5-mile backpack trip up to the high mountain basin.

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The Crowded Acre: Drinking Leads to “Porking”

By Jennifer Welch

I’m hitting my stride.
I’ve always known that I was a whiskey girl. Whiskey. Bourbon. Single-malt Scotch. Maybe a blend if you force my hand. Neat. Always neat. This I know. But my stride has nothing to do with that. No, my stride has more to do with curly tails and round snouts, curious minds and hearty grunts. My stride is pork. I take porking very seriously, as it is my business. More of an art form, really. The art of raising pigs for nourishment. This I am coming to know.
Luckily for me, these two things go hand in hand. Like pieces of a puzzle, they fit together in a way you might not expect at first. In fact, drinking and porking, as it were, go together in more ways than one. (I should know, says the mother of three.) Although, for safety’s sake, I do feel inclined to point out that we enforce a strict two-drink maximum if you plan to wander into our pigpens.

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Schofield Pass

By Polly Oberosler

Editor’s Note: Back in April of this year, a massive rockslide occurred on Schofield Pass, a four-wheel-drive forest service road which connects the towns of Marble and Crested Butte.
Popular with mountain and dirt bikers, hikers and Jeep enthusiasts, there was speculation that the sheer enormity of the slide might permanently close the pass, which was originally built in 1883 as a wagon route between the two mining towns. But, on June 8, after three days of work by a dedicated crew of U.S. Forest Service employees, F.S. Road 314 has reopened.
The work was overseen by Jim McBreen, construction and maintenance supervisor for the USFS He described very large trees above the road that were shattered by the slide and reported that one of the holes in the road was nearly 16 feet wide and 4 feet deep. He estimated that nearly 100 yards of road were affected by the slide. A bulldozer team consisting of Larry Augustson and Salvador Landa did much of the road clearing, despite the difficulty of bringing the machine up to the remote location.
Jeepsters and other local four-wheeling clubs regularly perform volunteer work on the road, but this slide was a bit outside of their ability levels. We asked sometimes contributor and Gunnison Valley native Polly Oberosler to share some insights into the pass with us.

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In the Vortex of Compassion, Strength and Skill

By Hal Walter

The burros were fresh in the cool evening air and, as they often do, sensed a neophyte in my companion, who was also having a bit of an issue adjusting to the altitude. At one point they bolted uphill and I had to simultaneously sprint ahead while literally “climbing” the lead rope hand-over-hand to gain control.

I looked over at my friend. “You know those battle-rope workouts people do in gyms?”

He nodded silently.

“Yeah, I don’t need to do those.”

He just smiled.

Years ago I met this energetic magazine writer, Christopher McDougall, who was covering the Leadville Boom Days pack-burro race and also gathering information in Leadville for what would become a classic best-selling book.

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