Breaking News
Home » New West Network Topics » Travel & Outdoors » Adventure Rockies (page 5)

Adventure Rockies

Rafting Gets Back to Normal in Colorado

A sustained high water season on rivers in and around Summit County, Colorado, is coming to a close, and that means less juggling for local outfitters. “It was a challenge, for sure,” Arkansas Valley Adventures owner Duke Bradford said. AVA, like other companies, transferred trips based on flows to put ages and abilities on appropriate stretches. Someone who booked a Brown's Canyon trip in the Arkansas River Valley may have gotten short notice that they'd now be running the more consistent Blue River, though it still ran quickly, about an hour north in Silverthorne. Those with youngsters aiming to hit Clear Creek may have been shifted to the farther away Upper Colorado River, because as the water flows increased, consequences were more severe — so companies raised their age limits on certain stretches.

Read More »

A Swim in Great Salt Lake: Hold the Salt, Please

During a decade that brought fear, Black Tuesday, the Dust Bowl, food riots, and thousands of closing banks, there was a magical event that gave swimmers hope. The hope and the fortitude to cross the finish line, to accomplish something most wouldn’t even try and to believe in the human spirit. It all started in 1927 with a local swim legend named Orson Spenser. He swam the Great Salt Lake Marathon Swim in 1927, 8.12 miles from Antelope Island to the old Saltair. Through the years the finish line moved from Saltair to Black Rock. The races were grueling and swimmers often dropped out of the competition due to fatigue and poor weather. Spencer won this race six times before the water levels lowered to the point they discontinued the race in 1940. Ever since, some thought this strange tradition should be brought back to life. Gordon Gridley (Gords for short) and Josh Green, both marathon swimmers, were so inspired by what Spencer had accomplished they decided to revive the Great Salt Lake Marathon Swim and added a one-mile swim from the Great Salt Lake Marina to Black Rock. Being a past-time triathlete I thought I knew the effort this swim would take. Only the salt scared me.

Read More »

Flash Floods in Slot Canyons: Avoid Them

Slot canyons entice you to reach in and "taste' -- just like the food bins at the supermarket when no one’s around. The narrow slivers of space sandwiched between twisted stone walls make for an adventure of skill, guts and athleticism. And it’s all fun and games until one black cloud creeps overhead. Slot canyons, like those you find in the southwest and throughout southern Utah, are formed by surges of water over thousands of years that grind away the limestone or sandstone surfaces. If water can do that to rock, imagine what it could do to poor fleshy you if you were caught off guard. When those storm clouds rumble and threaten to drench the ground, it’s a stellar idea to be far away from any slot. Heavy rain over a short period of time in arid areas equals deadly flash flooding. Imagine a torrent of water, sediment, sticks, logs and debris charging down the narrow opening. That kind of power can lift and drag a car for miles.

Read More »

How Much Should Hunters With ATVs Be Regulated?

The hunters stalked their game for hours, carefully taking note of scat and tracks the herd left behind. They hunted on foot through the West's backcountry wilds, through brush and over mountains. A rumble in the distance sounded like the characteristic clap of a Rocky Mountain thunderstorm. It spooked the elk. Over the hill emerged a firearm-clad off-road vehicle rider. Many hunters contend they should be protected from noisy, ungulate-frightening machines when out seeking their prey. And in numerous states they are, with rules keeping hunters on ATVs tied to major roadways instead of backcountry paths. But ATV advocates want those restrictions changed, and across the West lawmakers continue to propose bills favoring motorized uses for hunting. In Idaho, the issue is coming to a head, where a back-and-forth on whether hunters can use ATVs to access wilderness is under way.

Read More »

Top Five National Forests Within a Stone’s Throw of Civilization

Not everyone “enjoys” the outdoors and when it comes to pitching a tent, slapping on bug spray and going three days without a shower, even fewer sign on for the adventure of packing into backcountry. Sometimes roughing it simply means a queen instead of a king and no walk-in closet but, that shouldn’t exclude the West's perhaps less-adventurous from experiencing the outdoors. Try these five woodsy destinations within reach of a top-tier restaurant and plush (non-inflatable) mattresses.

