Rau: Sunshine comes to Grand County at last
June 18, 2015
Welcome sunshine at last! Everything is green and lush again. But the warm days are continuing to melt snow in the high country so the water will continue to rise for the next week or so.
Rivers are full and a bit dangerous for the inexperienced. Be careful and go boating with those in the know with the proper equipment. Be sure to check steamflows on websites like Mountainbuzz or U.S. Geological Service to see when flows are above recommended levels.
The U.S. Forest Service reports roads and trails are beginning to get firm and open up in the lower areas. Some of the best hiking is around Monarch Lake. The four miles up Cascade Creek to the Falls is primo as well as the Trek to Adams Falls and the additional mile to the meadow. You will find snow as you go up to Crater Lake or the back side of Monarch going up the High Lonesome. Doe Creek off County Road 6 is open for a ways then gets really wet.
This is still the time of year for mud or hiking boots, not tennis shoes or flip flops. Be careful in muddy areas but please don't braid the trails causing damage that will take years to repair. Be prepared to walk through those muddy or snowy areas or turn back and find a dry trail. Call the Forest Service or National Park Service before you go to higher elevations since many high meadows are still brown or even frozen, like Meadowcreek Reservoir and Junco Lake areas, which are still closed. You will get to continuous snow less than an hour up Jim Creek as well.
The lower trails like the Fraser to Granby or the Granby Ranch trails are in good condition and the early flowers will be spectacular for the next several weeks. Enjoy these while you can as many bloom for only a week or two.
THE FLOWER REPORT
From local naturalist Patricia Berman: Patricia hiked Sheep (Snow) Mountain this week. Many flowers and shrubs are blooming under the pine trees. If you want to identify the flowers and shrubs you are seeing on your hikes she recommends Guide to Colorado Wildflowers: Mountains, Vol 2., by G. K. Guennel, the Colorado Rocky Mountain Wildflower App by High Country Apps and the website SW Colorado Wildflowers (covers the wildflowers on the Western Slope). If you want to test drive the App go to the website, scroll to the bottom and click on "Recent Additions."
KNIGHTS RIDGE MAINTENANCE
The Forest Service has had a crew of 15 working hard for several weeks to clear the popular Knights Ridge trail affected by beetle kill dead trees and blowdowns for several years. This area in the Indian Peaks Wilderness has been closed because of the dangerous conditions but cleanup work has been authorized this summer by the District Ranger. Because the work is done in the Indian Peaks Wilderness, all work is being done with crosscut saws and hand tools. No mechanized equipment or wheeled vehicles are allowed in designated Wilderness areas.
Grand County Wilderness Group is participating in this project June 25-26 – Thursday and Friday. Overnight volunteers need camping gear, food and supplies while day helpers need appropriate clothing, water, sunscreen and insect repellent. A Forest Service boat will leave both days promptly at 9 a.m. from the Stillwater Boat Ramp where there is plenty of parking available to take people to the camp site-work site. For the return trip, the boat will be there promptly at 3:30 p.m. weather permitting. Be prepared to bivouac or hike approximately 4 miles to the Shadow Mountain Dam if there are afternoon storms.
This Saturday is the Habitat Hobble 5K and 10K Fun Run with registration starting at 8 a.m. at Cooper Creek Square. Next week Shining Stars Foundation hosts the Winter Park Half Marathon and 5K on June 27 at Grand Park running almost entirely on dirt roads and trails. All proceeds bring hope to children with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses. For more information, call 970-726-8009 or email Race@ShiningStarsFoundation.org.
Local runner competes
Please cheer on Tabor Scholl, Kremmling graduate, as she runs this year in one of the most prestigious races in the country. Qualifying among the top high school runners in the nation, Tabor, her brother Tyler, and parents Shawn and Stephanie are on the go every weekend to events like the Albuquerque Classic Steeple Chase, Portland Track Festival and the Brooks PR Invitational this weekend in Seattle. How's that for summer "race-cations"? Go Tabor!