| VailDaily.com

The allure of Colorado’s 58 14,000-foot peaks, and how to tackle them as a beginner

With snow-capped summits, awe-inspiring faces and inherent danger, Colorado’s 14ers — peaks that reach 14,000 feet or more above sea level — have enraptured hikers and climbers for years. Every year, Colorado’s 14ers are hiked by more than 500,000 people, with locals and international visitors taking on the challenge. Ranging from well-marked hiking trails to exposed climbs, 14ers offer a difficulty range that allows hikers of all abilities to attempt the high peaks.

Although most hikers agree that a 14er is just any mountain over the 14,000-foot mark, some controversy remains over the official number in Colorado. Some enthusiasts maintain that only 52 of the often-listed 58 qualify as official 14ers. In addition to being over 14,000 feet in elevation, they maintain that a summit must be 200-500 feet taller than the mountain’s next highest feature. That way, false summits do not qualify as 14ers even if they are above the 14,000-foot limit. 

Some climbers also contend that privately owned 14ers, such as Culebra Peak near San Luis, should not be included in the official list. The majority of the 14ers fall under the regulation of the U.S. Forest Service, though some fall on private property, and Longs Peak is in the boundaries of Rocky Mountain National Park. 

The 14er classification is unique to Colorado. No other state in the U.S. places such emphasis on its mountains that climb above 14,000 feet. Internationally, there are other famous groupings of peaks. The Seven Summits include the highest mountain on each continent, and mountaineers from around the world strive to summit all seven, even competing to climb them in a certain time period. 

Read the full story via The Summit Daily News.

New heights: Steamboat Resort would have North America’s longest gondola, be 2nd largest Colorado ski resort after proposed projects

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Steamboat Resort could see some major changes in the coming years following preliminary approval from the U.S. Forest Service. 

In an announcement on Thursday, the resort described plans to build what would be the longest eight-person gondola in North America, which it is calling the Wild Blue Gondola. Other major developments could include a 650-acre expansion and a new restaurant at the top of the Sunshine and Sundown chairlifts. The terrain expansion would make the ski area the second largest resort in Colorado. This marks an increase of a previous proposed expansion that would have made it the third largest resort in the state. It currently is ranked fifth based on acreage.

“These new projects complement those that have long been at the top of Steamboat’s wish list, and now we are taking steps to obtain the necessary analysis, reviews and approval to be ready to move forward when the time is right,” Rob Perlman, president and chief operating officer of Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp., said in the announcement.

Projects overview

The 3.16-mile-long Wild Blue Gondola, as currently planned, would start from the base area and end at the summit of Sunshine Peak, where the Sunshine and Sundown chairlifts currently reach, according to Loryn Duke, director of communications for Ski Corp. 

It would have a mid-station at the Bashor bowl near the Mavericks terrain park. As Duke explained, that area offers more gradual grades that would make it ideal for a new ski and riding school. 

Source: U.S. Forest Service

If construction goes forward, the resort would remove the Priest Creek lift and replace Sundown Express with a “more efficient and higher capacity chairlift,” according to the announcement about the projects. 

The gondola also would help shuttle more people up the mountain from the base area, helping to mitigate long lines on busy days. As planned, the resort could get 10,000 people per hour up the mountain from the base area, as opposed to the current rate of 6,000 people per hour. 

“It is really going to alleviate that congestion in the base area,” Duke said. 

The terrain expansion, the first in more than 20 years, would bring the Pioneer Ridge and Fish Creek Canyon areas within resort boundaries. The resort had planned to start work on the Pioneer Ridge project prior to this latest announcement, but its owner, Alterra Mountain Co., postponed it amid the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Both Pioneer Ridge and the Fish Creek Canyon have been popular areas for backcountry skiing, Duke said. By bringing them into the resort boundary, it will allow for better maintenance and Steamboat Ski Patrol to more effectively respond to emergencies. Currently, Routt County Search and Rescue volunteers often have to respond if a skier or rider gets lost or stranded in those areas. 