Read More »

This Year’s Big Water Makes for Big Stories

The big water season of 2011 is wrapping up. The roar of the rapids doesn’t cover the canyons like it did a month ago and the weekend warriors are venturing back onto their favorite stretches again. I expect, though, that we’re just starting to hear the stories from this year. I’ve been running people down rivers throughout the West for 10 years now. Since I first started to listen to the ol' timers shoot out their stories of the glory days -- of high water that "could rip a man to shreds" -- I’ve wondered if I’d ever get a few stories of my own.

Read More »

Helping Out the Bob: Volunteering in Montana’s Largest Wilderness Complex

Pull, don’t push! When you’re working in the Bob Marshall Wilderness with a crosscut saw, this is the rule. For five days in July, “Pull, don’t push!” became my mantra. Without the whine of the chainsaw or the stench of two-cycle engines to burn your nostrils, it is the sing of the blade, powered by two people, that makes trail crew work possible in Montana’s largest wilderness complex that said no to roads, vehicles and motorized anything in the late 1960s, largely thanks to one man, Robert Marshall. Six of my friends and I signed up with the Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation (BMWF) for one of their many volunteer trail crew projects. Our goal was to free a section of downed telephone line on the Historic Phone Line along the South Fork of the Flathead River in the 1.5 million acre complex. For 15 years the BMWF has placed volunteers deep within one of the country’s largest and most remote wildernesses to help maintain and preserve the many trails, cabins and artifacts that encompass a place affectionately referred to as “the Bob.”

Read More »

The One Trail to Hike in Arches National Park

Arch hunting is not difficult when there are more than 2,000 of the sandstone wonders packed into one national park. Roads and foot trails inside Arches will take hikers to many of these awe-inspiring formations, but the crowds can be staggering in certain spots. If you are hoping to escape the masses and still see some of the park's most impressive features, I highly recommend the Devil's Garden Primitive Loop. The 7.2-mile trail might be the most scenic in the park; hikers can expect to pass through some incredible topography on the way to viewing eight of Arches' most outstanding sights. The hike begins at the Devil's Garden trailhead in the northern section of the park. Road signs throughout the area are easy to follow and will get you there with no trouble. The parking area is often overrun with bumbling tourists and screaming children, but don't fret, you'll soon be leaving those distractions in the dust. This hike is heavy with rewards: The viewing session begins just under a mile in with Pine Tree and Tunnel Arches. Enjoy these two before heading back to the main trail. Before long, you will arrive at the longest arch in the park: Landscape. Measuring 306 feet in length, Landscape's beauty is matched by its story. Read the interpretive signs near the viewing area and discover how Landscape dropped a few pounds two decades ago… quite the tale!

Read More »

Why We Climb

It’s common knowledge that in Boulder, everyone and their golden retriever is a rock climber. So, since I live in Boulder, it could be correctly assumed I am one as well. I’ve been climbing since I was a scared little kid following my dad, and I come from a long climbing lineage: My grandmother, Miriam Underhill, was the first woman to climb the Matterhorn without men and, along with my grandfather Robert, put up what seems like an endless list of first ascents in the Tetons. To tell truth, though, after all these years I remain an unabashedly mediocre climber. Perhaps I don’t have the competitive drive; perhaps it’s because I’m fairly scared of heights; perhaps it’s because of a morbid tendency to vividly imagine every situation’s possible death scenarios – of which there are many when you’re climbing. However, I keep climbing in spite of my undistinguished skills because there are myriad things to love about climbing other than the clichés of challenge or competition. I think we tend to undervalue them, because they don’t get pro deals or sponsorships but, to me, they’re the backbone of the mountains’ inexorable pull. Things I love about climbing:

Read More »

In Search of Kit Carson’s Cross on Fremont Island in the Great Salt Lake

On July 7th, my baby sister, Disa, turned 22 and my gift to her was a little taste of why I dedicate so much of my time working to protect and explore the natural world. She might not have known how special and rare it is to tag along on a visit to Fremont Island when I invited her, let alone why in the world her sister would dedicate an entire summer to exploring and writing about the Great Salt Lake, but I think by the end of the day, she knew. On the way to Antelope Island Marina, where two state park boats waited to whisk us away to the shores of Fremont, Disa admitted to Nicole and me that she doesn’t read our blog, "Summer of Salt, An Exploration of the Great Salt Lake." I write to her because she doesn’t know about the Lake, and has no reason to care about what happens to it. In fact, she has no strong feelings one way or the other. She is exactly the kind of person Nicole and I want to reach with this blog – people who would quickly understand if only they had a proper introduction. For me, it was like discovering the Lake all over again.

Read More »