Four Corners Outdoor Adventures The Rockies The Southwest Travel: America's national parks Black Canyon of the Gunnison camping Ken Burns Mesa Verde national parks anniversary southwest Colorado
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You’ve probably heard that 2016 marks the one-hundred-year anniversary of the National Park Service. Often referred to as America’s Best Idea, there are more than four hundred parks within our beautiful country and I think fall is one of the best times to visit them. In celebration of this milestone, there’s one more entrance-free day left and I find it appropriate that this one takes place on Veteran’s Day, November 11.
To me, it feels like I’m living within a national park in my home of Telluride, Colorado. I believe that Ken Burns, renowned filmmaker of America’s National Park series and many other inspiring documentaries, feels similarly. Perhaps this is why he spends so much time in our little box canyon mountain town. I did an interview with him a while back on our national parks that is still very pertinent today. Do check it out here.
Even so, I love venturing out and exploring the real deal. Fortunately, we have a couple national parks in Colorado within about an hour-and-a-half drive of Telluride: Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park and Mesa Verde National Park. (The latter is also a World Heritage Site.) I visited the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park with my parents six years ago toward the end of a big southwest tour that also showcased Monument Valley and the Grand Canyon. Click here to read Touring the Southwest with My Parents, which features those two world-renowned destinations. At the end of that trip, I also visited the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park with them and I highlight this amazing national park in Part Four of a series of stories I did about rafting in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison. After you read about this little-known national park, check out Rafting and Roughing it on the Black Canyon of the Gunnison Part One, Part Two and Part Three–it was a big outdoor adventure that I hope to do again some day. You just might want to plan a similar trip there yourself.
Speaking of world famous sites, it always strikes me that at America’s National Parks I see an overwhelming number of foreigners. Sometimes I think they value what we have more than most of us. Possibly. In any event, I hope this story and the photos herein will prompt you to break out and savor what we are so blessed to behold within our nation’s borders. I also think it might be a great way to blow out some election overload!
Colorado Hotels & Lodging Mountain Living Restaurants Telluride The Rockies: Chop House Restaurant destination hotel Colorado fine dining Telluride New Sheridan night life Telluride spring in Telluride
I’m on Lake George in the Adirondacks now where I’ve been plunged into the luscious heat and humidity of an upstate New York summer. It feels glorious, especially as I sit here on the porch in a bathing suit and sarong typing away on my laptop. It has been quite the spring in Telluride, chilly and snowy all the way up through last Thursday. Of course you can never entirely put winter clothes away in the Rockies, but this year I needed good, sturdy boots right up to Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start of summer.
As much as I’m happy to be sitting here in bare feet wiggling my toes, I was thrilled to experience that extraordinary time of the year when the mountains emerge from their deep winter slumber before I left. I witnessed the fuzzy buds of the aspens pop into bright leaves as the crystalline snows melted on their branches. The play of spring light against the fresh yellow-green of the season and the pure white snow made for a dazzling display of nature. I was happy this all happened during a time when I was busy running about to do errands because the panoramic views on my drives were beyond breathtaking. Changes in the leaves occurred seemingly by the minute. Indeed, it’s a wonderful time of the year for the earth to reawaken, especially in the mountains of Colorado.
I thought I’d share with you here some images from this time of year taken this year and last. I also wanted to tell you about a little-known secret: June is one of the best times of the year in the Rockies. In Telluride, it’s when Bluegrass happens (the third week in June), but first and foremost, it’s the month of some of the best weather of the year. The hills are truly coming alive during this time and although it might rain some in June, we’re not yet soaked with the monsoonal flows that hit the mountains in July and August. Yes, it’s a splendiferous time of the year. And the summer crowds have not yet arrived. (Not that it ever becomes very crowded in Telluride.)
