10 things to do before the snow flies
You know the season is changing. Nights are cooler. There’s that dusting of snow that comes and goes from the Sawatch range. School has started and the garden is ready to harvest.And what about all those things you intended to do during the summer?Don’t fret. There’s still time. Here’s a list of 10 things that will keep you busy through fall.Play the marketWhat: There are three primary farmer’s markets in the Eagle Valley – Minturn, Vail and Edwards. All three are winding down, but will continue into September.Where: Minturn – located in downtown Minturn. Park at the U.S. Forest Service office and take a shuttle to the market. Vail – on Meadow Drive, just south of the Vail Transportation Center. Edwards – in the parking lot area of The Corner at Edwards site. Underground parking.When: The Minturn Market is open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays through Sept. 8. The Vail Farmer’s Market is open from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sundays through Sept. 16. The Edwards Farmers Market is open from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays through Sept. 22.What’s cool: Whether its fresh Olathe sweet corn, Rocky Ford cantaloupe or the crown jewel of Western Slope produce -fresh peaches – the local farmer’s markets are a culinary treasure trove. In addition to fresh fruit and vegetables, the markets also offer homemade jams, jellies, salsa, tortilla chips and a plethora of pasta. Other wares include everything from French linens to beaded jewelry to hand-woven baskets. Our personal suggestion: Check out the Ruth’s Toffee stand in Edwards. Homemade in Bedrock, Colo., it’s the most delectable sweet we’ve tasted in years.- Pam BoydListen up!What: Sunday Sounds Concert Series
Where: Gypsum’s Lundgren TheaterWhen: Sunday, Sept. 9 – Halden Wofford and the Hi Beams (old time country); Sunday, Sept. 16 – The Informants (rockabilly, vintage R&B)Time: 5 p.m.What’s cool: If the summer has slipped away and you haven’t yet taken in an outdoor concert, you are missing one of the great entertainment options of the Colorado high country. The town of Gypsum’s Sunday Sounds offerings will continue into September. Pack a picnic, pack up the kids and enjoy some free entertainment in a great park setting.- Pam BoydBike the CanyonWhat: The mountains around Eagle County are woven with great trails to explore, many of them perfect for an afternoon mountain bike ride. But if you want a good, safe road ride experience, the Glenwood Canyon Recreational Trail still offers one of the best overall experiences in scenery, ridability and amenities.Fall is the perfect time for a canyon ride. The leaves and scrub brush will be turning gold and russet, and the pleasantly cool weather makes for good riding.Where: Glenwood CanyonGetting there: Take Exit 133 from I-70 at Dotsero and head west on the north side of the Frontage Road until it ends at the Eastern Trailhead.Details: The Glenwood Canyon Recreational Trail spans 18 miles, and the path is smoothly paved at an easy grade. You can bring the entire family on the ride, from toddlers (in bike seats) to teenagers. There are rest stops along the way that offer a bathroom break and picnic space and riverfront to explore. Stop and watch the rafters and kayakers navigate the whitewater.What’s cool: The canyon walls are awe-inspiring (look high up for old Ute Indian caves.) Plus, you can make an entire day of it. Take a side trip and hike 1.5 miles up Hanging Lake Trail or, once you reach Glenwood, take a dip in the hot springs pool. Have lunch, and then shop downtown before heading back home – you can work off that dessert!- Connie SteiertCatch a fishWhat: Fishing, like baseball, continues to be a great pasttime well into fall. One of the best downvalley fishing holes is Crooked Creek Pass. At one time a private resort, this little treasure is now owned by the Forest Service, and is open to all. There’s a small lake, and several man-made ponds further back. The brook trout can be a bit spooky; but fly fishermen with a little skill can lure them.Where: Crooked Creek Pass is located about 7 miles beyond Sylvan Lake.Getting there: Head south of Eagle on Brush Creek Road for 10 miles. Take the right hand fork. At 5 miles, you’ll hit Sylvan Lake. Keep going another 7 miles on the maintained dirt road. Crooked Creek reservoir is on the left hand side of the road.What’s cool: This is a great place to fish using a belly boat. Also, the old cabins from the resort days are still in place (but not open to the public). Keep going on the road a bit, and you’ll find the trailheads for Eagle Lake and Strawberry Lakes. The right hand fork goes all the way to the Frying Pan, which also has great fishing.- Kathy Heicher
