Friday, July 21, 2017

Wednesday Photos topped by Staircase

One of the most beautiful places on this earth, let alone this community starts on a lovely irrigation lake with timberline just up the (steep) hill with a narrow trail.  The diversity of flower in bloom is enough to start a discussion of "what's that."
  More than that, on the "stairsteps" and above the views on this Wednesday were exquisite.  We were entertained by the young elk who had to stop every so often to rest.  The colors of the rocks are varying from reddish to nearly black, with many in between.  Even the Columbines offer variations in shades.  And there's always one of those red flowers that brighten the view, if not the mind.

I hope that next week on Wednesday we'll find another clear day in another place on the Continental Divide.  The place is near the top of Elwood Pass.  Flowers will be abundant; we will be wary of lightning, but the colors even close to the cars are gorgeous at this time of year.  If you wish  you can take it easy while others hike for 2-3 miles out and back.  This is another of our primo sites, popular with people from Pagosa Springs, Washington, DC, and the San Luis Valley.  The non-hikers miss out a lot, but still find colors and vistas all around. 

I expect that we won't go to the lake, to keep it safe from the storm clouds. 
Thanks to Dennis for his pictures.  As you'll see here we both appreciated the numerous photogenic, plants which kept surprising us as we brushed past them.  If you have never gone part way or all the way up the Stair Steps, you owe yourself one of the finest displays of flora and rocks in our neighborhood--introduced at the beautiful lake.
— Doug Knudson  


Hunter's Lake

Death Camas

rosy paintbrush

timberline paintbrush

Meadow 4 young elk

Dennis' dragon

Stair-step Columbines


Dusky  beardtongue (Penstemon

Pretty purple Larkspur?

Monday Hike

a dainty rainbow from yesterday

The old marker for 2 trails

Another rock

nice low peak 


Marilyn at W Alder Creek

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Myrna's Hike

Ten hikers enjoyed Myrna's hike up a long hill, down a shorter one, with lunch on a rock, then up to the highest point on the trail, then back down as a pleasant rain accompanied us gently on the last part of the trip.  It turned out that 2 had walked to Santiago in Spain  and one hopes to go soon.  Their conversation was stimulating and made our little trek seem
gentle and brief.

If you've never been to Myrna's hike, ask for it and you may enjoy it.  Myrna recommended it long ago.  She was here a week ago, but took shorter strolls.  This route takes us up a hill in all seasons--shorter in winter with snowshoes, shimmering in Fall, lovely in summer and spring time.

Hikes next week are Monday and Wednesday.  The weather may allow a Wednesday hike through timberline beauty, but we'll keep from  risking danger if necessary.

Ah! Health. Vigor, and Youth


Sandwich Rock

Dennis' lunch table

Now it's a view site


Water in one place, for a while

Spanish Plans


July 13, 2017   

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In This Issue



Fee Free Logo
Dear Public Lands Supporter
Dennis shepherd

The National Park Service says the effective date for an 800% increase in the price of a lifetime Senior Pass has been set for August 28, not October 1 as previously announced. ACT NOW!

Below is the article we issued when the increase was first approved, updated with new developments. 



On Tuesday December 6, 2016, in the lame duck session of Congress, the House passed by unanimous consent a bill (HR 4680) that will eliminate the $10 lifetime Senior Pass (formerly Golden Age Pass) which has been available to citizens and permanent residents age 62 and older since 1965.

In the early hours of Saturday morning December 10, in a nearly empty Senate chamber - most members having already left for the holidays - the Senate approved the House bill by unanimous consent. It was signed by President Obama before he left office. 

The lifetime pass will track with the price of the annual America the Beautiful Pass. That price is currently $80 but can be changed at any time by the federal land management agencies, without further legislation.

For those who prefer an installment plan, a new "Senior Annual" pass will also be established at a price of $20, good for one year from the date of purchase. Four consecutive Senior Annual passes can be exchanged for a lifetime pass.