There will be a virtual meeting to discuss the projects from 4 to 6 p.m. July 17. People can attend by visiting usfs.adobeconnect.com/steamboat/conference. They also can call 888-844-9904 and, when prompted, enter 5083570# to connect to the meeting.

People can submit written comments before the meeting by mailing them to the following address: Russell Bacon, Forest Supervisor c/o Erica Dickerman, Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests and Thunder Basin National Grassland, 2468 Jackson Street, Laramie, WY 82070. They also can post comments online at cara.ecosystem-management.org/Public//CommentInput?Project=58336. People have 30 days as of Thursday to submit written and online comments.

Concern for wildlife

A review of the projects listed several potential negative consequences, particularly to raptor habitat in the area. Under the of the Forest Service’s Threatened, Endangered, Sensitive Species and Wildlife standards, the agency is committed to protecting active and inactive raptor nest areas. 

Under these standards, the Forest Service mandates a no-disturbance buffer around nests to protect raptors until after they have finished raising their young, generally March through July. Construction of the Wild Blue Gondola and a bridge in the Fish Creek expansion area would come within a quarter-mile of known nests that have been home to red-tail and Cooper’s hawks, according to the Forest Service.

“A no-disturbance buffer protects active nests till after raptors have fledged, which is incompatible with the construction timing necessary to implement the proposed action,” the agency stated in a review of the projects. 

Approval of construction would therefore require an amendment to the Forest Service standards, according to the project review. The amendment would expire after construction is complete, and it would not apply to any future projects unless there are additional amendments. 

There are a handful of known nests in the area, according to Erica Dickerman, a mountain sports ranger with the Forest Service, but it is impossible to know which will be occupied until they nest in the spring.

Further environmental analysis will continue in the coming weeks and months, Dickerman said, with a draft expected by late fall. The public will have an opportunity to object or appeal the draft. A finalized environmental assessment is scheduled for completion by March 2021.

Overall, Dickerman sees the proposed development as a way to strike a balance between providing popular recreation opportunities and preserving natural resources. As she explained, the resort represents one of the most highly trafficked areas in the Routt National Forest, and by concentrating development there, it helps to preserve more remote places elsewhere.

More details are available on the project website, with a link on the online version of this article at steamboatpilot.com.

To reach Derek Maiolo, call 970-871-4247, email dmaiolo@SteamboatPilot.com or follow him on Twitter @derek_maiolo.

Open for Business: Rocky Mountain Raclette

Name of business: Rocky Mountain Raclette

Physical address: On-site caterer

Phone number: 970-343-9299

Email: info@rockymountainraclette.com

Website: rockymountainraclette.com

What goods or services are you offering at this time? 

Catered picnics, raclette grill dinners, raclette cocktail parties, raclette date nights

How have you adjusted to serve your customers during these unprecedented times?

We are following all COVID-19 guidelines by the Eagle County Health Department.  We are wearing masks and are encouraging outdoor dining whether it’s at your house or on a picnic! Luckily for us, all of our experiences are private in the comfort of your own home, which is a safer approach during COVID-19.

How can the community support you?

Booking a picnic or raclette dinner! Gift cards are always an option too. 

What’s the best source to keep up to date with your offerings?

Check out our website and follow us on our Instagram and Facebook accounts.

What’s the response been?

We are hoping to stay busy this summer since we are not a traditional restaurant. What we can provide is a safe dining experience at your home or try one of our unique dining offerings out in Mother Nature.

What are your plans going forward as the “new normal” evolves? 

We are optimistic and determined to make the best dining and customer service experience possible right now! Nothing is changing in terms of our regular menu and we have added additional options to encourage social distancing.

Art on the Rockies gives artists an important chance to sell work in a world changed by pandemic

Art on the Rockies, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, will take over Freedom Park in Edwards with a swath of art and creativity this weekend. The event is free to the public, and hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Friday, July 10 through Sunday, July 12.

