A number of you have expressed concerns regarding the impact of the altitude when you travel to Estes Park later this year. The town sits at 7500 feet above sea level and should you wish to explore Rocky Mountain National Park you could find yourself on Trail Ridge Road crossing the Rocky Mountain divide at over 12,000 feet. The air gets a lot “thinner” up there! Not to worry – you can still attend the conference and have an enjoyable time if you attend to a couple of suggestions from those of us that live here.
I felt it coming on the evening before, an unexplained restlessness. A familiar stirring. I realized then what it was. I needed an altitude fix––by hiking. I had to climb something.
So I set off this morning for the mountains and the trail to King Lake, my first sustained hike of the season. The air is clear, the sky is blue, but my mind is cloudy, perhaps from too much lower altitude inactivity. Within the first mile I begin to feel resuscitated, the clarity of my mind approaching that of the sky. A beautiful day. But aren’t they all beautiful at the higher altitudes?
You’re headed due north on the high desert floor, flat as a pancake, the endless sagebrush passing by as if part of the background scenery in an endlessly looping cartoon strip. It’s not just “desert dry” here in the high mountains; there’s been a severe drought out this way recently, adding insult to injury, or for some species, for some flora, it’s led to a new opportunity amongst the survival of the fittest, as the least well-adapted drop by the wayside, fodder for nature’s Grim Reaper. It looks very much like death stalks the land, but there’s life—stubborn, defiant life, no matter how dormant or slow-moving or desiccated it may appear to the untutored eye. New life, new growth, awaits hidden behind scaly bark or buried in the sand deep enough to find succor in the surprising dampness the water table, seeping close to the surface, still providentially offers up.
RMOWP member Laurie Ford, from Glenwood, New Mexico, was awarded Best of Show in the Grant County Art Guild’s 33rd annual purchase prize contest. The contest, with the theme “The Enduring West,” was open to all New Mexico artists, and the 44 entries included a variety of mediums ranging from oil paintings and acrylics to watercolors and drawings.
Surviving a wilderness emergency begins with a recognition that somewhere, sometime you might have to spend an unplanned (not unexpected) night or two out in the backcountry. Unfortunately, the majority of people believe that it will always be someone else who is thrown from a horse; someone else who becomes the lone survivor of an aircraft accident; someone else whose car slides off of the road and they end up having to survive in the car until rescued; someone else who gets lost after taking the wrong turn in the trail when returning from an evening photo shoot. That “someone else” is in fact each one of us! Survival experiences can occur anywhere and often occur when we least expect to find ourselves in trouble – when we are least prepared to cope!
Next year’s RMOWP conference is planned in Estes Park, Colorado in September 2019, with an eye on exploring nearby Rocky Mountain National Park. Dates are Monday afternoon through Thursday evening, September 9 to 12. Continue reading 2019 Conference Set