Wisdom from a Master

By Virginia Parker Staat

“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.

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Colorado’s Surprising Eastern Plains

Text and photos by Jack Olson

Paint Mines Interpretive Park on Colorado's Eastern Plains
Gaunt yet colorful terrain in Paint Mines Interpretive Park on Colorado’s Eastern Plains. © Jack Olson

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.

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Let’s Have a Conference!

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.

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Spring in the Colorado Mountains

By Maryann Gaug

Spring frees the creek to once again jump, gurgle and sing as it wends its way along the trail. © Maryann Gaug

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.

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May – June 2021

Original St. Mary's Holy Dorition Orthodox Church in Calhan, CO.
Original St. Mary’s Holy Dorition Orthodox Church in Calhan, Colorado. © Jack Olson

Click here to view and download this issue of Rocky Mountain Outdoors.

(Photo: The original St. Mary’s Holy Dorition Orthodox Church in Calhan, Colorado. See the article on page 5 of this newsletter)

A Rare Wildflower

Text and photo by Jack Olson

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. 

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