Given the fact that so many events that visitors and locals look forward to each summer in the Vail Valley have been canceled due to coronavirus concerns, the fact that Art on the Rockies is able to host a festival this year is a great honor for organizers.

“I’ve been working with the Eagle County Health Commissioner’s office since the spring,” said Kelsey Siggins, director of the Vail Valley Arts League, which stages the festival. “We’re happy we’re going forward. The community is really happy, and the artists are really, really happy.

2020 festival artist Dolan Geiman uses found materials to create his pieces, which he sells as originals and prints.
Dolan Geiman | Special to the Daily

Not only does Art on the Rockies provide the community with the chance to appreciate and purchase work from more than 60 renowned painters, sculptors, jewelers, photographers and more, but the festival also gives those artists a chance to connect with customers and sell work, which is now rare.

Denver-based Dolan Geiman, this year’s Art on the Rockies poster artist, explained why Art on the Rockies presents an important opportunity for him in today’s art world.

“It’s a godsend. Every single one of our other shows was canceled. This is our main source of income as an artist,” he said.

The mixed-media artist uses reclaimed metal and vintage papers to collage famous portraits of vaqueras and Native American chiefs. He said that his regular clients like to see work in person at different festivals he participates in. Some of those clients are so excited to connect with him that they’re flying in specifically for Art on the Rockies.

“It’s really exciting to be able to take the work we’ve been working on and bring it out to people,” he said.

In addition to the popular Vaqueras portraits, Geiman collages images of animals, nature and more.
Christopher Kates | Special to the Daily

And Geiman gives Siggins credit for working to adapt Art on the Rockies for the current times. She, her fiancé Nick Everett, and his mother Colleen, run Everett Studio, a pottery studio based in Eagle and also frequently travel to participate in art festivals.

“She knows how important it is to have this. For her to persevere and do all the right things to make this happen, it says a lot about her and about her willingness to keep pushing to make sure that artists do have an opportunity,” Geiman said.

To that end, Siggins moved the festival from its normal location inside at Colorado Mountain College in Edwards to Freedom Park. Each artist’s booth is 10 feet apart from the next, and they will have ample room to exit the booth from one side when needed. Aisles between booths are more than 30 feet wide, and markers will be out to direct two-way directional pedestrian traffic. Guests and artists are required to wear face masks when a 6-foot distance cannot be maintained, and each booth will have sanitization products, both for guest use and to disinfect any object that may be handled by visitors.

In addition to work from artists with a big following like Geiman, Eagle County artists will also showcase work. Those artists are:

Boardroom Market & Deli will also have tents set up for food and drink sales. The Freedom Park public restrooms, which are spacious, will also be open for guest use.

For more information on Art on the Rockies, visit artontherockies.org.

If you go …

What: Art on the Rockies

When: Friday, July 10 through Sunday, July 12. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. all days.

Where: Freedom Park, Edwards

Cost: Free to attend

More information: Bring masks and be prepared to utilize hand sanitizing stations. For more information on Art on the Rockies, visit artontherockies.org.

Open for Business: EagleVail Swimming Pool

Name of business: EagleVail Swimming Pool

Physical address: 450 Eagle Road, Avon, CO 81620

Phone number: 970-949-1203

Email: swimmingpool@eaglevail.org

Website: eaglevail.org

What goods or services are you offering at this time? 

The EagleVail Swimming Pool offers lap swimming, swim team, swim school and recreation swimming.

How have you adjusted to serve your customers during these unprecedented times?

The pool is divided into seven different sections for recreational swimming. There are two sessions per day. We have implemented an online booking system that allows the guest to reserve a specific picnic area with the accompanying pool section. The picnic areas and pool sections allow the guest to maintain six feet distance at all times.  All guests shower before entering the pool. Every picnic area and any multi-touch surface areas are cleaned by pool staff between sessions.

