10 Grand things you can do during a global pandemic
As events cancel and gathering places close to the public, the Sky-Hi News has put together a list of local things to keep residents from going stir-crazy, while also trying to respect social distancing recommendations.
It may seem silly to begin social distancing before any cases have been confirmed in the county, but the practice doesn’t just protect individual health. Health officials say the importance of social distancing is to help lessen the risk to everyone, particularly those who are elderly or immunocompromised, as well as protect the health care system from becoming overwhelmed.
Businesses continue to monitor the situation and take preventative measures when possible, but it’s not always an option to just close up shop. While most businesses are still up and running, it’s best to call ahead to make sure.
As winter comes to an end, there are plenty of fishing opportunities in Grand County. There are many things that can be caught on Grand County’s waterways, but unlikely is that anyone will reel in the coronavirus.
Local guides report the reservoirs and lakes are producing great fishing and there’s no shortage of them with Lake Granby, Grand Lake, Wolford Reservoir and Green Mountain Reservoir south of Kremmling just to name a few Grand bodies of water where you can get away from the crowds.
People will want to make sure to check the ice before they go, but the rivers are starting to open up and fishing should remain excellent until the runoff hits. For inexperienced anglers, local outfitters like Fishing with Bernie, are here to help.
Owner Bernie Keefe reports that he and his guides are still running trips and getting the bites. For more, go to http://www.FishingWithBernie.com or call 970-531-2318.
Sledding made easy
Sledding and tubing in the county is another way to get out and enjoy yourself while avoiding the crowds. Businesses are trying to disinfect sleds and tubes as much as possible, but you can also bring your own wipes for an extra layer of precaution.
“We plan on being here unless they shut us down,” one tubing employee said.
Fraser’s Colorado Adventure Park is open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. For more, go to coloradoadventurepark.com. Next door at the Historic Fraser Tubing Hill, hours are the same. Go to frasertubinghill.com for more.
Hideaway Park in Winter Park has a free sledding hill and sleds are provided for free. Call 800-903-7275 for more.
The Grand Lake Nordic Center offers a free tubing hill with 10 tubes shared between guests and plans on staying open. For more, go to grandlakerecreation.com/nordiccenter/ or call 970-627-8008.
All the favorite Nordic skiing spots in Grand County remain open with groomed trails aplenty. Equipment rentals are regularly cleaned and the outdoor experience allows for a good measure of distance, making cross-country skiing or snowshoeing a great option for restless recreationalists.
The Grand Lake Nordic Center plans to stay open through March 31, though that is subject to the development of the coronavirus. It is open for their regular hours, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. Go to grandlakerecreation.com/nordiccenter/ or call 970-627-8008 for more.
The Snow Mountain Ranch Nordic Center in Granby had to call off last weekend’s Stampede, but everything else remains open for now. The ranch is open 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. For more, go to snowmountainranch.org/nordic-center/ or call 970-887-2152.
Take a hike
The (arguably) best type of solitary activity in Grand doesn’t take much effort at all. Most trails, especially popular ones, have enough snow pack for any hiker. The slush and occasional mud do warrant waterproof boots.
Adams Falls, one of the most popular hikes in Grand County, is navigable for the average hiker and provides some awesome views of the slowly defrosting Colorado River. Less traveled trails might be a bit more difficult without extra equipment and it’s best to keep to the center of the path to make sure you don’t sink knee-deep in the snow.
The slushy spring snow also makes for a slippery hike, so pay extra attention as you go. Easy ways to reduce falls include using walking sticks and crampons. Snowshoes are also a viable option and available to rent at businesses like Never Summer Mountain Products in Grand Lake.
Or a bike
Rent a fat bike to check out the Fraser Valley on two wheels instead of two feet.
Icebox Mountain Sports in Fraser offers fat bike rentals for four hours or a whole day depending on your energy level. Beavers Sports Shop in Winter Park also offers rentals.
YMCA Snow Mountain Ranch rents fat bikes and also offers trails on their property to use. Or check out the Fraser River Trail, the St. Louis Creek area in Fraser near the Experimental Forest and the Idlewild area in Winter Park behind Hideaway Park.
Escape the stress of the human world with some light bird watching. Lots of birds are migrating through Grand this spring. Beyond that, Grand County is a great mix of western ecosystems, drawing a variety of birds that you can spot from your own car.
Windy Gap Reservoir is a favorite for its wildlife viewing area, but locations around the county provide for all sorts of unique bird watching experiences. Coloradobirdingtrail.com is a great resource for beginning bird watchers, including free trail guides.
Rent a snowmobile
An easy way to put six feet between yourself and others is to hop on a rental snowmobile and make everybody eat your powder.
Spirit Lake Lodge and On the Trails in Grand Lake continue to have their fleets of snowmobiles available to rent in various time increments. Spirit Lake Lodge is not currently offering large guided group tours, but with access to downtown Grand Lake and the Arapaho National Forest, there’s plenty of exploring to be had.
Grand Adventures, located in Winter Park and Grand Lake, still has its guided tours of the Continental Divide, the Fraser Valley and Grand Lake available. Reservations can be made over the phone.
Look but don’t touch
Though Grand County’s museums are temporarily closed, there are still plenty of places to see beautiful works of art locally.
In Winter Park, art enthusiasts can hit up a one-stop-shop at Uptripping and FrameWerx, an art gallery, furniture store and framer. The gallery features an array of art from local artists to those featured in the Louvre.
For a more traditional mountain feel, check out Naked Aspen Designs in the Fraser Valley Shopping Center for custom furniture made from aspen trees.
Or, on the other end of the county, Grand Lake’s Studio 8369 has been named one of the best galleries in the county by Sky-Hi News readers for a few years running. The studio features everything from wilderness landscapes to wrought iron statues.
Get a head start on holiday shopping
Being stuck at home or indoors is a good chance to get ahead of all of the things that usually fall behind, including holiday shopping.
Many local businesses and restaurants offer gift cards or certificates that can be used at any time, like when the country isn’t in a state of emergency.
Or check out the local clothes options online at Mountain Peaks Boutique.
Browse the (virtual) library
Not feeling like leaving the house? That’s ok because Grand County Library District cards can transport you almost anywhere without having to get off the couch.
Local library cards offer access to hundreds of ebooks, audiobooks and e-editions of magazines and newspapers through the online resources. Even some movies can be downloaded through Kanopy.
Or use your newly-found free time to learn something new. Learn one of 28 languages on Rosetta Stone, choose from hundreds of online classes via Universal Class or find a new hobby with arts and crafts videos from Creativebug.
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Hot Sulphur Springs’ summer kicked off this weekend with all sorts of favorite traditions.