Places: Music Pass

Story and photo by Ericka Kastner

Some of the best places in Central Colorado become even better in the stillness of winter. Cold temperatures and deep snow often mean fewer people, ice sculpted over creeks varying in appearance daily, and trees cloaked in frost creating the illusion of a magical wonderland.
At 11,446 feet in elevation, Music Pass is one such place. In the summer the road is heavily traveled by ATVs and dirt bikes, and Front Range visitors flock to the area for camping and hiking near the southernmost end of the Rainbow Trail. But on a recent winter day, I had the place all to myself. My pup and I parked at the Grape Creek trailhead and, donning snowshoes, trekked up the mostly snow-covered road towards Music Pass amidst blessed tranquility. To the north, the jagged peaks of South Colony Lakes and Broken Hand Peak beckoned me to plan a backpack route next summer. Looking south and west, the road ahead was flanked with wide open, high mountain meadows illuminated with sunlight.

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A Matter of Time

By Hal Walter

I was running with Teddy the Junkyard Jack down Music Pass in preparation for the upcoming pack-burro races when I first saw the smoke from the Hayden Pass fire. I knew at once these were not cumulus clouds with their billowing heads, amber undersides and dull rainbows in the folds.
I had failed to reach the top of Music Pass that Sunday, not due to anything physical but rather because of time constraints so common to the steel-jaw trap of family life. The summit would have to wait for another day.
From this vantage at the south end of the Wet Mountain Valley I could not get a pinpoint on the fire, only that it was somewhere in the range north of Westcliffe. Judging from the height of the smoke I figured it was mid-altitude on the range, and large.
I watched the smoke boil and fan eastward with the afternoon wind as I changed out of running clothes. Then I began driving toward town, where I could clearly see the fire was in the Coaldale area.
Back home, the edge of the smoke towered overhead, with a breeze cleaning the air at ground level. I knew this would change.

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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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