Lap swimming reservations are set up to allow a maximum of two people per lane.  Swimmers are encouraged to start at opposite ends of the pool and to shower before entering the pool. Swim team is being offered this summer with a limited number of participants. There are no spaces available. Swim school is being offered with parents involved in the water as part of the lesson. The Saturday sessions start July 11 at 10 a.m.  Space is available. Please go to eaglevail.org to learn more.

How can the community support you?

Please go to eaglevail.org and pre-book a time at the pool. We do not take drop-ins.

What’s the best source to keep up to date with your offerings?

Our website is the best source of information regarding the pool. We also have regular postings on Facebook and a weekly email blast. Please spread the word!

What’s the response been?

The guests are very happy to see the cleanliness and organization at the pool. We have had feedback from cancer patients, pregnant ladies, local and visiting families that is a pleasure to use the facility.

What are your plans going forward as the “new normal” evolves?

This summer we will most likely stay as we are. There has been an increase in COVID cases in Eagle County and we intend to continue to provide a safe and friendly environment for swimmers.

Bravo! Vail announces reimagined season with outdoor concerts at Ford Amphitheater

Bravo! Vail announces a reimagined season, running from July 16 – Aug. 6, offering outdoor concerts in the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater, a mobile performance stage presented by the Sturm Family and ANB Bank bringing music to local communities, and virtual educational and social offerings.

In May, Bravo! Vail canceled the summer 2020 festival as originally planned. As conditions in Eagle County improved, it became clear that many of the organization’s patrons were eager to return to live, in-person performances with a limited capacity and strong adherence to all health and safety guidance and precautions.  As a result, the Bravo! Vail board and staff worked to find new ways to fulfill Bravo’s mission of enriching people’s lives through the power of music.

“The health and safety of our musicians, patrons, staff, and community are our top priorities, and we will have a multitude of new safety measures in place at our concerts. Physical distancing and face coverings will be big parts of the experience, and all concerts will be outdoors,” said Executive Director Caitlin Murray. “Bravo! Vail is flexible, respectful, and dedicated, and we are honored to be able to present live music, even in a very limited way, this summer.”

Bravo! Vail is hosting concerts in the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater from July 16-Aug. 6 this summer.
Zach Mahone | Special to the Daily

2020 also marks Anne-Marie McDermott’s 10th anniversary as Artistic Director.

“I cannot imagine a summer in Vail without the inspiring, healing, and exhilarating sounds of live music-making. I am deeply humbled and touched that Bravo has found a path forward to bring our extraordinary community together through world-class chamber music performances. My musical colleagues and I are all so honored and excited that we can embrace the power of music for audiences this summer. It will truly be a memorable journey that none of us will ever forget. I have held an image in my heart of what the first notes of live music would sound and feel like when they became possible, and what a privilege this will be,” she said.

Outdoor concerts

Bravo! Vail concerts at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater will look quite different this summer, but they will be intimate and artistically fulfilling in new ways. With seven total performances at this location, programming highlights include the return of the Dover Quartet; violinist and Bravo! Vail Founding Artistic Director Ida Kavafian and current Artistic Director Anne-Marie McDermott performing the complete Beethoven Violin and Piano Sonatas; and world-renowned pianist Yefim Bronfman with Anne-Marie McDermott for a two-piano program.

The capacity for each concert will be extremely limited in accordance with Eagle County Public Health guidance. Within the amphitheater, audience seating arrangements will provide for ample physical distancing.

Mobile Performance Stage Concerts

In an exciting innovation, Bravo! Vail commissioned a custom-built mobile performance stage – the Bravo! Vail Music Box – that will bring chamber music throughout the Vail Valley with outdoor community concerts. The Music Box will enable community members to experience concerts presented to invited guests in their own communities or at their businesses at no cost.

Businesses, community groups, and individuals can apply or nominate concert hosts on the Bravo! Vail website. Bravo! Vail will work with the partner organizations to manage physical distancing, group size, and safety protocols. Applications received by July 17 will be given priority consideration, and concerts will take place July 24–Aug. 2.

