Janet Day: Hiking, Grand County’s newest full contact sport | SkyHiNews.com

Janet Day: Hiking, Grand County’s newest full contact sport

Janet Day / Talk of the Valley
Fraser Valley, CO Colorado

Look Out Below! Hiking around here has become a full-contact sport: crawling under fallen trees, climbing over fallen trees and scrambling around fallen trees. Not to mention wondering which way to run what that horrid cracking sound indicates another dead tree may be on its way down.

A few hours spent wandering along the Spruce Creek, Tipperary and Dead Horse trails left me scratched and bruised from picking through tree carcasses blocking the trail in spots. Crews try to keep up – newly cleared areas can be found along many trails – but trees will continue to fall, probably for the next 10 to 15 years, according to the Forest Service website.

What had been an eyesore has now become a danger. The Forest Service website now includes red-letter warnings about the threat of falling trees and offers “Watch Out” safety guidelines for beetle-kill areas. Recommendations include avoiding dense patches of dead trees, staying out of the forest during strong winds or, if already in the forest, heading to a clearing until the wind subsides. Other recommendations include making sure tents are put up in areas where they won’t be hit by a falling tree and parking vehicles on main roads instead of narrow spurs.

The answer to the dead tree problem in many areas has been simply to clear cut. One such area is the St. Louis Creek Campground, which has been turned into a hot, dry, barren stretch of stumps and slash. What had been a popular campground with semi-private tree-shaded campsites now is an exposed series of sun-baked picnic tables seemingly little used. Let’s hope those aspen grow tall and fast to fill in the area and make it attractive again.

Speaking of trails, that was some great fast restoration work on the flooded part of the unpaved Fraser River Trail. One or two little eroded spots still exist, but long stretches of the trail are in better shape than they were before the river washed them out. To the workers who filled, graded and shored-up the trail: Thanks!

Arts Ahoy! July has become arts month in the Fraser Valley. There are the music festivals, of course, but I’m talking about the visual arts from painting to pottery.

Art Out of Thin Air again fills the Pole Creek Golf Course clubhouse with work by local artists for the entire month of July. The group hosts an opening reception at Bistro 28 on July 1 from 6 until 8 p.m. There will be plenty of art to admire or buy as well as appetizers and a cash bar. This event was a ton of fun last year.

The Winter Park Resort Village hosts the Grand Art, Cheese and Wine Festival on July 10 to promote local artists. This, too, was a fun event last year showcasing the county’s artists.

And the annual Alpine ArtAffair again fills Winter Park with arts and crafts the same weekend as JazzFest, July 24-25. Look for nearly 100 artists in the wooded area between the Post Office and King’s Crossing. The removal of hundreds of beetle-kill trees really opened up the area.

Mooing Mascot: Who remembers the calf delivered by Billy Crystal’s character in the movie “City Slickers?” He named it Norman and took it home to New York where it rode around in a mini-van. A new Norman, looking adorably similar to the calf in the movie, has become the unofficial mascot of Devil’s Thumb Ranch and even made his way into wedding photos recently. Check the ranch’s Facebook page for images of the cute little critter.

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 JDayQuilts@msn.com. Follow me and local tidbits at http://www.twitter.com/DayJan or friend me on Facebook.

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