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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Trail to an Alternate Reality

By Hal Walter There was a paper American flag taped to the stair handrail. Each weekday morning, through an intricate intercom system consisting of a cell phone, landline, iPod Touch and a Beats Pill speaker, the Pledge of Allegiance was recited, followed by the lunch menu, school announcements and an inspirational quote. Routines are important …

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Salida Mountain Trails: 16 Years of Trail Building

By Tom Purvis When spring came to Salida back in 2004, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced their plan to conduct a travel management planning process on their managed lands in the Upper Arkansas Valley. The trails that were available near Salida were few, rough, and not constructed sustainably. To say they were constructed …

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Places: Penitente Canyon

By Chelsea McNerney-Martinez As regular readers may have already determined, I am an outdoor recreation novice, which is probably why I love Penitente Canyon so much. Although there are absolutely more challenges there than I will ever be prepared for, the canyon’s more than 25 miles of trails have hiking routes for every level of …

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Mountain Biking on Salida’s Trails

By Ericka Kastner

Sometimes in life the places we travel to are geographic, an actual destination we can pinpoint on the globe. At other times though, the places we go exist only in our minds; they are mental attachments, places we wander to in times of great joy, or senseless fear.

My relationship with mountain biking over the last 20 years has been one such place. I first discovered the joys of riding singletrack while living in Lawrence, Kansas, tooling around unaccompanied along the levy on the banks of the Kaw River. It was my only sanctuary in the woods those days, as forests are hard to come by in Kansas.

But somewhere along the way, I began to ride my bike for others; most often for someone I was dating. First adding toe clips and straps to my pedals to look like I had “the gear,” (yes, I’m referring to the early 1990s) and eventually, frantically struggling to keep up on technical downhill sections so as not to appear too lame; all the while wishing I could unclip and just ride at my own pace. The frenetic headspace that I’d enter on these rides very quickly began to erode away at the singletrack joy I’d once had, turning it into fear.

Admittedly, no one took me to this panicky place; it was something I did to myself slowly, over time. Worrying what others thought about my riding skills eventually kept me from experiencing actual places on my bike as I began to trade in biking for hiking, a realm where I felt confident and sure of myself. Ultimately, I stopped riding altogether.

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New Trails: The Little Rainbow

 By Christopher Kolomitz

The Little Rainbow Trail outside of Salida stretches about 7.5 miles, from the east flank of Methodist Mountain near the Burmac road, to west of CR 110 where the trail ends at Sand Gulch.

About 1,500 feet lower in elevation, wider and more intermediate than its big brother, the Little Rainbow is another success story written by the volunteers at Salida Mountain Trails.

The group has long championed the idea of building non-motorized, multiuse trails around the Salida area; they took off in a big way around Tenderfoot Mountain, where a series of trails has blossomed into a wide-ranging network.

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Regional News

By Christopher Kolomitz

Molly on the Move

LEADVILLE – Climax Mine shipped its first bag of molybdenum concentrate on May 10 following a restart of the legendary mine atop Fremont Pass in Lake County. It was the first “moly” to be shipped from the mine in 17 years, the Leadville Herald Democrat reported. The mine first opened in 1916 and was a major economic stimulus to the region for decades before finally shutting completely down in 1995. Restart of the mine began in 2010 and has totaled about $700 million with projections that 20 million pounds of moly will be produced by 2013. About 300 people work at the mine which is owned by Freeport-McMoRan. In early May the company foundation awarded more than $550,000 to non profit organizations in Lake, Chaffee and Summit counties.

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The Costs of Altitude

Aerial view of Mt.Ouray and Mt. Chipeta, Colorado by Dan Downing.

By Ed Quillen

If the United States had adopted the metric system in 1820, then Colorado’s highest country might be in better condition today with much less in the way of trail erosion, trampled tundra and disturbed wildlife.

Why 1820? The metric system had been devised by the French Academy of Sciences in 1795, so by 1820, Americans certainly knew about it. And 1820 marked the first recorded climb of a 14,000-foot peak in America.

Consider that “4,267.21-meter summit” lacks the resonance and romance of “14,000-foot peak” or just “Fourteener.” And without that arbitrary line in the sky, few of Colorado’s 54 Fourteeners would suffer the traffic they bear today.

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New brochure promotes Old Spanish Trail in San Luis Valley

Brief by Central Staff

Trails – March 2008 – Colorado Central Magazine

A new brochure about the Old Spanish Trail in the San Luis Valley came out late last year, and should be available now at area tourist information centers.

The Old Spanish Trail is more like a network of routes than a single path. In the 18th century, the American Souuthwest was a remote part of Spain’s New World empire. The region’s two major outposts, Santa Fé and Los Angeles, were isolated from each other, which made them more vulnerable.

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Trail funds available

Brief by Central Staff

Trails – November 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine

If you know of a trail that could use money, the state has some — about $3.5 million in grants for design, planning and construction of pedestrian recreational trails, off-highway vehicle trails, and several other varieties.

The deadline for grant applications for the 2003-04 funding cycle is Nov. 29, and the grants will be announced next April. Applications are reviewed and awarded based on benefits, financial feasibility, and community support.

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Walking among the Hagerman ghosts

Article by Sharon Chickering

Trails – September 1994 – Colorado Central Magazine

Ghosts aren’t hard to find. They join the squirrels chattering among the aspen, spruce, and fir, or echo with the rushing mountain streams which erode the long-abandoned bed of the Colorado Midland Railway above Leadville. As a hiking trail, the route now offers a chance to visit the phantom rail workers as they blast and pound rocky routes from the Rocky Mountains.

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