In the darkening dusk, my husband said quietly: “Your little friend is back.” I snuck to the window to see one of the local gray foxes heading for the spilled seed under our bird feeders. Such a wary, gorgeous, dainty little predator!
October often brings increased sightings of foxes: The young have matured and are beginning to disperse to find new territories. Central Colorado hosts two species of fox. Red foxes tend to inhabit the moister riparian areas of creeks and the Arkansas River, while gray foxes prefer the drier, brushy areas in canyons and foothills. Swift foxes resemble gray foxes, but as short- and mid-grass-prairie inhabitants, they keep to the eastern plains in our state. The red fox holds the honor of the most widely distributed carnivore in the world, in large part due to its ability to thrive in many habitats. Although several color phases exist – e.g., black, silver, cross – a red fox most commonly has a reddish back and a white belly; black nose, backs of the ears, legs, and feet; and a bushy tail distinctively tipped with white. Whatever the color morph, you can clinch an ID of a red fox by checking for that white tail tip. No other species that might look like a red fox has that feature.Read more
Lovers of four-wheeling, hikes above treeline and ridiculous views of the Continental Divide should put this adventure on their to-do list.
The highest fire tower in North America sits on Fairview Peak at 13,214 feet in elevation, just north of the town of Pitkin. This one-room stone hut, constructed in 1912 (just seven years after the establishment of the Gunnison National Forest), holds the record for being the highest lookout by nearly 1,000 feet. Retired fireman, fire tower researcher and author Ray Kresek has speculated the Fairview Fire Tower may be the highest in the world. Read more
Last spring, when coach Jack Swartz asked my son Harrison if he’d like to be on the middle school cross-country team this season, I really had no idea where it would lead.
Harrison answered “yes” by nodding his head enthusiastically. He’d had finished a few 5K runs and also had proven himself an accomplished long-distance hiker and cyclist, so it made sense. However, my mind embarked on an internal dialog – autistic kids tend to be a tad altruistic, and while cross-country is an individual sport, it is also a team sport. In the final analysis, I decided not to worry about it. The season was, after all, a full summer away.
But summers have a way of going by too fast. I thought over the months that while I’m not the type of parent to push his kid into a sport, I was actually thrilled he wanted to run cross-country. Before I’d had much of a chance to really think about all the extra work this would entail, the first week of practice was upon us, starting a few days before the academic year began. Summer came to a real, abrupt end with a 7 a.m. Monday morning practice.
I knew this was going to be difficult for Harrison, and probably even more difficult for me, so I tried to make a fun outing out of it by “camping” out in the living room. We set out the running clothes and shoes so they’d be ready to jump into when the alarm went off. Read more