Thursday, March 23, 2017
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Christo’s Plan for Arkansas River Wrapped in Controversy

In a repurposed garage in Denver’s trendy Lower Downtown neighborhood, the artist Christo stepped up onto the makeshift stage. Across the street in the museum of contemporary art hung sketches from his latest proposed project, Over the River, an ambitious – and highly controversial – work that, if approved, would suspend industrial-strength fabric over Colorado’s Arkansas River. The plan is loved by some and despised by others, but among this crowd of art enthusiasts, Christo, with his mane of untamed silver hair and a rumpled khaki vest and jeans, received a standing ovation before his first slide wheeled around on the carousel projector.

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Selwyn Lake Lodge: Remote Island Paradise Surrounded by Trophy Fish

I've had all kinds of fishing experiences, and some of them--perhaps too many of them--have been in somewhat primitive, if not brutal, conditions. Roughin' it is okay, I guess. I've done plenty of it, but now, as I get older every year, I've discovered that a little relaxation and indulgence goes just fine with fishing. Which is one reason I thoroughly enjoyed my stay at Selwyn Lake Lodge.

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How To Do Yellowstone in Winter

In winter, Yellowstone National Park is nature's crystal cathedral. The landscape transforms into a marvel of textures and shapes all sparkling with an icy diamond allure. It's why ski-touring or snowshoeing here is a completely unique experience. Imagine skiing near thermal features that exist nowhere else as herd of bison moves across the distance. I'm reminiscing about a trail I ski-toured at Yellowstone not too far from the snow lodge where I stayed. It led to "white" water crossing, not the fast-river running type of crossing we're used to. The scenery was stunning. Diamond icy crystals dripped from rocks forming icefalls, pristine white snow blanketed the landscape offering up tracks of the elusive snow hare. I completed a round of turns and the overlook gave way to the valley below with puffing geysers sending off signals that filled the sky. It took my breath away, literally and figuratively. Truly, a winter vacation in Yellowstone is an overwhelmingly beautiful experience. That is, if you can stand the cold. Here's a tip if you plan on going: Layer, layer, layer. Packing a few toe- and hand-warmers are key, as well.

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Ena Lake Lodge: Secluded Luxury and Good Fishing, Too

Way up north in northern Saskatchewan on the 60th Parallel within sight of Northwest Territories is a massive body of almost-virgin fishing water called Ena Lake. The owners describe it--and the overall experience--as "unspoiled, uncrowded, and unforgettable." Since I was fortunate enough to spend a few days this year, I know that slogan isn't merely marketing hype. It's more like an understatement. Ena Lake Lodge is the only speck of civilization on the enormous lake and many miles of trackless wilderness in every direction, so you not only get that feeling of remoteness, you know Ena Lake and several other smaller lakes lodge guests can fish have incredibly low fishing pressure.

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Back on the Horse: What It Means to be a Westerner

We were riding through rugged mountains, past meadows busting with wildflowers, while a big blue sky hung overhead. I was looking down at the blond mane of the horse that had carried me 10 miles into the Taylor-Hilgards and back when my saddle started to roll. I leapt from the seat and landed on my feet. My horse, Towson, was totally unfazed and kind enough to stop while I regrouped. Until then, I had been feeling pretty cocky about my horse skills. Here I was: A real Westerner atop a horse, wearing cowgirl boots in the backcountry. I should have known better than to leave my cinch too loose. At home, my 3-year-old son and I read “Cowboy Small” ad nauseam, prompting Anders to run around the house telling me to “pull the girth tight.” Sometimes the girth is a hatband from his straw cowboy hat, other times it is a bungee cord, but the point remains the same: Don’t leave your saddle loose. There are certain things Montanans should know how to do: Run a river, navigate in the backcountry, grow a garden amidst all odds, stomp and cheer at the rodeo and ride a horse. I’m raising two Montana boys, so I figured I better giddyup.

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On the Walleye Trail

You ever heard that rumor about Montana being Trout Country? Well, I guess it's true, sort of, at least in the collective public consciousness. In reality, though, Montana is also Walleye Country. Especially up in north central Montana, officially known as Russell Country. In July, in fact, with the kind assistance of the Russell Country tourism office, my fishing partner, Gene Colling, and I spent nine days up there trying to prove it.

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All Alone at Bill’s Lake

I've been to a lot of fishing lodges, and some things are always the same. Mainly, there are other people there--guests, lodge managers, cooks, guides and other human beings. And some lodges are getting cushy with clean sheets every morning and gourmet meals every evening--and high tech conveniences like satellite TV, wifi and Skype. But not on this trip, not at Bill's Lake.

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Time to Tear Down the Border Stations

Today, I've decided to abandon my normal manner of being diplomatic and gentle and say something that needs saying without sugarcoating, so here goes. Just in case you haven't traveled around Europe, here's how it works. You can, for example, fly into Spain, rent a car and drive over to France. And guess what happens when you get to the border? Absolutely nothing!

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Experiencing Glacier, the New Way

Riding a road bicycle over Logan Pass on the world-famous Going-to-the-Sun Highway is hardly a new idea. Thousands of people do it, and most--if not all--conclude that it's the best way to thoroughly enjoy the scenic splendor lining the historic roadway. On a bicycle, you can soak in all the scenery, not just glimpses out your window. You can hear those cascading streams starting their long plunge down to the oceans and wind working hard to wear down the mountains, even the red-tailed hawk's cry from above. Every pedal stroke of the way, you can feel the fresh breath of the wilderness on your face. Can life get any better?

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The Most Scenic Road in North America

Decades ago, the late CBS News correspondent Charles Kuralt crisscrossed the United States filing a series of "On The Road with Charles Kuralt" reports. After driving his RV over Beartooth Pass, a 64-mile section of U.S. 212 on the Montana/Wyoming border between Cooke City and Red Lodge, he decided to call it "the most beautiful drive in America." A lot of people have already heard that, but I want to point out that he did not say "North America." If he had driven his RV on the route between Banff and Jasper, Alberta, the famed Icefields Parkway, he would have ranked the Beartooth Highway no better than second place. And if Charles had ridden a 20-pound bicycle instead of a multi-ton RV, he'd enjoyed both roads even more.

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