Can’t view the video? Click here.

Virtual Education and Engagement Programs

Music education is a critical component of Bravo! Vail’s mission, and much of the regular programming will move online this summer. Inside the Music, which dives into repertoire and performances with an educational angle, will be available on Bravo! Vail’s website and social channels. Little Listeners at the Library will now be online, broadening its reach to communities everywhere. During these performances, Bravo! Vail’s youngest listeners explore a musical idea or term with the performing artists. Each concert is paired with books recommended by local librarians to continue exploration independently.

“This is not the summer we imagined, but in some ways, Bravo’s offerings fulfill our mission more than ever. Our goal is to serve this community in a safe and responsible way and emerge from this challenging time with more innovation, more community engagement, and more enthusiasm than ever,” said Board Chair Kathleen Eck. “Just imagine how excited we will all be to eventually welcome 2,500 people back to the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater. That will be a great day.”

Outdoor concert schedule

All concerts listed below take place at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater in Vail. Limited tickets will be sold to these performances to accommodate local public health guidelines, and all guests should bring masks.

July 16, 7 p.m.

Mozart: Quartet No. 1 for Piano, Violin and Cello in G minor, K. 478

  • Kerry McDermott, violin
  • Zoë Martin-Doike, viola
  • Brook Speltz, cello
  • Anne-Marie McDermott, piano

Brahms: Sextet No. 1 for Two Violins, Two Violas and Two Cellos in B-flat Major, Op. 18

  • Dover Quartet
    • Joel Link, violin
    • Bryan Lee, violin
    • Milena Pajaro-van de Stadt, viola
    • Camden Shaw, cello
  • Paul Neubauer, viola
  • Brook Speltz, cello

July 23, 7 p.m.

Haydn: String Quartet in D minor, Op. 76, No. 2, “Quinten”

  • Dover Quartet
    • Joel Link, violin
    • Bryan Lee, violin
    • Milena Pajaro-van de Stadt, viola
    • Camden Shaw, cello

Bacewicz: Quartet (1949)

  • Kerry McDermott, violin
  • Oliver Neubauer, violin
  • Clara Neubauer, violin
  • Paul Neubauer, viola

Dohnányi: Quintet No. 1 for Two Violins, Viola, Cello and Piano in C minor, Op. 1

  • Dover Quartet
    • Joel Link, violin
    • Bryan Lee, violin
    • Milena Pajaro-van de Stadt, viola
    • Camden Shaw, cello
  • Amy Yang, piano

July 27, 11 a.m.

The Complete Beethoven Violin & Piano Sonatas, 1/3

Beethoven: Violin Sonata No. 1 in D Major, Op. 12, No. 1

Beethoven: Violin Sonata No. 2 in A Major, Op. 12, No. 2

Beethoven: Violin Sonata No. 4 in A minor, Op. 23

Beethoven: Violin Sonata No. 3 in E-flat Major, Op. 12, No. 3

  • Ida Kavafian, violin
  • Anne-Marie McDermott, piano

July 28, 11 a.m.

The Complete Beethoven Violin & Piano Sonatas, 2/3

Beethoven: Violin Sonata No. 5 in F Major, Op. 24, “Spring”

Beethoven: Violin Sonata No. 6 in A Major, Op. 30, No. 1

Beethoven: Violin Sonata No. 7 in C minor, Op. 30, No. 2

  • Ida Kavafian, violin
  • Anne-Marie McDermott, piano

July 29, 11 a.m.

The Complete Beethoven Violin & Piano Sonatas, 3/3

Beethoven: Violin Sonata No. 8 in G Major, Op. 30, No. 3

Beethoven: Violin Sonata No. 9 in A Major, Op. 47, “Kreutzer”

Beethoven: Violin Sonata No. 10 in G Major, Op. 96

  • Ida Kavafian, violin
  • Anne-Marie McDermott, piano

July 30, 7 p.m.