Pack a picnicWhat: Forget the picnic table in the crowded park. Get adventurous. Pull on the hiking boots, sling on the backpack, grab the kids and the dog.Where: Flat TopsGetting there: Take I-70 west to the Dotsero exit. Take a right on the Colorado River Road. Go 1.8 miles to Coffee Pot Road and turn left. Drive another roughly 13 miles until you reenter the White River Forest. Details: From the ranger information sign there are several perfect picnic options. Coffee Pot Campground is tucked in a large stand of aspens, three miles up the road. The campground sits at 10,100 feet, and offers secluded spots, complete with picnic tables and great views of the surrounding mountains. Or, drive roughly 15 miles beyond Coffee Pot Campground to Heart Lake. It’s the perfect place to picnic, cool your toes on a hot, Indian summer day, or cast your fishing line. Pull out the sleeping bag and stay for a picnic the next day, too. Better still, create your own picnic spot. There are hiking trails, meadows of wildflowers and deep groves of trees all along the way. This reporter perched on a rock outcropping overlooking Deep Creek Canyon. What’s cool: The Flat Tops span more than one county, and views are 360 degrees, with elevation changes from a subalpine 9,000 feet to tundra terrain at 12,000. Even on a busy weekend, there’s plenty of places where you are likely to see nary a soul – except the abundant wildlife. – Connie SteiertLook upWhat: Stargazing in the Eagle ValleyWhere: Anywhere … but the view is better if you trek out of town.What’s cool: One of the great things about living in the heart of the mountains is the view of the nighttime sky, unencumbered by city lights. The Milky Way twinkles overhead. Even the most amateur astronomy student can pick out key constellations. To make the most of a stargazing outing, visit SkyandTelescope.com and download “Getting Started in Astronomy: An easy guide to exploring the universe.” The guide includes star charts and a moon map. Armed with nothing more than a pair of binoculars, neophyte stargazers can visually navigate the skies overhead.- Pam BoydGrab a good readWhat: Regardless of the season, it’s always the right time for a great bookWhere: The shelves are loaded at the Eagle and Gypsum Public librariesWhen: Both facilities will be closed for the Labor Day weekend (Saturday through Monday); but will be keeping regular hours otherwise.What’s cool: Everybody has a favorite read. Here’s some of ours from this summer. If you have been in a cave on a desert island, perhaps you didn’t hear that the finale of the Harry Potter series – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – debuted in July. It’s a fitting conclusion to the much-loved series. Our recommended reads list also included “Animal Dreams” by Barbara Kingsolver and “Saving Fish from Drowning” by Amy Tan. And finally, our best summer read was “Shadow of the Wind” by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, a rich novel set in post-war Barcelona.- Pam Boyd
Go for the goldWhat: Photo tour of spectacular fall scenery. The foliage ranges from the luminescent gold of the aspen leafs to the burning red of oak brush.Where: East or West Brush Creek; Gypsum Creek, Lake Creek.Getting there: East and West Brush Creek are located about 10 miles south of Eagle on Brush Creek Road. Take your choice at the forks in the road. Both sides are beautiful. Gypsum Creek is accessible via Valley Road in Gypsum – just head south. Lake Creek is accessible off of Highway 6, south of Edwards.What’s cool: Bring a camera – spectacular shots are guaranteed. Bring the family, pack a picnic, and make a day of it.- Kathy HeicherTake a hikeWhat: Have a high country adventure at Nolan Lake, located in the Holy Cross Wilderness. You won’t run into ATV’s or mountain bikers on this venture. This is a 3.4 mile hike (one way) with a 1,480 foot elevation gain. The trail begins out of Upper Fulford, and follows Nolan Creek. There’s some steep stretches, a cascading waterfall, and some great mountain scenery along the way. Once at the lake, enjoy a backpacker’s picnic, or try some fishing.Where: Accessible from East Brush Creek, south of Eagle.Getting there: Head south out of Eagle on Brush Creek Road; at the forks, take the East side. Drive 6.7 miles past the Yeoman Park Campground to Nolan Creek Road (Forest Service Road 418. Take a left, drive another 3.6 miles to the trailhead.What’s cool: To start the hike, you’ll pass through Upper Fulford, a one-time thriving mining boomtown. You’ll see the remains of the turn-of-the-century assay office, and the remnants of some old miner’s cabin. Legend has it there is a lost gold mine in the area, so keep a sharp eye out.- Kathy HeicherTime travelWhat: Pay a visit to the Eagle County Historical Museum. Located in a one-time dairy barn in Eagle, the museum complex includes an old railroad caboose, a blacksmith shop, and the reconstructed Avon General Store – which gives new meaning to “one stop shopping.” Inside the barn is a treasure trove of artifacts that reveal the county’s history from Native Americans to ski area development.Where: Located in Chambers Park in Eagle.When: The season is growing short. The museum will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Saturday, Sept. 8.Getting there: Take the Eagle exit off of I-70, and head just a short distance south on Eby Creek Road. Turn right at the traffic light by the Eagle Diner. The road curves down a short distance. The museum is the big white barn on the left.What’s cool: Look carefully in the museum. You’ll find dioramas of the Gilman mine and a Burns Hole cattle shipping operation. Look for the old-time washing machine that doubles as an ice-cream maker and for the old Castle Peak Dairy wagon. There’s no admission price – but the Eagle County Historical Society appreciates any donations.- Kathy Heicher
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