My Hotel and Dining Recommendation
Truly a destination hotel, the historic New Sheridan has long served as the hub of Telluride. And as much as I don’t like to play favorites, I would go so far as to say that this glittering establishment stands out as my all-time favorite place to be in Telluride. It’s the place to go to dine, drink, savor an elegant hotel stay and just while away some time as you watch the fun and playful doings of our beautiful mountain town unfold before you. I stayed here for a night almost year ago with my boyfriend, Steve, and it was one of the best staycations you could imagine. Highlights included late-night drinks at the bar, luxurious accommodations and a superb brunch in the Chop House Restaurant. So many of the sights, sounds and smells from that stay still tingle my senses; the pop, pop, pop of the opening of bubbly for the Sunday brunch still echo in my mind along with the stillness of the night as seen, heard and experienced from our beautiful room. A true bastion of tradition and refinement, the New Sheridan perfectly embodies the spirit of Old World grandeur and old mining town charm.
When in Telluride, be sure to make your way to the recently opened New Sheridan rooftop bar, last summer’s talk of the town. Here are a couple of photos from a fun time I shared there last September with a good friend.
Aspen Breckenridge Colorado Skiing & Snowboarding Telluride The Rockies Vail: Aspen dealing with grief PSIA training ski resort closings spring skiing Colorado
I dreamed of skiing last night. I felt the joy of doing sweet turns on soft, slushy snow on a bright and sunny spring day. The sky appeared bluer than blue, even bluer than a Colorado sky, making the scene feel surreal. It was, of course, just a dream. But still, when I woke up, I felt the sense of freedom and exhilaration one feels after doing some great turns on the slopes. Those feelings are fleeting now but it was swell while it lasted.
I chatted on the phone with my boyfriend yesterday and he told me the skiing is fabulous in Keystone. “Nice corn snow, Hun. Really great spring skiing,” he emphasized.
Actually I’ve been following the Colorado ski season ever since it suddenly ended for me on March 22, the day my father passed away.
Some might think that winter is over and so is the skiing. But those in the know, know that some of the best days may be relished throughout the end of March and all the way into the better part of April in the West. Those can be big snow weeks and with the base that most Colorado ski resorts have benefited from this season, even without fresh pow, the good skiing can go on and on and on.
Colorado Girl Talk Outdoor Adventures Romance & Relationships The Rockies Travel: breast cancer camping Colorado Deepak Chopra Fruita Grand Junction mind/body health My Stroke of Insight REI Telluride Integrative Wellness The Joy Potential
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My world shifted into a surreal-like state of uncertainty three weeks ago when I learned that I needed a second mammogram after my first one revealed troublesome findings. I was called back for a second mammo a year and a half ago, so at first I wasn’t overly concerned.
This time though I could clearly see the area that the radiologist told me appeared suspicious. “Your breasts look like chocolate milk, so it’s hard to see clearly,” she continued. I studied the section she indicated and thought that indeed the spot in question looked like flecks of cream clumped upon my frothy chest.
My heart rate quickened despite the fact that I exchanged casual small talk with her as she performed the second mammogram. Calm down, I said to myself. There’s nothing to worry about. Don’t automatically think about breast cancer.
Colorado Durango Music & Dance The Rockies The Southwest: Colorado Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad Durango & Silverton Railroad Durango Blues Train Durango train events Durango hotels Durango musical adventures Rocky Mountain train trips
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1. It’s more fun listening to music when you’re in motion than on solid ground.
2. The Durango Blues Train is put on by Steve Gumble, founder of the renowned Telluride Blues & Brews Festival; he and his staff know how to create memorable events. On the Blues Train, you can hop from car to car and rock on to great music from bands and solo acts from all over the U.S.
3. Not that you need an excuse, but this great train excursion gives you a reason to visit the fun-loving Western town of Durango, Colorado. Be sure to spend the night at either The Rochester Hotel or The Strater.