Schubert: Sonata for Viola and Piano in A minor, D. 821, “Arpeggione”

  • Paul Neubauer, viola
  • Amy Yang, piano

Barber: Adagio for String Quartet

  • Dover Quartet
    • Joel Link, violin
    • Bryan Lee, violin
    • Milena Pajaro-van de Stadt, viola
    • Camden Shaw, cello

Mendelssohn: Octet for Four Violins, Two Violas and Two Cellos in E-flat Major, Op. 20

  • Dover Quartet
    • Joel Link, violin
    • Bryan Lee, violin
    • Milena Pajaro-van de Stadt, viola
    • Camden Shaw, cello
  • Oliver Neubauer, violin
  • Clara Neubauer, violin
  • Paul Neubauer, viola
  • Brook Speltz, cello

August 6, 7 p.m.

Schubert: Marche Militaire in D Major for Piano, Four Hands, D. 733, No. 1

Schubert: Fantasy in F minor for Piano, Four Hands, D. 934

Brahms: Sonata in F minor for Piano, Four Hands, Op. 34b

  • Yefim Bronfman, piano
  • Anne-Marie McDermott, piano

Wildlife agency aims to reduce fire risk at Basalt shooting range

Two years after the devastating Lake Christine Fire, Colorado Parks and Wildlife says it is taking multiple steps to ease the fire threat at the Basalt shooting range.

The fire broke out July 3, 2018, when a user of the rifle range was shooting prohibited tracer ammunition, during a drought, no less. The fire consumed three homes, forced the evacuation of hundreds more and ended up charring more than 12,500 acres of national forest and private lands. The fire cost an estimated $30 million to extinguish.

CPW Area Wildlife Manager Matt Yamashita said this week that from a fire perspective, there has been a “significant improvement” at the shooting range over the past two years and more improvements are coming.

Roughly 75 feet up the slope and behind the rifle, pistol and shotgun ranges, CPW crews in early June bulldozed a 14-foot wide, half-mile long cut. Instead of an ugly scar, it will eventually be an irrigated greenbelt that will be an important line of defense for containing fire, should another break out, Yamashita said.

CPW is pursuing recommendations of a task force that convened last year as part of the aftermath of the fire. One of the primary recommendations of the task force, on advice from Roaring Fork Fire Rescue Chief Scott Thompson, was to establish the firebreak with an irrigated greenbelt above the shooting range.

An old road that was cut decades ago to put up power powers was utilized for the greenbelt. The cut will be widened to 25 feet and a water source will be tapped so that fire-resistant vegetation will grow on the cut.

“That is a project that will be phased,” Yamashita said. “It will take three years.”

CPW is working with the Colorado State Forest Service to select what low-lying brush and grasses to plant. Once completed, the vegetated road cut will catch blowing embers and trap them until they go out, Yamashita said. Embers simply blow past paved or dirt surfaces and present a threat of spreading fire, he said.

CPW is assessing options for providing water along the future greenbelt. Options include a costly prospect of pumping it uphill from lower sources, tapping into the town of Basalt’s water supply or tapping into springs that CPW has water rights to for the irrigation of hay fields elsewhere in the Basalt State Wildlife Area.

Thompson said CPW has “absolutely” made progress at reducing the fire risk at the shooting range.

“They’ve really eliminated the vegetation down low,” he said. “We’ve got a barrier with that road if (a fire) does start.”

The vegetation on the fire road/greenbelt will be low enough that a small fire truck will be able to drive on it. That will prevent firefighters having to hike up the slope in a future incident.

The road will be gated and closed to public use, Thompson said.

Another boost to safety at the state-owned and operated shooting range is an enhanced surveillance system. The $30,000 system includes nine cameras installed to scrutinize the shooting ranges, parking areas and common areas. The digital images are stored at a central database, going back about one month.

CPW used the system to check a recent complaint about illegal shooting at the range close to 10 p.m., when the facility is closed. The agency established that the shooting wasn’t coming from the range but somewhere outside of it, Yamashita said.

