The challenges of functioning effectively – and safely, in a cold environment are directly related to your ability to protect yourself from the ambient temperature, precipitation and wind. While accurate numbers are difficult to come by, it is estimated that about 600 people die each year from accidental hypothermia – many of these, about 50%, are elderly. As with heat challenges, the emphasis needs to be an awareness of the environmental threats, on early recognition of what is happening, minimizing the risk and then on effective treatment of hypothermia should it occur.
One of the great opportunities of the RMOWP organization through the years has been the annual photo workshop. This long-standing summer ritual has provided first-class, professional instruction in nature photography for the many participants who signed up and showed up, wanting to improve their skills in the beauty of Rocky Mountain National Park. Most recently, coordinator Nic Showalter and instructors Jared Gricoskie and Fred Lord have for the past 11 years created a remarkable learning experience and contribution to the field of photography. Individuals from several states across the country have taken part. It has been a good run indeed.
There have been times in my life, and I suspect in yours, that something has happened where your life was placed in danger but you managed to avoid a catastrophe by sheer luck. These are the “near misses” in our lives that we all experience from time to time. I suspect that for every accident that happens there are probably dozens, if not hundreds, maybe thousands, of “near misses.” Situations that we seldom hear about, but situations that we could learn from if we were made aware of the details.
Where: Estes Park, Colorado (elevation about 7,500 feet) When: Monday through Thursday, September 9-12 Why: Rocky Mountain National Park Headquarters:800 Moraine Avenue Event Center at Trout Haven Resorts, just outside the Beaver Meadows entrance to the park
RMOWP welcomes new member Randy Watkins of Cushing, Oklahoma. A photographer, lecturer, and artist, Randy is a native Oklahoman, having been born in Stillwater, according to his website. About himself, Randy writes, “Something in my being finds Oklahoma nature and its myriad forms and textures absolutely enthralling. Oklahoma’s land, water, the astonishing variety of cloud shapes and the play of light on them all, in these I sense a peculiar and profound beauty… This is my art, this is my land and people. I wish to share it with you.” To see some of Randy’s photography visit his website, www.randywatkinsphotography.com.
Ron Belak, RMOWP member from Evergreen, Colorado, has announced the recent publication of his book, Fly Fishing Colorado’s Backcountry.
The book is a collection of articles that originally appeared in Colorado Outdoorsmagazine, the official publication of Colorado Parks and Wildlife, and Ron tells us that all the essays in this how-to book were updated in 2018. Although aimed primarily at backcountry anglers in Colorado, he says that over half the essays are relevant to fly fishing for trout anywhere.
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.