Grand County trails: Be responsible on the trails during fire season
July 6, 2017
The Colorado clear sky day is legendary. We worship that clear weather that blesses the Fraser Valley all too often. With the earlier wet cool spring, we couldn't wait for the hot dry dog days of summer. Now that we are officially in summer and have had at least a six-week stretch with only a bit of rain, we are screaming for the moisture that keeps the flowers blooming and the fires under control.
Fire restrictions are being considered or are already in place as the ground cover and tall grasses have become ready to explode where wind and a campfire left attended are recipe for disaster. Sparks from passing machinery or a cigarette butt carelessly tossed from a passing vehicle can easily ignite dry shrubs or grasses at the side of the road. The fireworks from Fourth of July celebrations earlier this week left small fires where the fireworks were allowed — several main displays across the state were canceled out of concern for fire conditions. An even bigger culprit has been campfires that have not been completely extinguished out in the middle of the woods. Please don't you be responsible for leaving a fire unattended that can spread rapidly destroying our beautiful landscape and even homes in its path. The hot dry winds can fan a small blaze into a roaring inferno overnight. Think twice before you start a fire or leave one still burning as you settle into your sleeping bag.
Our local Headwaters Trails Alliance has been busy with volunteers and workdays to help clean up our trails system and keep it safe. HTA website https://headwaterstrails.org and the Headwaters Trails Alliance Facebook page feature pictures and describes work done by those much appreciated volunteers as well as upcoming volunteer opportunities. Make a difference and join a project. Or help with a fundraiser like the Upcoming PUB Crawl at the end of July. Email email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org or call 970-726-1013 for more information. The Fraser-to-Granby Trail has slash cleanup scheduled second and fourth Tuesdays in July and August, 5 to 7 p.m. meeting at the intersection of County Road 856 with Highway 40 on the east side of Red Dirt Hill above Tabernash. Call Diana Lynn Rau 970-887-0547 for more information and to sign up.
Rivers have been swollen from melted snow now for several weeks and have started coming down. The raging torrents have claimed a few lives mostly from people not being prepared with a simple life jacket. Other lives have been claimed when people were just not paying attention or trying stupid stuff — here, hold my beer and watch this …
Think twice before you start a fire or leave one still burning as you settle into your sleeping bag.
Other celebrations have been fun loving and delightful in building relationships and skills. Teaching paddling skills and coordinating a crew of people of different weight and strength can be daunting. Avoiding hazards like rocks and branches in the river can require people listening to commands and working together to perform in a certain way. A good boat captain learns to read the river, spot problems and read his or her crew as well yet be jovial and fun to be with at the same time. Quite a package of skills yet that is what makes a trip so fun or so boring! Hit those waves (when you know the waves are clean and not harboring a big rock at the bottom to smash into)! People scream in delight as they got soaked on a hot sunny day like we had on Tim's Memorial raft trip last Saturday. Those that didn't get soaked by the waves got soaked from the water fights that erupted. Or one can avoid the fray and take the dry route — to each his pleasure!
Then there are the daring cliff jumpers leaping off rock faces 30 feet or more in height! As well as the version for those who are not so daring. Please use the well-known areas where the landing is deep and clear of hidden obstacles. No one needs to wipe you off the rocks because you couldn't jump out far enough or had too many beers to use decent judgement.
Once I had a very drunk gentleman look down from the top of a rock wall, see my boat filled with people and decide to jump anyway. At least I had the presence of mind to push one stroke forward or he would have impaled himself on my oarlock. As it was, he landed on the tube with a thud, broke a few ribs, put a hole in my boat, and slid unceremoniously into the water. Suddenly his party-hardy friends in the Hot Springs went dead silent. None of them had the presence of mind to come after him and it remained for someone from one of our boats to help him. Needless to say, he was banned from the river by the BLM for the rest of the season!
Enjoy these precious trails we have in Grand County and love that the Colorado River is so close. But treat both with respect. Mother Nature needs our love and our constant attention to preserve this beauty for the generations to come.