Talk of the Valley |

Talk of the Valley

Flower Power: How can the year be half over already? Much as I don’t want to believe it, the calendar indeed says it’s July. At least it’s one of the best months in the Valley. Fireworks burst, festivals abound and something fun to do can be found just about every day.

But I also love the quieter things about July, especially the concentration of brightly blooming flowers. Fields and woodlands around boast thick displays of purple lupine, pink penstemon, white paintbrush and tall yellow flowers with names I’ve forgotten. Columbine and Arnica are starting to add to the palette.

And wild rose buds are opening, meaning it’s time to make a batch of rose bath salts. If you have wild roses growing on your property, pick a handful of pink petals and a few buds. Put them in a jar full of coarse salt crystals. Seal tightly and let it sit until the salt dries out the petals. You’ll end up with pretty and fragrant salts to soothe aching muscles after a long hike or bike ride. Please don’t denude your neighbor’s flowers and be careful not to use roses near pines that have been sprayed for bark beetles.

If the valley flowers are just starting to peak, those at higher elevations should be stunning in a couple weeks. St. Louis Lake is one of best places I’ve ever been for alpine wildflower viewing and photographing. I missed last weekend’s opening of the original trailhead, but I’ll be heading up there July 14, the next date the U.S. Forest Service lets hikers drive to the original trailhead for the lake and St. Louis peak treks. They’ll open it again on Aug. 16. It gets crowded on those days, but I kind of like the party atmosphere and seeing friends.

Unfortunately for those of us who love the climb up Byers Peak, but not the walk to the new trailhead, the Forest Service won’t be opening the original trailhead this year.

Bear Wear and Tear: The bears are back, or at least one big noisy bear in Winter Park Ranch has returned. He’s shuffling his way from home to home in the wee hours of the morning, looking for open trash cans or unsecured dumpsters as he works his way down the hill toward the Fraser River. Remember to keep containers secure and please tell tourists to do the same.

Road Rage: Speaking of tourists, they seem to be more confused and, sometimes, angrier than usual now that road signs around the area show only the County Road number and not the name. So, please, management companies and those of you who rent your properties, re-work your maps and driving directions so that they reflect the changes in signs. Visitors driving in circles looking for a named road instead of a numbered road will remember that frustration and may not return or encourage others to visit.

Buying Books: With all that’s going on this weekend from road races to fireworks, don’t forget the Friends of the Grand County Library annual used book sale on Saturday. Stop by the Granby library from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. to pick up new reading material. Proceeds benefit the entire library district.

River Rescue: Join the Colorado Headwaters chapter of Trout Unlimited for their annual banquet and help support efforts to save the Fraser River from more devastating diversions. The event, July 19 at Devil’s Thumb Ranch, includes a three-course meal, dessert and coffee as well as a silent auction and live auction. For more information or to purchase tickets, contact

Keep in Touch: What’s got your attention around the area? Let me know. I’ll try to find the answer or spread the news. Send it all to Follow me and local tidbits at or friend me on Facebook.