Janet Day: Still wondering about the Seven Wonders of Grand County
Talk of the Valley
Opinion Outage. Most of the people I know who live in this area have strong opinions and no fear of sharing them. So, I was a little surprised by the limited response to my request two weeks ago for readers’ thoughts on what we should designate as the Seven Wonders of Grand County. I didn’t hear from enough of you to legitimately create a full list, although the Moffat Tunnel/Corona Pass Road combination of railroad engineering feats seems to have taken the top spot.
That doesn’t mean the exercise was without merit.
A few people came up with some man-made wonders that I hadn’t considered, including the Grand Lake Cemetery, Pole Creek Golf Course (for the view), the Grand Ditch in Rocky Mountain National Park and the mountain bike trails through the Fraser Experimental Forest.
There also were the predictable natural wonders that we all know and should never take for granted ” any one of the snow-capped peaks we can see, the Colorado River, moose.
Most interesting to me were the responses worried about our wonders that fall into the “going … going … .gone” category ” natural and even man-made treasures that you see as threatened, primarily from growth or development:
Idlewild Ski Area ” going.
Sufficient water in the Fraser River ” going.
Byers Peak Ranch ” maybe going.
Affordable lift tickets and season passes — going or, to some, gone.
Maryvale Meadow ” gone.
Nature herself has added to your lists of vanishing wonders:
Thick, green old pine forests ” pretty much gone.
Day hikes to Byers, Nystrom and St. Louis peaks ” all but gone.
And if we don’t get something more than what Winter Park Resort’s Gary DeFrange likes to call “just-in-time snowfalls,” we may have to add “decent early-season conditions” to that list.
They’re Back. Now that snow sports season is upon us, the seasonal employees have returned to take the generally low-paying jobs that make up the underlying super-structure of this and any resort community. They’re usually young, live six to a condo, drink cheap beer and eat a lot of mac and cheese just for the opportunity to ski and ride to their heart’s content. They do it all with goofy smiles on their faces and a sincere “it’s a great day” comment when the conditions seem more like a blizzard.
Many of them show up in this still rather remote valley without a vehicle. That means, despite the offerings of The Lift shuttle service, more people are walking along the roads ” our roads with minimal shoulders, few sidewalks and even less lighting. So, drive carefully, pay attention and please don’t hit the workers we so desperately need.
Speaking of transportation, the parking changes at the resort are going to take some getting used to. There’s nothing close-in until the new parking garage opens in a few more weeks. Our best bets from town and down-valley are to take the shuttle or park in the North Bench lot and walk across the pedestrian bridge to the base area.
Paving of the walkway means none of the ankle-deep mud we slogged through in the Spring.
Scholarship Awarded. The Uprights make good music and do good deeds. What more could we ask for from a group of local musicians? They recently awarded a $350 scholarship to Davis Lovato, a Fraser Elementary School student who is studying piano with Ella Knight, one of the Upright musicians. Davis is the fourth winner of the group’s scholarship. The Uprights offer live piano performances every Friday and Saturday night, from 6 until 9 pm, at Gasthaus Eichler in Winter Park. The restaurant opens for the winter season today. Stop by on weekends to hear the Uprights, or any time to enjoy the hearty food and hospitality of Rene and Joan Weder.
Getting Crafty. Beat the Christmas shopping rush by getting it done this weekend. Stock up on jewelry and other fun gifts at the Ninth Annual Holiday Artisan Fair to be held Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Fraser Elementary School.
Get the next generation of crafters started at the Children’s Craft Corner. Kids will get to explore their artsy side while making Christmas gifts in the school’s multi-purpose room for a $5 an hour fee. Children can create; parent’s can shop. What’s not to like? Santa will be wandering around between 11:30am and 1pm just in case anyone’s not yet in a holiday mood.
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.
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