Fascination with Fungi

IT’S DIFFICULT TO TURN A CORNER ANYMORE and not see the white and red image of a Fly Agaric mushroom emblazoned on hats, scarves, shirts, earrings and even on the skin as tattoos. The irony is that the Fly Agaric — the red-capped, white-speckled amanita mushroom (Amanita muscaria) of fairy tales, is poisonous. The iconic …

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Restoring and Re-storying the Land We Call Home

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE IN DEEP RELATIONSHIP with the land on which we live? The 33rd Annual Headwaters Conference, hosted by Western Colorado University in Gunnison in December 2022, aimed to answer that question. The theme of the conference was “Land Back: Indigenous Homecoming in the Headwaters.”  In recent years, the conference focused …

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Ragpicker Magic

MAGIC? AT A USED BOOKSTORE? You’d expect to find it at the tarot reader’s place, the Buddhist  temples, or among the breathtaking 14,000-foot peaks towering over the small community of Crestone. But at the used bookstore? That’s right, if you intend to explore the esoteric wonders of the little town nestled among the Sangre de …

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Whimsy, Welding and Nostalgia

UPDATED Editors note: John passed away Dec. 8 after sustaining multiple injuries in a car accident on Nov. 12. Please give here if you are able. Thank you. COOPER THE WHOOPER, a pile of welded and painted farm tools and spare parts, stands on U.S. 160 in the center of Monte Vista. Cooper was my …

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Skier’s Remorse: An Early-Season Lesson in Inertia

THE TELEPHONE RANG MUCH EARLIER than I had expected. “Moeller, get up,” the excited voice blurted. “It snowed 13 inches at Monarch. Let’s get rolling.” I clambered out of bed, looked out the window and grinned. The Pueblo sky was dumping fat, sloppy flakes the size of pancakes. Moments later Adam sped up to my …

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Old Souls and New Soles

…with Douglas Crowwolf Sometimes the old ways are the best ways. Douglas Crowwolf is a Lakota artisan based in Monte Vista, where he makes custom moccasins, bracelets, wrist cuffs, medicine bags and — in a nod to modern times — phone cases, among other crafts. He sells his work online and out of the gallery …

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Hope for Haven

This piece has been updated. For the record: The Q&A skit was presented only to fifth grade students. THE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL IN BUENA VISTA is — like the rest of the town — a safe and tranquil place. So why would school administrators expose children to messages about sexual exploitation and human trafficking? The answer …

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Salida Storytellers

GREAT STORYTELLING IS AT THE HEART of our culture, embedded in our history and key to a successful future. We tell stories to entertain, to educate and to connect. With this in mind, Andrea Mossman, manager of A Church in Salida, started to explore the feasibility of launching a community storytelling event — in the …

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Plant, Harvest, Taste

GUIDESTONES ARE TYPICALLY DEFINED as a sort of celestial clock recording the passage of events or as a stone marker acting as a guide for travelers. The mission of Guidestone Colorado echoes this sentiment. The name “was chosen to honor past and present leaders who have dedicated themselves to building healthy and resilient communities through …

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Housing Series: Fading West

THE STRESSES OF TODAY’S HOUSING MARKET are present nationwide, though their seeming stranglehold has become even more apparent in the Upper Ark Valley through the obvious labor crisis numerous industries are experiencing. While many still contemplate how to handle real estate’s skyrocketing prices concurrent with wage battles and rising inflation, Fading West Development is paving …

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Pickleball Passion

IT WAS A BLUEBIRD-SKY SUNDAY MORNING in Buena Vista as I squinted against the intense sun, following the outstretched arm of Stephanie McDonald, the USA Pickleball district ambassador for southern Colorado. Her gesture encompassed the center of the newly poured pickleball courts, as she described where eventually there will be bleachers for fans to observe …

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Lincoln Park Legacy

THE GENTLE ROLLING HILLS JUST SOUTH OF Cañon City are covered with the green that a semi-desert landscape can produce: low grasses, cactus, shrub-like pine and juniper trees. Ground and surface waters drain northeast from the Wet Mountains immediately adjacent, though surface waters flowing through the area, like Sand Creek, tend to appear only following …

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El Agua es Vida

EL AGUA ES VIDA, OR TRANSLATED: WATER IS LIFE. The July ’22 issue of Colorado Central Magazine had no less than five items concerning water. The primary item was George Sibley’s article regarding the Colorado River Compact. With all that emphasis on the “life blood” of our region, state, nation and planet, this offering provides …

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Building Earthships

IT’S A DELICIOUS, IF TORTUROUS, CYCLE WITH ME: just when I’m on the brink of throwing up my hands and writing all humanity off as a wretched lot of uberconsumerist, plastic-mongering jackasses who deserve to suffocate in the ozone-depleted bed we’ve made for ourselves — lo and behold, some brightly shining soul or earth-conscious initiative …

