Feeling a kinship with a blood brother

While driving along the back roads of Ouray County, I sometimes can’t help but feel like I am living in a James Herriot novel. Firstly, there is no doubt in my mind that Ouray County has the same diversity of characters as one of his novels. And secondly, like Herriot, sometimes I have to just stop the truck and get out for a short hike in the sun or to pause at an overlook and enjoy the day.

Trying to find the balance between young and old

It was 1984 and I was teaching preschool in Calabasas, California. It was the first day of school and a mother and daughter were having great separation anxiety. Daughter was screaming that she didn’t want to leave Mama and I was trying to tell the mom to leave. And she said to me, “But I love her.” And I told her that was why she had to go. And she did and the child screamed for a while and then settled down.

Having faith in healing

“To ease another’s heartache is to forget one’s own.”
― Abraham Lincoln

Fear, loathing and hiking in the land of lightning

One of the magical things I love about living in the San Juans is the set-your-watch-by-it arrival of the monsoon season. Seldom do thunderstorms fail to crank up sometime in the first week in July — just when June’s glaring sun and single digit humidity begins to wear on heat-intolerant mountain folk. Talk about “afternoon delight,” cool, soothing rain is mood medicine. The downside of our thunderstorms is unpredictable lightning; it can be deadly, especially for those who feel compelled to wade alpine meadows of wildflowers or bag one of our sundry peaks.

Summer discoveries of wildflowers and road trips

June, thank God. Summer has all but burst onto our mountain stage, much to the relief and glee of upstream Crevice dwellers in Lovely Ouray. Yes, long shadows are in retreat, lilac blossoms perfume the air and waterfalls gush headlong from burgundy cliffs in veils of white that’d be the envy of any blushing bride. Ours is a vertical world; the angle of scenic repose in Ouray cricks the necks of flatlanders who, beyond the rare eclipse, never had reason to look up before.

Wolves, sharks and crocs: World's deadliest animals?

A new study published in Science magazine shortly after this article was written has found that the current rate of species extinctions is more than 1,000 times greater than the natu- ral rate. The estimates are based on the fossil record and genetic data spanning millions of years. "These are higher than previously esti- mated and likely still underestimated. Future rates...are poised to increase. [R]apid progress in developing protected areas...are not ecolog- ically representative, nor do they optimally protect biodiversity."

We would be nothing if not for a whole lot of nothing

Summer is here and Ridgway is suddenly full of noise and activity. Motorcycles and RVs fill the roads. Bicycle tours, fireworks, music festivals, weddings and family visits fill the weekends. People are rushing around making money, planting gardens and throwing BBQs. So I guess it must be time for another in my series of unrelated articles — this month I will be writing about nothing.  

How Freedom of Information legislation fared

As readers of this paper know, we are mindful of the protections guaranteed by state and federal law for transparency in government. Following is a summary of legislation passed by the Colorado General Assembly in 2014, courtesy of the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition:
CORA research-and-retrieval fees
Beginning July 1, governmental entities may charge no more than $30 per hour to fulfill open records requests, with the first hour free. Fee policies must be posted on the Internet or elsewhere.