About these ads

Travel: Exploring Mesa Verde

Kim Fenske tours Colorado’s only world heritage site

Long Dwelling, Mesa Verde National Park.

Long Dwelling, Mesa Verde National Park.

Story and photos by Kim Fenske

Arriving at the Mesa Verde National Park Visitor and Research Center ten miles east of Cortez in early evening, I worked with a ranger at the tour desk to build an itinerary at Colorado’s only World Heritage site. Despite the ranger’s doubts that I could meet the necessary schedule, I purchased tickets for the three possible tours at a cost less than a camping fee at developed campgrounds. The tours of both Wetherill Mesa in the southwest corner of the park, and Chapin Mesa in the southeast portion of the park, involved driving nearly a hundred miles during the day.

After paying the entry fee, I drove a few miles south to Morefield Campground and registered for two nights of camping at the campground store, open from mid-May through mid-October. The complex offers showers, laundry, internet, fuel, and basic camping supplies, more services than typical of my usual backcountry or primitive camping on national forest lands. After purchasing ice to defend against the ninety-degree heat of the day, I found a tent site conveniently located a short distance from the amenities. My primary criticism of the facilities is that new investment is overdue to update showers and restrooms in the campground. Continue reading

About these ads

Morning photo: Sunday set

Got pano?

;lj

I had to underexpose the foreground to try and capture some of the detail and color in the clouds, which collapsed almost completely a few minutes after this shot.

FRISCO — Since I don’t have a super wide-angle lens, I sometimes use my iPhone to try and capture the broad sweep of our Rocky Mountain landscapes. It’s not ideal, because you have to be darn sure you maintain a level camera while scanning across the scene, but sometimes it’s worth it. Other times, you can take a slice of a landscape shot by cropping horizontally, like the first shot in this set, but your eyes will almost instinctively know that it’s not a true panorama, but just an edit of a “normal” image. Either way, it’s fun to play around with this format. Continue reading

Morning Photo: San Juan wildflowers

The alpine tundra comes alive!

Colorado wildflowers

Wildflowers flourishing in the alpine tundra near Red Mountain Pass.

FRISCO — A short midweek roadtrip to the San Juans as part of the Rocky Mountain Climate Ranger reporting project yielded some fine images from Colorado’s rugged southwestern mountains — along with in-depth information about how global warming is affecting the Rocky Mountains. Shooting with three different cameras (the top image is an iPhone shot) may seem like a hassle (and it can be at times), but it enabled me to get a good variety of perspectives. The next couple of images were taken with an older Canon and a zoom lens that helped compress the vast fields of flowers, intensifying the color and adding some interesting depth-of-field effects. Continue reading

Morning photo: Monsoon season!

Misty mountains

fdgh

Early morning cloudscape pano near Frisco, Colorado.

FRISCO — For a few weeks every summer, Colorado’s weather pattern experiences a seasonal shift that gives us a taste of the tropics. As big high pressure areas move around, moisture often streams into our mountains from the south, keeping the air moist and temperatures relatively warm at night, since the clouds, or even just the moist air, act as a blanket and prevent the day’s warmth from radiating back into space at night. It may be hard to believe, given how much snow we get in the middle of winter, but our monsoon season is actually the wettest time of year in Colorado. And, of course, it’s one of the best times to snap pictures of dramatic cloudscapes. Continue reading

Travel: Scouting Colorado’s San Juans

Adventurer Kim Fenske is back on the road, exploring the San Juans

Grand Mesa Colorado sunset

Sunset from Grand Mesa.

Story and photos by Kim Fenske

Among the rugged southwestern mountains of Colorado lie three Fourteeners: El Diente, 14,159 feet; Mount Wilson, 14,246 feet; and Wilson Peak, 14,017 feet. Since I had never visited this section of Colorado, I prepared a trip into the area with a plan to hike to Navajo Lake at the base of these three magnificent peaks. The three peaks are situated near Telluride in the Lizard Head Wilderness Area of the San Juan Mountains.

The drive from Copper Mountain is about three hundred miles, so I decided to break up the trip by heading west toward Grand Junction, then turning south to camp on the Grand Mesa.  Several campgrounds lie among the small lakes trapped in the highlands of Grand Mesa National Forest on State Highway 65 north of Delta. Continue reading

Morning photo: Sunday Insta-set

Rocky Mountain high …

FRISCO — Magical, mystical skies over the Rocky Mountains this summer, including this pre-thunderstorm scene along Mt. Evans Road.