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Recovery Out Loud

“I LOVE THIS MEETING. IT’S THE BEST PART OF MY WEEK,” a participant confessed at a Peer Empowered Recovery Community Solutions (PERCS) All Recovery Meeting. Ten people filled the basement of the Salida United Methodist Church on a Monday evening in June. Andy Panter, co-founder and organizer of the All Recovery Meeting and a PERCS …

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All Bodies on Bikes: rediscovering joyful movement

“As humans, our bodies are meant to move, we’re not meant to be sedentary. But it also doesn’t matter what size you are — everybody is meant to move,” Marley Blonsky, All Bodies on Bikes KATE MADDEN IS AN ATHLETE. This statement might not seem revolutionary, but rediscovering this truth has changed the way she …

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Trail Stewards

CENTRAL COLORADO HAS BECOME a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts and is known for being welcoming and accommodating — a necessity of embracing a tourist economy. The Upper Arkansas Valley has a reputation for being home to some of the most beautiful, unsullied landscapes in the state. Arriving at trailheads, visitors and locals tuck their vehicles …

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Culture of Belonging

WHEN I THINK ABOUT THE CREEDE REPERTORY THEATRE, I think of the stunning remoteness of Creede. I think about the excellent caliber of the shows I’ve seen there — how the performances feel intimate and fantastic but not budget. I marvel at the talent that the CRT attracts from around the country; it brings to …

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Wild West Lore: Guerrilla Raids in South Park 1863-64

Colorado is chock full of legends and lore, from mysterious mining tales to haunted hotels. Some of the most intriguing stories include Wild West characters and buried treasure. Two of southern Colorado’s most famous legends involve the Espinosa brothers’ murderous swath through Park County in 1863 and the Reynolds Gang’s destructive path and alleged hidden …

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Down on the Ground…with Messy Vitality

A review of Aspen and the American Dream by Jenny Stuber I NEED TO BEGIN THIS COLUMN with an apology to the spirit of this magazine’s cofounders Ed and Martha Quillen. Ed was pretty adamant about not including Crested Butte or any of the recreation-dependent communities in his version of “Central Colorado”; he did not see …

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Water in the West: Jenkinson as Powell

CLAY JENKINSON, A HISTORIAN, AUTHOR and scholar with a heartfelt interest in the American West, will make a one-of-a-kind appearance at the Salida Steamplant Event Center June 25 as the incomparable John Wesley Powell. Well known for his various books and documentaries, Jenkinson is also a one-person interpreter of various historical figures. He shared that …

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elevateHER

WALKING UP STUFFING MY HANDS INTO my pockets, not breaking eye contact with the freshly mowed grass, I tried to make my presence around the 14 other girls standing in a circle the least known. I faltered closer to meet some of the women who would change my life: Josie and Kristen. That was the …

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Laps at the Track

TEXT FROM FRASER CRENSHAW: “Do you want to go to the racetrack some Sunday? Could be a fun article for people not interested in railroad history and characters of the SLV.”  My response: “Yes I do. 100%. Also, ouch?” Fraser agreed and apologized. (First he’s surly, then he’s sweet.) I followed through with my commitment …

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The Old Goats

SHORTLY AFTER MOVING TO SALIDA IN 2001, I began noticing random license plate frames around town embedded with the words “Old Goats.” I soon learned there was an organization founded in Salida for the purpose of helping preserve the Rocky Mountain goat. Members are referred to as “Old Goats.” While hiking a section of the …

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GREEN-ISH

THE COLOR GREEN IS OFTEN applied as an adjective to various energy technologies that are seemingly more enviro- or eco-friendly when compared to the unfriendly drilling for oil or the mining of coal. Photovoltaic solar panels, wind turbines and other green technologies do not ravage the natural environment — or do they? At a macro …

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Fire Mitigation

Wildfires burned more U.S. acreage in 2020 than in any other year since that information was first tracked in 1983. In essence, the 2020 fire season never ended, continuing through 2021 when the Marshall Fire destroyed more than 1,000 homes in Boulder County on Dec. 30, causing more than $500 million in damages and becoming …

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All You Need is … Inclusion

WALKING UP TO THE FRONT DOOR of the Starpoint-staffed home in Salida, I immediately reflect on my own life with the disabled population. My dad has managed a group home for disabled adults since I was 7 years old. Living in Salida I’ve savored my small, always positive, interactions with Starpoint consumers. So, I jumped …

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A Close Brush with Death

Mountain Biking in Buena Vista CO

THE WIND BLOWS IN MY FACE; I feel the tires crunch below me, the brakes and shifters in my hands like cubes of ice. At this point I know that this bike is an extension of my body, the plastic pedals mixing with my fleshy legs and the finger grips molding to my hands. I …

