Postcards from the Wilderness: Lost Creek 3

It this wilderness of huge things: Huge rock formations, huge trees and forests, some of the wonderful scenes are actually quite small, like this feast going on among flying insects (please click on each photo to see a large version):



If you look closely, you can see two butterflies sucking nectar out of a thistle, and two bee flies doing the same, while a honey bee, a mosquito, and a gnat are hovering nearby, waiting their turn.




Meanwhile, on the other side of the meadow, a young and healthy stand of aspens shades the understory of the forest.



My backpacking buddy, John Stephens, brought along his 4X5 view camera, which added at least 12 pounds to his pack, but there is no substitute for that large format, and I am in awe that he chose to shoot film on the trip, while I chose a DSLR Nikon and zoom lens.




Here’s a fireweed flower growing among a spruce tree’s boughs. I don’t know why they call it a weed, because it is quite pretty.



Last shot in this postcard edition, a view of aspens through one of the many windows in the scattered boulders that characterize Lost Creek Wilderness.



Postcards from the Wilderness:

Lost Creek Wilderness 2

Spending a night in McCurdy Park can be a beautiful experience. The rock formations all around are stunning, especially in the dawn and dusk hours. You might have to hike a little to find water, and there is not an abundance of firewood, but experienced backpackers should have no problems.












Postcards from the Wilderness: Lost Creek 1

Congress passed and President Lyndon Johnson signed the Wilderness Act on September 3, 1964. In the nearly 40 years since, Americans have learned to enjoy the great outdoors without significant intrusion from modern society and technology.

Machines are not allowed, even by U.S. Forest Service field employees who perform minimal trail maintenance. No motor vehicles are allowed, and neither are mountain bikes. Horses are allowed, as well as hikers. Hunting and other uses which were permitted prior to passing of the Wilderness Act, including grazing cattle are permitted, and there are some private holdings inside various wilderness areas which are grandfathered in, as far as their continued use.

The act created the National Wilderness Preservation System. The initial wilderness areas comprised 9.1 million acres of national forest wilderness areas in the United. The current area designated by the NWPS as wilderness totals 757 areas encompassing 109.5 million acres of federally owned land in 44 states and Puerto Rico, or 5 percent of the land in the United States.

Lost Creek Wilderness, named for the creek which disappears and reappears several times, as it seemingly merges into a rocky mountain side, and then re-emerges somewhere downstream, began as a scenic area, before being included in the new Wilderness Act. Lost Creek Wilderness is 119,790 acres of fantastic rock formations, diverse forests, wild flower showcases, trout streams, and water features.

The Hayman Fire in 2002 destroyed 138,114 acres of forest, affecting a small part of Lost Creek Wilderness.
Lost Creek joins Goose Creek, which in turn joins the South Platte River and contributes to Denver’s water supply at Cheesman Reservoir.

One of the finest backpacking trips is the “Goose Creek Loop,” which picks up west of Cheesman Reservoir at the trailhead. It is about 20 miles, and with backpacking gear is pretty manageable during three days.
Getting an early start on the first day, and choosing to progress through the loop in either direction will allow you to find water and fantastic scenery. The total vertical climb (and loss since it is a loop) is 5,585 feet. That’s a lot of climbing, more than a mile up and back down again, during the course of your 20 mile hike. Here’s a map and description: http://www.oriconline.org/what_to_do/trails_and_trips/backpacking_trips/q-goose_creek_loop.pdf

One of the highlights of this hike is McCurdy Park, with great mountain peaks, rock formations and wildlife. Moose frequent this spot. Camping there can be challenging since you have to hike a little to find water, but it’s there. Also a challenge is finding firewood, so cooking on a stove is recommended. Waking up in the morning with the sun illuminating the rock formations and the sky is a treat not to be missed. During the evening there are probably a million stars in the darkest sky.

More to come!

Wild fire support provided by United Water

In arid Colorado, fire departments have a hard enough time finding water, especially during a drought. United Water of Colorado has pitched in as a good neighbor, by designing water reservoirs that can provide water, free of charge, to fire departments, and to helicopters needing water.

Where does that water come from?

Most people don’t even think about where water comes from. They turn on the tap, and water comes out! But here in Colorado, all water belongs to somebody, and that simple act of turning on the faucet involved a very complicated, very expensive process.

A new way to cure cancer

Working with Pfizer, the University of Colorado Hospital Cancer Center has cleared clinical trials on the drug Crizotinib, which has proven to stop certain lung cancers in their tracks, returning patients to normal life within days of beginning treatment.

UCH tests the patients’ tumors genetically to see which drug is most likely to perform best, and then proceeds with administering the correct drug. Unlike chemotherapy, which broadly treats cancers, causing lots of terrible side effects, Crizotinib and other targeted drug therapies don’t make the patient sick, and results are nearly immediate.

Patient Andy Bonnett commented “I almost forget that I have cancer,” after recently taking a bike ride. Bonnett also surfs, skis and snowboards, and mountain hikes. It is quite a contrast to his time with chemotherapy, languishing and suffering in a darkened room, confined to his bed.

Hyperborea Trip Camps Story

For 20 years, Ken Crady took teenage students on excursions, each lasting from as little as a week, to as long as 80 days. Camping and learning about the outdoors, as well as learning how things worked, and how to be part of a team of your fellow campers taught these kids how to be successful adults.


Watch this video, and then go camping, get some exercise, and see your world up close and personal.

Changing Aspen means winter is coming

As aspens in Colorado begin to turn, we locals know it is time to prepare for winter, as do the trees and the animals.

Cardiac Cook’s Quips


Cardiologist Richard Collins makes remarks about how a healthy diet can improve heart health. Gentle reminders that everyone could do a little bit to eat better and enjoy life more.

Cardiac Cook’s Quips

 Dick Dale Burns Down The House



One question that frequently comes up when interviewing a performer, is “who influenced your style?” In the case of Dick Dale, he pretty much invented his own style by himself. His band, the Del Tones, was a pretty average early rock band in the early ’60s, but it wasn’t long before Dale started trying new things.

To begin with, he’s a lefty playing a left-hand guitar which is strung like a right-hand guitar. You can’t just take a few lessons and learn how to play a guitar that way. You have to teach yourself. And just as bizarre, the upside-down strung instrument has big fat, almost piano wire strings. Fender custom makes Dale’s guitars with stronger necks to withstand the extra tension.

Then there is his unconventional full-on shredding style. It varies from loud to louder, from fast to faster. Full of energy, flowing out of him like an endless dynamo. Listening to his more contemporary arrangement of his famous “Mizerlou,” compared to his early version (with strings!), you would think they are two different artists. Dick Dale continues to evolve and look forward, while still getting some mileage out of early works.

It is no exaggeration to say he is unique.

Other contemporary guitar players have their own voices too, but it would be fair to say Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton all were blues-rock influenced players. Mark Knopfler is a Certified Guitar Player, anointed as such by the great Chet Atkins, and they both were strongly influenced by Western guitar styles.

But what influenced Dick Dale? Perhaps the waves of the ocean as he surfed and connected with nature in Southern California? He is pretty much a self-invented musician, still going strong well into his ’70s.

Keep your eyes peeled for a Dick Dale concert. He still tours at least 6 months out of the year, and usually plays smaller clubs, so you can see and hear him up close! The photos above were made by Robert D. Tonsing at the Coach House in San Juan Capistrano, California, August 24, 2007.