places … The Midland Tunnels

By Ericka Kastner During Leadville’s bustling mining days of the late 1800s, the town of Buena Vista was served by three separate railroads and the standard-gauge Colorado Midland arrived last – in 1887. A steep, uphill buggy ride from Buena Vista gave passengers access to the Midland Depot, which was situated high above town and […]

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Places: Antonito, CO

By Ericka Kastner If you know me, you know New Mexico is my happy place. I realize that’s an unlikely lead for a column in Colorado Central Magazine. But my love of New Mexico means that I’m passing through southern central Colorado on a fairly regular basis; it also means that every time I head […]

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Places: Phantom Canyon Road

By Ericka Kastner Phantom Canyon Road lives up to its name; until very recently this route had been haunting me. It’s been several years since a friend told me about the road running from Penrose to Victor. Since then, County Road 67 has been filed in the notes section of my iPhone where I list […]

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Mountain Biking on Salida’s Trails

By Ericka Kastner Sometimes in life the places we travel to are geographic, an actual destination we can pinpoint on the globe. At other times though, the places we go exist only in our minds; they are mental attachments, places we wander to in times of great joy, or senseless fear. My relationship with mountain […]

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Places: Simmons Peak

Story and photo by Ericka Kastner As of the writing of this column, snow had not yet fallen in Central Colorado’s banana belt, making it pertinent to write about hiking places rather than snowy adventures for December. Should a descent of the white stuff begin to grace the San Luis Valley and accumulate by the […]

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Places: Desert Reef Hot Spring

Story and photos by Ericka Kastner Something tells me you haven’t heard of this one. Both Colorado visitors and residents alike know that one of the best things about this great state is its hot springs. It might be lesser known that a private, clothing optional, family-friendly soaking pool with unobstructed mountain views, Desert Reef […]

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Sheep’s Gulch Trail

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 […]

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Places: San Luis State Park and Wildlife Area

By Ericka Kastner I’ll admit it. I’m usually not much of a state parks gal. I tend to migrate toward wilderness areas, BLM  lands and National Forests. So when my friends asked me to join them on a warm July weekend last summer for a boat outing to the San Luis State Park and Wildlife […]

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Places: Turkey Rock

Story and photo by Ericka Kastner When I venture into the wilderness, I frequently experience a shift in my perspective on life, a fresh way of seeing things. My recent visit to Turkey Rock on the first day of spring offered the perfect metaphor for this experience.

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Places: Old Monarch Pass

Story and photos by Ericka Kastner As I write this, a full moon is rising and will shine overhead this evening. There’s no place I’d rather witness this orb of night than at the top of the Continental Divide.

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Places … Mayflower Gulch

By Ericka Kastner Some hikes are just worth repeating, and the trek to Mayflower Gulch in the Tenmile Range is absolutely an adventure to revisit time and again. In the summer, the basin is filled with wildflowers, and in the winter, Mayflower is a snowy wonderland for outdoor enthusiasts of all skill levels. Mayflower Gulch […]

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places – Boss Lake

by Ericka Kastner Situated at 10,880 feet in elevation and surrounded by stunning 12,000-foot peaks, Boss Lake is an idyllic spot to spend a day in any season of the year. Initially built as a reservoir to collect snowmelt and runoff back in the 1890s, the lake has naturally decreased in storage capacity by about […]

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Luthier Kurt Snyder – Kutthroat Stringworks

By Ericka Kastner Fire-singed Douglas fir deadwood, collected at the base of Mount Shavano, makes up the soundboard of the steel-stringed baritone ukulele crafted by luthier Kurt Snyder. For every instrument that he makes, Kurt’s intention is to reflect the beauty and grace of the Rocky Mountains, both in styling and in sound. Seven years […]

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