Colorado Skiing & Snowboarding Telluride The Rockies: Ski Instructor's Life Skiing in the West Telluride Ski Resort Winter 2015
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Whoa, what a busy time it has been. Today is my first real day on my computer in about two weeks. I’ve been tied up teaching skiing in Telluride and have enjoyed having many clients book me for extra days. It’s tiring though and I’m happy to report that yesterday–my first full day off in weeks–was spent lounging. I didn’t change out of my pajamas until 6pm and that was to take a hot tub. As much as it’s exhilarating to be on the mountain, it‘s also exhausting and sometimes a simple task such as unloading the dishwasher seems monumental.
What a crazy winter it has been! I’ve stopped counting, but I’d say we’ve had super sunny and warm weather for the better part of the past six weeks. The high pressure system that’s been hanging over the West has kept it oh-so dry–we hardly had any snow the past month and a half. It’s been killing most of us to see the incredible snow totals produced in the Northeast and we’ve all been doing the snow dance in the hope that some of that gorgeous white fluffy stuff comes our way.
Despite this, the skiing has remained very good–remarkably-which is why I’ve been working as a ski instructor more than I had planned for this period. People have not been canceling their trips at all. Instead, they’re thrilled about our gloriously sunny days and spring skiing conditions in the middle of winter. Back East I’m sure the one run, then in for a break, rule is being strictly enforced.
Art & Culture Colorado Mountain Living Outdoor Adventures Telluride Telluride Festivals The Rockies: Blue Lake hike Eric Moore fall foliage viewing Mt. Sneffels photography festival Colorado Ralph Lauren's Ranch Telluride Photo Festival
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It’s unfair that the northeast of America is most often credited for its fabulous fall foliage. I’m from upstate New York and know well the glorious riot of colors that typically explodes there and–in New England–in autumn. But here in Colorado, I’m doubly awed–not only by our fabulous flourish of yellows, golds, orange and rust–but also by the majesty of our mountains, magnificent peaks which appear even more awe-inspiring as the low-lying autumnal sun casts its brilliant light on our dramatic panoramas.
I gobbled up an eyeful of this magnificence yesterday when my boyfriend and I embarked on a hike to Lower Blue Lake off of Dallas Creek Road, situated beneath Mt. Sneffels, one of the area’s most iconic Fourteeners, measuring 14,150-feet in elevation. This is God’s–and also Ralph Lauren’s Ranch–country, made accessible to all thanks to an easement by Ralph. It also takes a sturdy, vehicle to handle the bumpy half-hour drive into the trailhead and a strong will and steady athleticism to hike the 3.3-mile ascent up to dazzling Lower Blue Lake. I’m proudly sporting the blisters today that I earned from yesterday’s effort; there’s no doubt that it was my best hike of the season.
Colorado Outdoor Adventures Skiing & Snowboarding Telluride The Rockies The Southwest Tours Travel: Colorado Outdoor Adventures Skiing & Snowboarding Telluride The Rockies The Southwest Tours Travel
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I think it’s so cool that we have some of the best adventure specialists based right here in Telluride, Colorado. It makes sense, since Telluride and the outlying region provide the perfect terrain for heading out and exploring the great outdoors whether you’re cycling, hiking, skiing, fishing, climbing or jeeping. Some of these guiding greats have done so well in the region that they also conduct tours beyond southwestern Colorado, as far away as the other side of the globe, in fact.
A few of these companies have generously offered tours to KOTO’s current fundraising campaign. I’ll be chatting more about these adventure specialists on tomorrow night’s Travel Fun, a special live edition of my talk show on travel, which airs Thursday, September 17, A LITTLE EARLIER THAN USUAL at 6:20 pm mountain time.
I have been doing this show for almost eleven years and you can find many of my interviews posted on my blog as podcasts. If you have enjoyed Travel Fun, I encourage you to contact me to make a pledge or a donation. You can also show your love by snatching up one of the below tours at a deeply-discounted price. Thanks to Lizard Head Cycling Guides, Telluride Mountain Guides, Telluride Adventures/San Juan Outdoor Adventures and Telluride Offroad, here’s what I have to offer: