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Morning photo: Frost City!

The frozen fog of Dillon Reservoir

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Frost garden.

FRISCO —Right on schedule, winter kicked in with a vengeance in early December, bringing snow, and the first outbreak of sub-zero temps. For a few days each year, before the reservoir freezes over, this means there’s a magical time when the trees along the shoreline are coated with a thick layer of what is, essentially, frozen fog. As chilly as it is to operate camera controls, I always try to make one or two photographic forays around the Dam Road and the Dillon Marina area, where the frost always seems to be thickest. Here’s the first frosty set from this year. Visit our Fine Art America online gallery for more Summit County landscape and nature images. Continue reading

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Colorado: Reindeer lost, reindeer found

Tracking effort pays off, as police officers corral escaped critter

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Runaway no more … Photo courtesy Dillon Police Department.

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — Rudolf may be the most famous reindeer of all, but another one of Santa’s sled-pulling critters may become a local legend in Dillon after escaping from his corral during the town’s tree-lighting ceremony Thursday evening. Continue reading

Morning Photo: Lake Hill

A go-to spot

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Spring sunrise over Dillon Reservoir.

FRISCO — With all the magnificent, craggy peaks in Summit County, Lake Hill isn’t really all that big of a deal — a small, nondescript bump in the landscape between Frisco and Dillon, marking a local divide of sorts familiar to anyone making the daily commute around Summit County. But even if it’s not the biggest summit around, it does offer some impressive vistas of Dillon Reservoir and the surrounding ranges and, based on my photo archives, a great spot to watch cloud formations develop over the high terrain. I’ve had the pleasure of watching some amazing sunrises and sunsets from the overlook along the trail to Old Dillon Reservoir. It’s become a go-to spot for a quick jaunt when the light is looking promising. Here are a few of the best shots from that location the past few months, dating back to last spring.

We have a great selection of Summit County photos at our online FineArt America gallery. Continue reading

Morning photo: Misty …

A chilly morning!

Peak One through the morning mists on Dillon Reservoir.

FRISCO —I’ve been waiting for a while for one of those crisp mornings when the mists rise off the reservoir. A little later in the year, they will rise even higher, coating trees along the shore with thick frost. Today was chilly enough, at about 6 degrees when I got to Heaton Bay, and I fumbled a bit trying to work the camera controls with gloves on. The fog season only lasts a few weeks, because once the reservoir freezes over, well, that’s it for the year. The only distraction today was the loud noise of the snow guns at the Frisco tubing hill, which could be clearly heard all the way across the water. But hey, we have to sacrifice for dollars and recreation, right? And it’s only for a few more weeks … Continue reading

Colorado: Coroner suspects suicide in Dillon death

Elderly male found in condo parking lot late Friday night

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — The Summit County Coroners Office says its identified a 78-year-old male who died late Friday at the Summit Medical Center, but now believes that the death may have been a suicide, so identity has been released.

Local emergency officials responded to a 911 call at 10:50 p.m. reporting that an elderly male was found on the ground in the parking lot behind Unit 4 at Marina Place. Paramedids started lifesaving measures and transported him to Summit Medical Center where he was pronounced at 11:56 p.m.

At first, the coroners office was asking for help in identifying the man, not knowing whether he was a local or a visitor.

 

Morning photo: Evening on Tenderfoot Mountain

Summit vistas

Bright sun on the aspens, dark clouds over the Tenmile Range, less than a minute before the sun dropped behind Buffalo Mountain. iPhone shot.

SUMMIT COUNTY — A short jaunt to try and take pictures of the full moon rising a couple of nights ago ended up as a bit of a wild goose chase. For one, I was in the wrong spot, secondly, clouds obscured the lower horizon, and third, when the moon finally did pop up, my dog decided to chase the scent of some wild critter on Tenderfoot Mountain, so I had to find him a reign him in before continuing with the photo session. But the evening did yield a few nice Summit County overview panoramas, and I got to say hello to an old friend, a magnificent Douglas fir growing not far from the trail. My son, now 14, has been climbing this tree ever since he was five years old, and it’s always fun to visit this spot. Continue reading

Morning photo: Along the trail

A morning stroll

Looking for regrowth in a clearcut on Denver Water land.

SUMMIT COUNTY — I’ve been watching the clearcut near the start of the Tenderfoot Trail for the past couple of years to check if lodgepole are starting to grow back. Last year’s big snows brought a huge surge of growth in low groundcover; shrubs, grasses and wildflowers sprouting between thick clumps of slash. So far, there aren’t a whole lot of pine seedlings visible, probably because the slash was piled so thick, but there are a few pockets of young trees here and there. On the downhill side of the trail, one of the cut areas has an encouraging clump of young aspen trees. The sunny trail is also a good spot for early wildflowers. I was looking for lupines; it was still a bit early but I did find a few other blooms. All photos by iPhone. Continue reading

Summit County: Forest Service to sell Dillon compound

Agency taking comment on conveyance plan

Part of the USFS compound in Dillon, Colorado.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — After several years of discussion, the White River National Forest is moving ahead with a plan to try and sell the 11-acre Forest Service housing and work compound in Dillon. The sale would be authorized under a 2005 law that enables the Forest Service to sell, lease or exchange excess properties and keep the proceeds.

Officials with the town of Dillon and Summit County confirmed that they’ve talked with the Forest Service about the deal and expressed interest in buying the land. If the conveyance is successful, the agency may seek to replace the Dillon property with development of a new site along Dillon Dam Road, in the vicinity of Heaton Bay, as first reported in this July 2011 Summit Voice story. Continue reading

Breckenridge concludes 4th-wettest year on record

Snow and rain add up to 50 percent above average for the weather year

An autumn snowfall coats the mountains in Oct. 2011.

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — September ended with a slight precipitation deficit in Breckenridge, as local weather watcher Rick Bly recorded 1.15 inches of water compared to the long-term average 1.47 inches. But it was only the third month in the past year with below average snowfall, and the weather year ended with well above-normal totals.

For purposes of calculating annual snow and rainfall totals, the hydrological year starts Oct. 1 and ends Sept. 30, and you have to go back a long way — more than 100 years — to find a wetter year in Breckenridge.

For the 2010-2011 weather year, Bly measured 31.26 inches, the fourth-wettest year on record. The all-time wettest year on record was back 1892-1893, with 42.8 inches, followed by 1893-1894 (39.9 inches) and 1891-1892 (33-65 inches. Continue reading

Colorado: Dillon police officer dies in motorbike crash

Single-vehicle crash in Heeney claims life of Jim Schaffer

The Dillon Police Department will be mourning the loss of officer Jim Schaffer. PHOTO COURTESY TOWN OF DILLON.

SUMMIT COUNTY — Dillon police officer Jim Schaffer was killed Sunday (Aug. 28) in a motorcycle crash near Heeney, according to statement from the Summit County Sheriff’s Office.

According to the statement, Schaffer was traveling northboud on Heeney Road near milepost 8.5, where the pavement turns to gravel, when his breaks locked up. Schaffer’s bike skidded 77 feet and then struck a delineator post. He was ejected from the bike, which subsequently landed on top of him.

He was flown to St. Anthony’s Hospital in Lakewood and was pronounced dead at4:48 p.m..  He was not wearing a helmet and died from chest and head injuries. The Colorado State Patrol is investigating the crash and toxicology shows alcohol was not a factor.

The town of Dillon will be releasing information about a memorial at a later date.

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