The Rockies

My Homage To The Rocky Mountains In A Time Of Hope

Going North To South In An East-West Land

April 11, 2009 in The Rockies | Comments (0)

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In the new year before our inauguration of a new president I computed a route home from Alberta to southern Colorado that would skirt the cities and track the Rockies. I dragged the blue Googley lines along old roads to old places, cross-cutting the Can-Am grain. When it was done and printed out I had 2491 miles to go in 12 days, with stops to ski and see friends. (more…)

The Village At Wolf Creek: Salesmanship Trumps Meteorology

About that snow removal complexity. . .

December 13, 2006 in The Rockies | Comments (0)


What falls on Wolf Creek Ski Area falls on Alberta Park. The Texans who dreamed up The Village at Wolf Creek don’t seem to understand that. Their urban-density land development at 10,300 feet elevation will get 40 to 50 feet of snow a year. The Forest Service environmental impact statement acknowledges “snow removal complexity” as one of the access problems. (more…)

A Besieged Government Agency Goes “Wild”

The National Park Service Takes The Lead At The Dunes

May 1, 2006 in Rio Grande West,The Rockies | Comments (0)


Great Sand Dunes in Colorado’s San Luis Valley is the newest full national park – and also probably the most fun. People run, jump, hop, skip, roll, and frolic down the steep slopes of pure sand. They play in the strange surges of Medano Creek. They hose off happily at the headquarters parking lot. Surely some of these happy visitors are conservatives. (more…)

Holy Cities Of The West: The Centers Could Not Hold

December 6, 2005 in The Rockies | Comments (0)


There were two holy cities in the Mountain West, Salt Lake and Santa Fe. By holy I mean they were centered on sanctuaries, the LDS Temple on Temple Square and St. Francis Cathedral just off the Santa Fe Plaza. The sadness of their secularization invaded my thoughts as I surrendered to Salt Lake commuter traffic on my way home from Alberta to Colorado in December, and I thought I saw what the evangelical Mega Christians see. (more…)

Cool It, New York Times. Sheriff Bell Is Not Running For Office

A Counter-review Of Cormac McCarthy’s

November 4, 2005 in The Rockies | Comments (0)

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The Texas sheriff in Cormac McCarthy’s new novel belongs on the conservative side of the culture war, as politicians, both red and blue, like to call it. But America’s deep national misunderstanding is not owned by the politicians. And “No Country For Old Men” is not a political novel. (more…)

High Desert Golf And Carting Around Saguaros

Running on empty symbols

June 27, 2005 in The Rockies | Comments (0)

One morning in May 2003 news photographers were let through the high security system at Las Campanas, a luxury subdivision northwest of Santa Fe, to record President Bush playing golf. It was a publicity coup for the company of Lyle Anderson of Phoenix, the developer who against substantial public opposition built two 18-hole signature courses in the high desert hills between the artistic city and the Rio Grande. (more…)

New West Powder Snow: Start Yer Engines, Get Yer Gun

But who ya gonna Call? The sheriff or the NRA?

March 7, 2005 in The Rockies | Comments (0)

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A bitter competition between skiers and snowmobilers that did not exist the last time there was this much snow in southwest Colorado, about 12 or 13 years ago, has revved up in the San Juan Mountains. It’s a fight over the New West’s new commodity: deep virgin powder.

And it was forced into the headlines by the Old West’s oldest dispute resolution device: a shotgun. (more…)

Revised View of The Texas Rangers: Secret Police

It’s not exactly Bush World

November 20, 2004 in New Mexico Politics,The Rockies | Comments (0)


George W. Bush, like most Texans, loves the legend of the Texas Rangers. He once owned the baseball team of that name, and he calls his club of $100,000-plus contributors the Rangers. I myself grew up with the legend as a Colorado kid, hearing “Tales of the Texas Rangers” and episodes of “The Lone Ranger” on the radio.

But, as a new book from the University of New Mexico Press chronicles, the legend has a dark side. I had not been in New Mexico more than two months when I first encountered this Ranger shadow. I was sent as a wire service reporter to Rio Arriba County to cover the takeover of a U.S. Forest Service campground by Reies Lopez Tijerina and his following of land-grant heirs. (more…)

Word From The Mountain: Natural Law And Taylor Ranch

Wood Cutters, Grazers, Loggers. . . Not So Fast There, Peak Baggers

July 13, 2004 in New Mexico Politics,Rio Grande West,The Rockies | Comments (0)

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The 80,000-acre Taylor ranch in the south of Colorado’s San Luis Valley has birds, mammals, fish, fresh streams, high lakes, tree-lined meadows, and tall pine forests, all crowned by 14,047-foot Culebra Peak.

Last month in the town of San Luis a district court judge issued an order opening the mountain ranch to a group of local people for livestock grazing, firewood gathering and timber cutting. (more…)

Travels With A Neganative, Part 2

Can the U.S. 84 Corridor Survive?

October 23, 2003 in The Rockies | Comments (0)


Echo Amphitheater overlooking the dry Ghost Ranch valley is easily accessible from the highway, now that the Forest Service has completed its renovation of the campground. The great resonant sandstone arch is worth the walk through the trees. It sits in the wall like a giant ear. And it has heard a lot, including the speeches of Reies Lopez Tijerina, who came to national attention when his land-grant “Alianza” took over the little campground in November 1966. (more…)