A hazy sunset through the trees along the Tenderfoot Trail in Dillon , Colorado.

Asian garden poppy, waiting to bloom.

Eyecandy at sunrise near Shrine Pass, Colorado.

Fireweed blooming along the Tenderfoot Trail, Dillon, Colorado.

Morning photo: Cloudplay

An early one …

Layers ... captured with iPhone HDR imaging.

Layers … captured with iPhone HDR imaging.

FRISCO — I’d describe this morning’s sky as surreal except that I’ve seen similar displays almost every month of the year here in the Colorado high country. I know that its very real, and today, with clouds roiling and frothing over the ridgelines of the various ranges, you could feel the atmosphere literally writhe with monsoon moisture, more liquid than air. Check out our online gallery, support independent journalism by purchasing a print or some greeting cards! Continue reading

Major Colorado River players announce conservation push

Near critical shortages in California prompt action

sdfg

Heading downstream … bberwyn photo.

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — With Colorado River water supplies disappearing at a dizzying rate, and with a thirsty — and politically mighty — California parched by drought, the biggest water users at the table said this week they’ll invest $11 million to try and conserve significant amounts of water across all sectors, including including agricultural, municipal and industrial uses.

The Central Arizona Project, Denver Water, The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and Southern Nevada Water Authority all signed on to what is being presented as a landmark water conservation agreement aimed at demonstrating “the viability of cooperative, voluntary compensated measures,” according to a press release from Denver Water. Continue reading

Colorado: Mule deer summit set for Aug. 9

Colorado mule deer.

Colorado mule deer. bberwyn photo.

State biologists to unveil plan aimed at bolstering deer herds

Staff Report

FRISCO — After studying the decline of Colorado mule deer populations for the past few years, state wildlife biologists are ready to unveil a new strategy aimed at stabilizing an bolstering deer numbers. Western Slope residents will be able to get an early look at the plan during the upcoming Aug. 9 mule deer summit in Glenwood Springs.

The event is free and open to the public. CPW and The Keystone Center invite public review and comments on the West Slope Mule Deer Strategy draft as it serves as a guide to future CPW efforts to increase mule deer populations in Western Colorado.
Continue reading

Climate Ranger project: We did it — thanks, everyone!

Check our stretch goals

h

Rocky Mountains, here we come!

By Bob Berwyn

Thanks to the Beacon team, smart readers and generous souls, we’ve reached our $5,000 funding goal and we’re starting to plan the first leg of the Rocky Mountain Climate Ranger journey, high into the alpine zone of the Rockies, where melting mountain permafrost is worsening pollution in mountain streams. We’ll post our first story within a week. If you supported the project by pledging toward a subscription, you will receive your login from the Beacon team as soon as this project closes. For now, there’s still time to scoot on over to the project page and get your subscription. We’ll continue to post material from the project here on Summit Voice, but the Beacon news feed will be the freshest!

You can follow the treks on Twitter at a #climaterangers hashtag, and we’ll use a Beacon forum, as well as a Facebook page, as places where you can post questions for us and for all the people we’ll be interviewing along the way. You see, this project isn’t just crowdfunded, we’re hoping to partially crowdsource our stories, and you will be a big part of that!

Meanwhile, our funding period is open for another 36 hours, so we’re aiming for a stretch goal of $1,500 to help us upgrade our video equipment and plan a longer trip segment heading north, to find the biggest remaining glacier in the Rocky Mountains — does anyone know where it is?

So for fun:

Videography Sponsor level - For $750 you can sponsor all the trip videos. You’ll help us upgrade our video capabilities, and you’ll be fostering important life skills in a teenager who already shows talent and interest in environmental journalism.

Glacier-hunting Sponsor level – For $750 you can support our trip to find the biggest remaining glacier in the Rocky Mountains. We’re curious as to where that is?

The Whole Enchilada Sponsor level – For $1,000 you get all the above, plus a free weekend of lodging in a luxury condo at Copper Mountain during the post-trip dinner event in Dillon Colorado.

All higher-level sponsors ($100 or more) are invited to the Harvest Dinner event, featuring local, sustainable food, and presentation from the trip. You’re also eligible to choose a high-quality, large-format fine art print from our online galleries.

Please continue to share this link – http://www.beaconreader.com/projects/rocky-mountain-climate-rangers – for another day or so. Extra funding will enable us to expand the scope and quality of our reporting.

Thanks again, Bob and Beacon

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 7,360 other followers