The shooting range has been a divisive facility, particularly since the fire. Some Basalt residents are determined to remove it as a safety hazard and nuisance because of the noise. But hundreds of target shooters from throughout the region rally in support of the range anytime public meetings are held about its fate.

A source of frustration for some people is CPW has made funds available for new shooting ranges around the state while critics are calling for increased funded to make the Basalt site safer after the 2018 calamity.

Yamashita said there are different pots funding projects. In addition, there is a lot of competition for available money. CPW has allocated about $500,000 to the Basalt shooting range since 2012 for safety improvements and noise reduction.

“We’re definitely making progress,” he said.

Yamashita said an overlooked factor is people will find a place for target shooting. They will either be scattered out among public lands or they will be concentrated in a place where safety measures and a level of monitoring is undertaken.

CPW has also increased its human oversight of the range.

“When fire restrictions are in place, there is somebody here daily,” Yamashita said from the site this week.

Regular patrols will be coordinated among the district wildlife manager, a land technician and a part-time employee, he said.

CPW has also ordered a 10,000-gallon water tank with a “pump and spray rig,” Yamashita said. That water supply can be tapped from initial responders should a fire break out.

The shooting range adopted new hours starting July 1. The range will be closed every Wednesday, year-round.

Between March 15 and Oct. 15, the range will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

During winter months, it will be open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day with the exception of the Wednesday closure.


Hike of the Week: Hit East Lake Creek for options to hike deep into the Holy Cross Wilderness, or for a half-day hike

East Lake Creek out of Edwards is an easy to moderate trail with aspen groves and options to take it easy or push yourself.

Getting there

Take Lake Creek Road out of Edwards. When the road splits take the right fork, West Lake Creek Road, following the signs to the East and West Lake Creek Trailheads. Proceed past the hairpin turn that also serves as the trailhead for the West Lake Creek trail and park in the small parking lot on the left side of the road.

What to expect

The East Lake Creek trail travels deep into the heart of the Holy Cross Wilderness. In its entirety, the trail takes you 12 miles up the E. Lake Creek valley to Upper Camp Lake. However, a great half-day option is to hike just under 3 miles to where the trail meets the creek, for a 6-mile round-trip hike.

The first 2 miles of the trail are different from most trails in the Vail area, in that it is more rolling in nature. However, don’t let this deceptively challenging trail fool you. The short climbs add up, and you have just as much elevation to gain on the return trip. The first climb out of the parking area pass through one of the larger aspen clones in the valley.

The trail passes a junction with the Dead Dog trail – another challenging option – and climbs and descends through a few small drainages. It passes through stands of spruce, fir, and pine.

After about 1.5 miles, the trail begins a steep descent into the E. Lake Creek. Just past the wilderness boundary, the forest opens up and you will find a beautiful meadow with a large boulder, and views up the valley. This makes a nice destination, or continue another quarter mile to the bridge over the creek.

Walking Mountains Hiking Programs

Join the Walking Mountains Hiking Club for a full day hike on Tuesdays or Thursdays ($80 for the day, $500 for the season), or come along for one of our free community hikes. Our free community hikes this week are an adopt-a-trail workday on Friday, July 10 and Monday, July 13 for an alpine wildflowers hike on Shrine Ridge.

Weekly Schedule:

Thursday July 9: Walking Mountains’ Club Hike to Notch Mountain

Friday July 10: Adopt-A-Trail Work Party @ Avon Overlook Trail

Monday July 13: Backyard Backcountry: Alpine Wildflowers Half Day Hike

Tuesday July 14: Walking Mountains’ Club Hike to Iron Edge

Sustainability Tip: Why Eagle County has fire restrictions this summer, and how to protect our landscape

Before you headed out to snatch that beautiful campsite you, your friends and family had all to yourselves, did you check whether you would be breaking fire restrictions set by Eagle County? If not, you’ll have better luck next time you get out there to camp by checking Eagle County’s fire rules and by following those rules of Stage 1 Fire Restrictions, listed above, until further notice.

