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Outdoors

  • The Echo of little ski boots at Clear Creek venue

    If you drop by the newly renovated lodge at Echo Mountain on Wednesday evenings, you might see a spirited passel of kids cruising down the mountain with shiny helmets reflecting the bright spotlights lining the slope.  
    Inside a sparkling, newly renovated lodge, their parents enjoy the inviting fireplace, “really, really good burgers,” and perhaps a frosty beer.

  • Rick, Rascal or Roni: which is the real raccoon?

    Many kids are introduced to raccoons through the popular magazine, “Ranger Rick.” This cartoon park ranger encounters and then solves environmental challenges with the aid of his friends. Through reading about Rick’s quests to defend wildlife and nature, kids are encouraged to also take part in the protection of their natural world.

  • Snow and bikes can be a good combination

    Are they adventure-seeking skiers in pursuit of more outdoor choices for their favorite season? Maybe they are impatient mountain bikers who yearn to be in the saddle, irked that biking season is months away.
    Perhaps these people simply revel in new experiences, welcome a change of pace or just will find any reason to be outside.

  • Technology help for the outdoors

    Surrounded by rugged peaks, wildflower meadows and trout-laden rivers, people living in Colorado revel in the breathtaking — sometimes quite literally — vistas and accompanying recreational choices. Even so, adversity may arise in the high country. Getting lost or injured in remote areas, dodging wildlife on highways or having animal encounters, possibly dangerous, are not uncommon.

  • Hibernate, migrate or circulate?

    Wildlife has evolved astonishing tactics to cope with extreme weather. Like retired New Jersey snowbirds descending to West Palm Beach in the fall, hummingbirds spurn winter, turning their iridescent feathered backs on Colorado and heading south to friendlier habitat.
    Bears vanish into dens to hibernate, slowing their metabolism enough to survive the winter without eating or drinking.

  • To tree or not to tree

    While hiking near Edwards last week, my friend and I spotted a curious pattern of a broad object that seemed to have swept down the snowy path not long before we arrived.
    As we reflected on the beauty of our frosty surroundings, the thickets of evergreen trees with diverse shapes and sizes reminded us that ‘tis the season for folks to head for the woods with a saw and, permit in hand, choose the perfect tree to drag along the path (in this case, for a painfully long distance), and tie to the roof of the car for the trip home.

  • Highway overpasses successful at curbing wildlife/vehicle collisions

    The sun was warm as we gathered on Vail Pass last July. Paige Singer, a biologist for Rocky Mountain Wild, and Lisi Lohre, Citizen Science intern for the Denver Zoo, handed out hardhats and bright orange vests to the three volunteers before we piled into an SUV. We drove to a spot between Copper Mountain and Vail Pass, and parked on the shoulder along westbound Interstate 70, near where a number of motion-triggered cameras had been placed in the spring.

  • Be wary of animals in high-traffic areas

    Sunday marked the end of daylight saving time, and with the shifting hours of our daily routines, wildlife can be caught off guard. Bewilderingly, the human world around them has been altered overnight. The result of this confusion is often car accidents.

  • Underestimated, unloved creature is a popular Halloween icon

    Children fear them above all else. Over half of women and one in 10 men have varying degrees of aversion to them. One to three million of them are present per acre of land, and no human is more than 10 feet away from this creature at any time.

    Being portrayed as scheming, cunning beasts with bloodlust, such as Lord of the Rings’ Shelob or Harry Potter’s Aragog, it’s no surprise that spiders are so maligned and feared.

  • Bearing respect for binging bruins

    The drying leaves rattle in the breeze, a morning chill freshens the air, and, in the distance, the shrill echo of a majestic bull elk signals that fall has arrived. On a mountain path, there are well-placed mounds of scat, laden with seeds, indicating that a bear stood in that very spot not so long ago.