Rau: Here’s to more sunny days
Grand County Trails
Finally spring has arrived, with occasional return to winter. There has been way too much rain for most of us, and we are yearning for the sunny days we normally have.
The snow will come again in spurts but hopefully last only the day and the warm sun will make short work of it. Time to get the garden going, but don’t forget to protect those tender young plants until they can survive the cooler and even cold nights as well as the midday fierce sun. Thanks to nature’s bounty, water is everywhere, even where it isn’t supposed to be.
Be careful on the soft trails. We are so anxious to get out on those great single tracks but the single tracks are not ready for us in many places. Bike tire tracks and footprints made in wet, soft dirt will last as ruts all summer. Please try to wait until the trails dry out before using them. Call ahead for trail closures.
U.S. Forest Service and Rocky Mountain National Park warn that few trails are really dried out enough for use. Visitor information for the Forest Service says the Monarch Lake area is open as well as part way up Cascade Creek, but be prepared with appropriate footwear and gaiters or rain pants for the wet and muddy spots you will encounter. Also keep an eye out for falling trees when the ground is saturated.
The Colorado River Trail is also open along the AA Barn but be respectful of events scheduled at the Barn. The Park advises that Coyote Valley and Holzwarth area are in good condition with no snow and the East Inlet Trail is clear of snow to just below Lone Pine Lake, about 4.5 miles. East Shore Trail is muddy with some standing water. Other areas are patchy snow almost from the trailhead. Contact the Forest Service in Granby at 970-887-4100.RMNP has a backcountry information office at the Kawuneeche Visitor Center 970-586-1521.
Adopt-a-Trail is now headed by Headwaters Trails Alliance and is the best friend of our county trails system. Started many years ago by Fraser Valley Partnership for Trails, this program is also associated with the Forest Service. Grant writing by HTA has helped fund summer people to head this ever-expanding program because the concept is so beneficial and really works. People taking care of a specific trail are also cognizant of the need to take care of all our trails.
Welcome back Erica Bean who has been a county resident for several years and has had the opportunity to work with the Forest Service and Colorado Parks and Wildlife, and volunteered with Rocky Mountain National Park and as a wildland firefighter. Her assistant in the field this year is Greg Woolley, another Fraser Valley resident with a degree in environmental sciences and biology, group leadership experience in coaching several sports and has just finished the IMBA trail building school in Buena Vista. Lots of experience shows between them to help with our trails.
We have many local individuals, families and businesses that have already adopted their favorite trail or trails. There are many more trails that need attention. Please consider adopting your favorite trail by contacting Erica Bean, HTA Adopt-A-Trail Coordinator at GCadoptatrail@gmail.com or Meara Michel at HTA 970-726-1013. For those who can help out occasionally, Erica plans to again organize HTA work days on specific projects. Please check here for when those work days will happen, look for the Trail of the Week column in this newspaper, or go to Headwaterstrails.org.
Saturday, May 30, the Wilderness Group and Forest Service present a day of Wilderness Stewardship Trainings at the St. Louis Creek Campground on County Road 73 west of Fraser. From 9 a.m. until noon, four classes are featured – Crosscut Saw Class, Trail/Lake Hosting, Radio Class, and Weed Identification. For more information, call the Forest Service at 887-4100 or contact Bob Saint at firstname.lastname@example.org
All this water means spring flowers but we need sun to really get them going. Grand County naturalist Patricia Berman and I spotted several of the early flowers just walking on the county road near my home on Red Dirt Hill. Purple Pasque flowers, blue Lanceleaf Chiming Bells, and the ever-present phlox welcomed the sun this week. Searching a bit harder we found Nelson larkspur, prairie smoke (beautiful with tiny yellow flowers under its green leaves), and purple fringe starting to show blooms.
Pray for sunshine so we can enjoy the outdoors in this picturesque Grand County with the snow still in the mountains and lush green in the valleys. But be aware that Mother Nature can be fickle and be prepared in the backcountry. Carry extra clothing, food and water, and always tell someone where you are going.
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