Places: Cottonwood Creek

By Ericka Kastner I’m pretty sure I’m going to regret telling you about this trail. It’s long been one of my favorites – this is the spot where I go when I need a day knee-deep in wilderness. This is the trail that I keep quiet about, only inviting certain people along to experience the […]

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Places: Music Pass

Story and photo by Ericka Kastner Some of the best places in Central Colorado become even better in the stillness of winter. Cold temperatures and deep snow often mean fewer people, ice sculpted over creeks varying in appearance daily, and trees cloaked in frost creating the illusion of a magical wonderland. At 11,446 feet in […]

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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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Places: Russell Lakes State Wildlife Area

Story and photos by Mike Rosso Anyone who’s made the drive along US Hwy. 285 between Monte Vista and Saguache has passed right by it. Russell Lakes State Wildlife Area is easy to miss at 65 mph, but those who take the time to divert their travels or plan a specific outing will be rewarded.

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Places: The Mirage/Cotton Creek Cemeteries

In the northern San Luis Valley, southeast of Villa Grove, are two remote and obscure cemeteries: the Cotton Creek and the Mirage. At one time, the area was home to a small settlement of Hispanics who worked at the nearby Orient Mine and also raised sheep. The Cotton Creek Cemetery is where many of them […]

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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 … 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 – The Golden Towers

by Mike Rosso About five miles outside Salida is an unusual rock formation nicknamed “The Golden Towers” or “The Golden Spires.” The composition of the hill containing the bowl in which the Golden Towers sit, and much of the side slopes of the bowl is mostly Volcanic Welded Tuff, broken into small- to medium-sized rocks […]

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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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The Fairview Lookout

by Ericka Kastner 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 […]

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Places – The Turner Farm

by Ericka Kastner History buffs and Central Colorado day-trippers need to look no further than Buena Vista’s Turner Farm and Apple Orchard for the perfect way to spend an afternoon. In addition to the 50 apple trees and substantial vegetable and flower gardens on the property, there is also a two-story 1910 farmhouse, a mother-in-law […]

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Places: Aspen Ridge

by Ericka Kastner Aspen Ridge is highly regarded by Colorado leaf-peepers touring on four wheels in the fall, but fewer people consider the area’s beauty and recreational merits for two-wheeled outdoor enthusiasts in the spring and summer. The nearly 40 miles of double track spanning from Salida to just east of Johnson Village on Trout […]

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Places – Indian Head Rock

by Mike Rosso Along the Quartz Creek Valley, between Parlin and Ohio City in Gunnison County, just off County Road  76, is a large rock formation that resembles a Native American profile. Members of the Ute Tribe were thought to be the first to travel along Quartz Creek, eventually followed by ranchers, miners, and then […]

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