Columns

Fri
13
Nov
atodd's picture

Adventure begins at the end of comfort zones

Canyonlands, Utah — Needles District: Readers of this column should know by now, if it’s October, Bobbie and I are in Somewhere, Utah. Our initial camp was delightful and quiet, a back-road boondock on a hilltop mound of burgundy slick-rock. It afforded shimmering mirage-like panoramas of unfathomable canyons, improbably carved by water, wind and eons of time I struggle to comprehend.

Thu
22
Oct
atodd's picture

A wing and a haltere

To some people the best part of fall is the color. To a distiller the best part of fall is when the fruit flies go away. This has been a rough year for fruit flies and I am over them. It is well into the fall season and I am still battling the little buggers.

Thu
22
Oct
atodd's picture

The mysterious envelope

I can easily say of the never-ending task of cleaning the garage that it is, well, never-ending. But occasionally a surprise or two pops up.
The other day I was looking for my birth certificate. I tried all the usual places - you know, places where it should be but wouldn't be because those places would make too much sense.
File cabinet? Nope.
Sock drawer? It wouldn't be there, would it?
My box of stuff in the basement? Can't believe it wasn't there.
Oh, oh, oh. I know. In the trunk I've been carting around for years.
Let's see…an old pair of shorts that I evidently stole from some skinny guy years ago. A coin collection that I've never seen. Chinese coins? No telling where those came from.
There are my old concert ticket stubs. I saw Jethro Tull three times? I can only remember seeing them once, which is probably why I saw them three times.

Thu
01
Oct
atodd's picture

Blue suits me just fine

Beecher and I had been in a bit of a quandary recently. We couldn't figure out who gets to drive the Jeep home from Oktoberfest when we win it this year.
But, all's well. We now realize that we won't get to drive our new Jeep home Saturday night. We'll need to go fill out all sorts of paperwork at the Ouray Chamber a few days afterward. Then we can fight over - er, decide - who gets to drive the Jeep home.
Of course, my brother in Phoenix just texted me. He has a different plan. He says that when he wins the Jeep, we can drive it home and do our best to keep mice and such out of it. Then he'll come up in a few days, stay, fly fish, then take his new Jeep back to Phoenix. He tells me he'll look good in blue.

Thu
01
Oct
atodd's picture

Fall colors of the horse kind

Fall is in the air and the colors are just gorgeous. Did you know that the leaves are not the only colors changing as the weather gets colder? Four of my handsome “boys” are also working on a change of hue.
Yes, it’s true my horses change colors too. I have three buckskin and one liver chestnut colored hors- es. The buckskins, typically, change to a darker shade of tan. The white pieces that emerge during the “summer change” drop out and are replaced by an almost copper color. Their undercoat (winter hair) starts to appear about the same time that the aspens turn gold.

Thu
17
Sep
atodd's picture

A tale of two countries Columbus didn’t discover

Fact #1: When Columbus is reputed to have discovered America, the people we call Indians or Native Americans constituted 100% of the population of the Americas; today, they are a tiny minority accounting for just 1.68% of all Americans according to the 2010 U.S. Census.

Fact #2: Columbus didn’t discover America. Here’s what he “discovered”:

“During four separate trips that started with the one in 1492, Columbus landed on various Caribbean islands that are now the Bahamas as well as the island later called Hispaniola. He also explored the Central and South American coasts. But he didn’t reach North America, which, of course, was already inhabited by Native Americans, and he never thought he had found a new continent.” (Valerie Strauss, “Christopher Columbus,” The Washington Post, Oct. 14, 2013.)

Thu
17
Sep
atodd's picture

Meandering the pass

Looks like this trip to Durango will be close to three hours at this rate. Well, I have to go, work on the pass or no work on the pass. I need to help Michael (my son) get moved into his new place and get him set for the school year at Fort Lewis College.
This is something. I left Ouray at 11:30 a.m. and there are already 20 cars in front of me. The guy in front of me is from California. Wonder if he's fleeing the wildfires? Good luck there, the fires may be in California, but the smoke is here. I could barely see the Grand Mesa from my house this morning.
Lots of people in front of me out of their cars. Some walking their dogs. I guess I'll get out and walk mine. He loves car rides and actually hugs Michael when he sees him.
The guy from California is standing right on the edge of the road. I'm not so sure I'd get that close to the ledge.
I get Buster back in the car, give him some water. I get back in the car. He's happiest wherever I am.

Wed
12
Aug
atodd's picture

A river of toxic tears

As the Environmental Pollution Agency — as it is being referred to anywhere downstream of Silverton — tripled the estimate of toxic water spill this week from the Gold King Mine into Cement Creek, a tributary of the Animas River, the Animas was passing its orange glow from Colorado into New Mexico.
Eerily, Dave Taylor of Farmington, New Mexico, wrote the Silverton Standard and The Miner a few weeks ago and virtually predicted this disaster. Taylor, a professional geologist for 47 years, concluded that the Environmental Protection Agency’s efforts to divert leakage from the mine to holding pools would absolutely result in catastrophe.
Taylor predicted the effort to plug the 500 gallons per minute of exfiltrating water from the mine would backfill the interconnected mine system in the region, and within "seven to 120 days," he wrote, all of the 500 gallons per minute would seep out through new waterways.

Wed
12
Aug
atodd's picture

Mine waste must be addressed

Asking anyone in Silverton, Colo., how the past week has gone would be like ask- ing Mrs. Lincoln how she enjoyed the play.
The disaster that unfolded last week has thrust the problem of acid-mine drainage leaking from abandoned mines in the spectacular San Juans into the national — and even global — spotlight.
The bad publicity so many local busi- ness owners feared from a possible Superfund designation could not possibly match this.
The ugly, orange blob of mine waste that burst through the Gold King portal Aug. 5 also burst a lot of notions about the scope and urgency of the problem that the region has been struggling with for years.
It’s a complex problem with no easy or cheap solutions. And when it comes down to it, the biggest fight has been over who is responsible and who should pay.

Wed
12
Aug
atodd's picture

Up where snow “melts into music”: A hypocrite’s lament

“Keep close to Nature's heart... break clear away once in awhile... climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.” (JohnMuir)
It is a Chamber of Commerce morning, and I’m delightfully alone in lofty mountains above Lovely Ouray. The air is unusually warm and close, as cotton-ball clouds already build on ragged peak horizons. Sunlight dapples off rip- pled stream and glints from eyes overflowing with awe, bathing my aged-to-imperfect skin in solar bliss. I ponder the intense light, the staggering energy of its source and the speed at which it trav- els—93 million miles in eight minutes flat. I could almost lie down amongst the wildflowers at my feet and take a nap. Who would know?

Pages

Subscribe to Columns