In the October issue of
Colorado Central Magazine

Dave LaVercombe offers his take on the rising cost of housing in Salida. Read more about the challenges of affordable housing in our October print edition.
Dave LaVercombe offers his take on the rising cost of housing in Salida. Read more about the challenges of affordable housing in our October print edition. 

Sheep’s Gulch Trail

Photo by Ericka Kastner
Photo by Ericka Kastner

Some might call it “the trail that gets forgotten.” Most wilderness lovers traveling down County Road 390 near Granite are likely headed towards one of the many 14,000-foot peaks in the area. They’ve possibly never heard of Sheep’s Gulch Trail.

At least I hadn’t until yesterday, literally. A friend and I were on a quest for a gorgeous fall hike that would be rich with color and take us above tree line. He suggested Sheep’s Gulch and I was immediately intrigued, as I love discovering new trails.

Sheep’s Gulch trailhead is on the north side of CR 390, about 8.9 miles from its intersection with U.S. Highway 24. Even the two-wheel-drive accessible route to the trailhead is spectacular, and worth the drive alone, as it includes stunning views of Clear Creek Reservoir, historic cabin sightings along the way (check out Dawson Cabin about 5.8 miles along the road or the Vicksburg Museum at mile 7.2) and glorious valley vistas in the distance. Read more


Salida’s Housing Crunch: A Firsthand Look

It can’t really be that hard to find a place to house your family, right? Not even in a little mountain town that has in recent years become a veritable Mecca for mountain biking, river sporting, alternatively medicating, retiring and any number of other activities folks come here for. Even amid this influx, one can always cover the basics like housing, right?

I can say from personal experience what the recently published housing needs assessment reports in numbers: families have it hard here, and many are being forced to move away.

Beginning in January, 2015, I spent well over a year proactively scouring the housing market in Salida – both the rental and the sale markets – for a way to house myself and my sons. Having lived in our beloved S-Town for over five years, we’d already thrown down roots. Good, deep roots. We didn’t want to leave. But who knew simply staying put would prove so tooth-and-nail difficult? 

It took only a couple of months to learn that renting was not an option for us. It’s taboo to admit it, but by and large, landlords discriminate against families. It’s not legal, but it happens. “You have how many sons? … Oh, no. My place is not for you.” I repeated this conversation several times before realizing I simply couldn’t rent a house in this town for less than about $1,500 per month. Read more


The Art and Science of Showing Up

img_0228-3I wrote in my book, Full Tilt Boogie, that for sure no burro gets up in the morning and thinks, “Dang, I think I’ll run up a 13,000-foot mountain pass today.” And likewise, no autistic kid gets up in the morning and thinks, “I think I’ll conform to societal norms today.”

I go on to explain that the real key to success with either burros or autistic children is extreme patience and allowing them to find their own way.

This past summer I entered the pack-burro racing season with a 7-year-old jack named Teddy that I’d literally liberated less than a year ago from a small corral in the middle of a San Luis Valley junk yard. Colorado’s pack-burro races are 9-29 miles in length, at high altitude, and since no riding is allowed, we run, jog and power-hike the entire distance alongside our animals, which are loaded with 33 pounds of gear. Despite my relative lack of natural ability, over the years I’ve been fortunate to have had some great success at this sport, including seven world championships, mostly by consistently showing up. Read more