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Winter Army

10th Mountain Division

READERS OF THE BUENA VISTA newspaper will occasionally notice that some veteran of World War II is mentioned as having served in the 10th Mountain Division. The distinctive logo for the 10th Mountain appears on the occasional obituary. Sometimes the “winter army” is mentioned in an article.  A few of those men were locals when …

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Nurturing Fathers Program

THE FAST-PACED RUSH AND BUSTLE of summer Main Street traffic had slowed to a trickle of locals entering shops and the few hardy visitors enjoying the views. I was there to meet Zeb McCain — a local author, tile guru and volunteer facilitator for the Nurturing Fathers Program — for lunch at a local eatery. …

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Community Profile: Rafael Millan-Garcia

Rafa Millan Garcia

“YOU’RE CRAZY!” IS COMMONLY SAID TO Rafael “Rafa” Millan-Garcia, with varying degrees of animosity mixed with awe. At the root of most of these comments is the fact that a bicycle is Rafa’s exclusive mode of transportation — which is impressive everywhere, but especially in Leadville, Colorado, where Rafa lives. At 10,200 feet, Leadville is …

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Salida Filmmakers Earn Emmy

Mike Rust The Rider and the Wolf

THE RURAL AREAS OF COLORADO ARE riddled with mysteries, particularly where dirt roads meet trails winding into the mountains. People who choose to make their lives in this tough and unforgiving environment tend to be private people who have moved out of the city and off the grid for a specific purpose. Mike Rust was …

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Sophia Herzog: Two-Time Paralympian Medalist

Sophia Herzog

SOPHIA HERZOG, SALIDA, WON A BRONZE medal in the 100-meter breaststroke at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo and then retired. Tokyo was Herzog’s second trip to the Paralympic Games. In 2016, she won a silver medal in the 100-meter breaststroke in Rio de Janeiro. She was also a finalist in the 200 Individual Medley …

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Renaming Mount Evans

Renaming Mount Evans

GOV. JARED POLIS THIS YEAR rescinded two orders on the steps of the State Capitol, ending the legal justification for the Sand Creek Massacre of 1864. Around 100 members of the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes attended the ceremony, calling for changes. One of their “asks” was to change the name of Mount Evans, maybe to …

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Pedaling Rail Bikes on the Old South Fork

Revolution Rail South Fork

THREE OF US “ADVENTURERS” found ourselves enjoying a short jaunt on rail bikes recently. We were in the old D&RGW (Denver & Rio Grande Western) railroad depot in South Fork. A company there regularly rents out bikes for the three-mile run up to the turntable and back. Up for discussion was the idea of pedaling. …

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The Natural World: Mountain Lions

Katie Maher Fine Art

EARLY MORNING, BEFORE the sun even hinted at dawn, I walked the dog along our suburban sidewalk, with numerous streetlights illuminating our way. I spotted movement ahead — a sizable four-legged form padding silently away, a long tail draped in a graceful curve nearly touching the ground. That’s all I saw but I didn’t need …

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English Translation of: The Blood on My Hands is the Unavoidable Use of Plastic. Forgive me.

Can I be the person who says we need to protect the planet and at the same time buy another plastic doll for my daughter? Climate change is a global problem and there are small solutions that we can start working on today. This summer I went to Red Rocks. It was a classic Colorado …

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Private Soak at the Infinity Pool

by Cailey McDermott There are roughly 28 public hot springs in Colorado. Mount Princeton in Nathrop touts five different soaking styles — the newest is the infinity pool.  In addition to the public soaking, the infinity pool is open to private soaking experiences. You can reserve the entire pool for a romantic date, for a …

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Great Blue Herons: Can they Co-Exist with Recreationists?

By Chris Rourke Along a more than four-mile stretch of the Slate River near the town of Crested Butte lies a colony of Great Blue Herons. They return every spring to lay eggs, hatch their brood and tend to chicks. The majestic and colorful creatures can be spotted high in the tree tops overlooking the …

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Remotely Writing Western

By Joyce Lohse In mid-June, Western Writers of America (WWA) converged on Loveland, Colorado, for their 68th Annual Convention. For a writer struggling with focus and direction, this was a perfect opportunity to learn about industry news and gain inspiration. Three days of listening, interacting and learning among 200 of the most talented Western writers …

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The Problem with Nestlé

By Jennifer Swacina When I first heard about Nestlé mining water— right here in Chaffee County—I wished I had been here in 2009 to have joined those who rallied against it. Be careful what you wish for! In late 2019, I happened to read an article covering a routine county commissioner’s meeting with discussion that …

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