Whether or not you and your party were rule-breakers this past weekend, you likely value the outdoors and did your best to not burn it down for your warmth or viewing pleasure. If you succeeded, congratulations. It doesn’t matter where you spent the weekend: do you know why fires were restricted this weekend?

As Vail continues to grow, more homes and buildings are built, and the wildland-urban interface is expanded, the risk for human-caused wildfires increases. Some may know that wildfires are a natural and necessary ecological disturbance to regenerate life in a forest ecosystem. While this is true, human-caused wildfires are not equivalent to naturally occurring wildfires.

Human-induced fires are problematic for the chain reaction this sets off in close proximity to buildings and infrastructure, in comparison to igniting farther from large populations. Once a fire is started, it is difficult to contain and may be carried to surrounding forest areas. Wildfires have the ability to quickly get out of control thanks to decades of fire suppression, originally put into practice to stop the loss of property. This not only puts responders at greater risk, but quickly burns through billions of dollars. Basalt’s Lake Christine fire, which happened two years ago this past Friday, July 3, cost more than $20 million.

All in all, human-caused wildfires are not the answer to our surroundings forests’ ecological health- let’s leave that task to the professionals of our United States Forest Service. Human-caused wildfires also put residents and their homes, as well as visitors and the businesses they enjoy, at risk. However, don’t leave all the work to the Forest Service.

Here are three things you can do to help avoid and stop wildfires.

  1. If you must have a campfire to enjoy and embrace the full camping experience, bring a steel fire ring. You can even get one from the nearby Forest Service office in Minturn.
  2. If you must engage in smoking of any kind in order to relish in and savor the full Colorado experience, consider car camping. Rather than smoking in timber, brush or grass areas – most of which are dry enough to easily ignite – jump in the car, or take a scenic stroll down to a riverbed.
  3. If you must shoot off fireworks or spin sparklers around, you must do so in one of the many towns in Colorado that allow it this summer, such as Brighton, Broomfield, Dacono, Evans, Greeley, Lone Tree and Loveland.
  4. Kate Manzer is the sustainability programs coordinator for Actively Green at Walking Mountains Science Center. Cotact her at katem@walkingmountains.org.

Kate Manzer is the sustainability programs coordinator for Actively Green at Walking Mountains Science Center. Contact her at katem@walkingmountains.org.

Westin Riverfront in Avon holds seminar on nutrition for immunity to illness

The Athletic Club at The Westin is hosting a special nutrition lecture titled Optimizing Immunity: COVID-19 Edition on Thursday, July 9 at 5:30 p.m.

Led by Certified Master Nutritionist Therapist Christine Pierangeli, this event will teach you how to optimize your immunity to illness. Pierangeli will share practical tips on how healthy foods and an active lifestyle can help boost your immunity at a time when we have never felt more vulnerable. The event will feature time for Q&A and a handout featuring helpful tips will be provided.

The lecture is free for Athletic Club members and $15 for the general public. It will be held in The Westin Riverfront’s Lobby Library.

Pierangeli, who serves as the Personal Nutritionist at the Athletic Club at The Westin, earned her credentials as a Master Nutrition Therapist from Denver’s acclaimed Nutrition Therapy Institute. She believes the road to optimal wellness and peak performance is paved with knowledge, support and empowerment that will last a lifetime. 

Advance registration is highly recommended and social distancing guidelines will be followed. To sign up, please visit www.athleticclubwestin.com or call 970-790-2051.

New for this Summer, the Athletic Club at The Westin is now offering an extensive schedule of outdoor group exercise classes designed to accomodate for social distancing. Those classes include Vinyasa yoga, Flow & Restore yoga, HIIT, Interval Weight Training and Total Body Conditioning. Led by professional trainers, the classes take place on the resort’s 4,000 square foot Event Lawn, giving practitioners plenty of room to spread out while also enjoying the sounds of the Eagle River running below.