While there have been a multitude of bills introduced (and programs authorized) aimed at giving new groups free or reduced-cost access to the public lands - 4th Graders, military families, those with disabilities, veterans, volunteers - it is difficult to understand why Congress has taken this opportunity to reduce a long-standing benefit to seniors. The $20-$35 million in anticipated additional revenue (depending on whose estimate you choose) will make little dent in the Park Service's claimed maintenance backlog of $12 BILLION.

All of this was done in the guise of celebrating the centennial of the National Park Service, although why making the Parks more expensive to visit constitutes a "celebration" remains a mystery.

The benefits of the Senior Pass include entrance to all National Parks and Wildlife Refuges that charge entrance fees, for the passholder and everyone accompanying them in the same vehicle. Where an NPS unit or a Refuge charges a per-person fee, the passholder can bring in three companions age 16 or older. (Those under age 16 are free anyway.) The Senior Pass also covers Standard Amenity Fees at most Forest Service, BLM, Bureau of Reclamation, and Army Corps of Engineers sites. In addition, Senior passholders are entitled to a 50% discount on campground fees for the site they occupy, including any younger friends and family members who accompany them.

These benefits are grandfathered- (and grandmothered-) in for existing passholders. So if you have attained the age of 62 and have not yet purchased your lifetime Senior Pass, you should do it IMMEDIATELY. Passes are sold at National Parks, Forest Service, BLM and Bureau of Reclamation offices, National Wildlife Refuges, and Army Corps of Engineers recreation sites. Passes can be purchased online at the USGS Store, but online purchases will incur a $10 service charge in addition to the (for now) $10 price of the pass. Your pass is good for the rest of your life unless lost or stolen. Many people buy an extra to keep in a safe place. Doing so at this time is something to consider because buying a replacement in the future could cost you much more.

The price increase is going to take effect on August 28, 2017. That's well ahead of the previously announced effective date of October 1. So if you are going to attain age 62 before August 28, don't wait - it will cost you eight times more after that date!
The Western Slope No-Fee Coalition is a broad-based organization consisting of diverse interests including hiking, biking, boating, equestrian and motorized enthusiasts, community groups, local and state elected officials, conservatives and liberals, Republicans and Democrats, and just plain citizens.
Our goals are:
    • To eliminate recreation fees for general access to public lands managed by the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management
    • To eliminate backcountry fees and interpretive program fees in National Parks
    • To require more accountability within the land management agencies
    • To encourage Congress to adequately fund our public lands
Thank you for your support!
Kitty Benzar
Western Slope No Fee Coalition
Western Slope No Fee Coalition, P.O. Box 135, Durango, CO 81302
Sent by in collaboration with
Constant Contact

5 Monday Photos

Here are a few more pictures to file with Dennis'.  You numbered 29 people.

Wednesday hike:  The weather forecast suggests that we stay rather close in, so I'm leaning on "Myrna's hike"  (Myrna was here last week).  That gets us up high with distant views before the noon-time showers approach us.  Nevertheless you may want to bring a rain coat.  The hike allows climbing in 4WD vehicles to get us up much of the way. Then we walk a couple of miles to a great overlook.  

We'll depart from the Visitor Center at 9 a.m.  Let's bunch up to have easier parking at the trail-head.

— Doug Knudson   719-873-5239

29 hikers  



Del Norte Peak from the East side

Bug on a rose

Monday, July 10, 2017


We had a very nice evening for our outing, the moon came out for a couple of hours before the clouds moved in.  Lots of good food, fun and fellowship and a great fire thanks to Wayne and Linda..............
The smoke hid some of the valley from us when we hiked over to the lookout, the distance measured 4927 feet, for anybody that is time the distance may be different, spooky huh?

Mary and I want to thank everybody for sharing their time, talents and food with us, it was great!

We will be in Germany next full moon, if some folks would like to sponsor it here, let us know and we will help you.