“Sometimes a person needs a story more than food to stay alive.” ~ Barry Lopez
Acclaimed nature writer Barry Lopez passed away on Christmas Day, 2020. I recently read a tribute to Lopez in the journal ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment. I learned several interesting things about the man. For example, Lopez was an accomplished photographer before he became a writer. Perhaps his beginning in photography enabled him to paint those lovely landscapes into words. Lopez was a master at writing landscapes. His lyrical descriptions earned him a National Book Award and other exemplary honors.
Springtime in Texas is a wonderful sight. Enormous clusters of wildflowers bloom along roadsides, in pastures, and in our yards. Like most Texans, David and I enjoy taking an annual pilgrimage to view this amazing array of colors.
Colorado has the highest average elevation of any state in the country, even including Alaska. Colorado is all mountains. Right? Wrong! About a third of the state is prairie; some regions are near 3,000 feet elevation.
One of the most surprising and unique areas of Colorado is Paint Mines Interpretive Park, named for the colorful bands of clay that were used by early American Indians to make paint. Fifty-five million years ago this area was a region of tropical forests. Now, animals including coyotes, hawks, rabbits, and falcons call it home.
There’s good news across the country and in New Mexico, as we begin to get the Coronavirus pandemic under control and get closer to the normal life we had in the good old days. Although there are still more questions than answers about the rest of 2021, it’s looking good that RMOWP will gather for a conference September 26-29 in Alamogordo, New Mexico, home of White Sands National Park. See the May-June issue of Rocky Mountain Outdoors for photos of the Alamogordo area.
Ron Belak, longtime RMOWP member from Kittredge, Colorado, tells us that he recently published his second book, The Fishing Guide to 800 High Lakes in Colorado. He describes it as “the most comprehensive and up-to-date fishing guide for Colorado’s high-mountain lakes, covering all of the major mountain ranges in Colorado.”
Early April and I am already seeing changes along my favorite hiking trail near my house. No, the wildflowers are not yet blooming. At 9,000 feet elevation they’re still snuggled under at least a foot of snow, gathering nutrients to burst forth in another month or two. In this country May showers bring June flowers. April embodies a battle between Winter and Spring.
Your wildflower of the day is the endangered wood lily, also known as a Rocky Mountain lily and a red lily. This flower is very, very rare. I’ve been in Colorado over 50 years and have only seen it blooming in the wild twice. The first time was in the late ’60s or early ’70s. There was a known patch by a popular trail in Rocky Mountain National Park. I saw them there once, but they were not seen again and I’m afraid someone picked them or dug them up.