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Nordic skiing & snow shoeing in the Crestone area

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Nordic skiing &  snow shoeing  in the Crestone area

  by the Crestone Nordic Ski Alliance  The snow is here and hopefully we will be getting more soon! There are a number of skiing, riding, and snow shoeing opportunities in the Crestone area.  For those who like to Nordic ski, the US Forest Service has closed FS Road 949 up to the South Crestone/Willow Lakes […]

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Solstice celebrations in the Southwest

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Solstice celebrations in the Southwest

by Mary Lowers One thing all humans have in common is celebration on or near the solstices, the longest and shortest days of the year, June 21 and December 21. As we approach the shortest day of the year or longest night as some refer to it, regional celebrations to bring the light back seem […]

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The history of Japanese settlers in the San Luis Valley

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The history of  Japanese settlers in the San Luis Valley

by Mary Lowers Since the last decades of the nineteenth century Japanese have been part of the ethnic and cultural fabric of the San Luis Valley (SLV).  The Japanese ventured to new homes in the US, Canada, Hawaii (not a state until 1959), Mexico, and South America for economic reasons, as with many immigrant groups.  […]

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The science behind autumn colors in the San Luis Valley

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The science  behind autumn colors  in the San Luis Valley

About birds and trees and flowers and water-craft; a certain free margin, and even vagueness—perhaps ignorance, credulity—helps your enjoyment of these things, and of the sentiment of feather’d, wooded, river, or marine Nature generally.  I repeat it—don’t want to know too exactly, or the reasons why. -Walt Whitman . . . The gods are growing […]

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The new Moffat School is open for classes

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The new Moffat School  is open for classes

by Larry Joseph Calloway After a delightful ribbon-cutting, the new Moffat Consolidated School is now open for classes from preschool through 12th grade. It’s a friendly and secure digital-age complex attuned to the harsh climate of the San Luis Valley. It has energy-efficient solar heating and natural cooling. It has operable north-facing windows in all […]

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Annual Crestone Energy Fair August 28-30

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Annual Crestone  Energy Fair August 28-30

The 26th Annual Crestone Energy Fair August 27-30 is proud to welcome the Collective Bio-Diesel Conference (CBC) to this year’s event. There will be a welcome reception on Thursday August 27 for the Collective Bio-Diesel Conference at the Crestone Charter School starting at 5pm.   The Collective Biodiesel Conference is geared toward active and open […]

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Historic floods in the high desert & the Crestone flood of 1911

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Historic floods  in the high desert &  the Crestone flood of 1911

  by Mary Lowers As James McCalpin tells us in Crestone: Gateway to Higher Realms, “the San Luis Valley (SLV) is the driest part of Colorado despite its high elevation it averages only seven to eight inches of precipitation yearly.” The Valley is classified as a high desert arid climate where precipitation increases with elevation. […]

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Tiny houses: The next big thing, or too close for comfort?

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Tiny houses: The next big thing, or too close for comfort?

  by Carrie Caverly In the land of “McMansions” where the average house size has swelled to 2,600sf, a petite countercultural version of home is rolling into the neighborhood: the Tiny House. “Drawn by the prospect of financial freedom, a simpler lifestyle and limiting one’s environmental footprint, more buyers are opting to downsize—in some cases, […]

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Building Ed’s house: Living with the sun

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Building Ed’s house: Living with the sun

  by Paul Shippee Meet Ed, a retired sociologist who taught innovative classes at colleges and prisons. Now he is building a “healthy house,” his off-grid, passive solar home in Crestone. “This is my first owner-built home, and my last,” he told me when I asked about his building experience. Ed is an unusually conscientious, […]

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Alferd Packer, famous Colorado cannibal

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Alferd Packer, famous Colorado cannibal

by Mary Lowers “In the state of Colorado In the year of ‘74 They crossed the San Juan Mountains Growing hungry to the core. Their guide was Alferd Packer And they trusted him too long. For his character was weak And his appetite was strong.” -from the “Ballad of Alferd Packer” by Phil Ochs Alfred […]

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Gray & Hooker’s Blanca Peak expedition: The Asian connection

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Gray & Hooker’s  Blanca Peak expedition:  The Asian connection

by David Lee Behind the accompanying photograph by the celebrated photographer William Henry Jackson, is a story connected to Crestone and the Baca. The photo was taken at La Veta Pass on July 25, 1877, about 30 miles southeast of Crestone as the crow flies.  The party had been assembled by Ferdinand V. Hayden, who […]

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Homesteading with camels: A recipe for success

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Homesteading  with camels: A recipe for success

by Leigh Mills My husband and I have lived in the San Luis Valley for 13 years; in that time we’ve seen some unusual things.  When I heard of the new camel dairy in Moffat, I thought “Camel dairy here?  That’s pretty strange . . . how perfect!”  As someone who’s practiced a little animal […]

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Early ranching in the San Luis Valley: Mexican settlers & the pioneering Trujillo family ranch near the Great Sand Dunes

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Early ranching in the  San Luis Valley: Mexican settlers & the pioneering Trujillo  family ranch near the Great Sand Dunes

by Mary Lowers Ranching and mining put food on the table for many diverse groups. Over the span of time, rich grass, abundant water and accessible passes have drawn herds and hunters to the northern San Luis Valley (SLV). Smithsonian archeologists Pegi Jodry and Dennis Stanford uncovered the remains of mammoth bison and a kill […]

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1900s Winter in the Rocky Mountains

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1900s Winter in the Rocky Mountains

by Mary Lowers As summer flowers freeze in pots on the porch, even the dog tries to sleep in until the sun’s warmth hits the house, and with snow on the peaks surrounding us we prepare for winter. The San Luis Valley is a high mountain desert with an average precipitation of 10” annually. In […]

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Make your house serve your life

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Make your house serve your life

  by Kelly Hart There are many reasons for remodeling. It could be the desire for greater comfort in your home from improved insulation or heating and cooling options. Or perhaps you want to create new space for activities or family members. Or maybe you hope to achieve increased efficiency and savings on utility bills. […]

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Rails roll in the San Luis Valley

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Rails roll in the San Luis Valley

by Mary Lowers After the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (1847) ended the Mexican American War, vast territory now known as the American Southwest opened to development (some would argue exploitation) and settlement. Native Americans and former citizens of Mexico occupied these newly won lands, the Mormons claimed Utah, but there still was room for more, […]

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Baca National Wildlife Refuge to open visitor center

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Baca National  Wildlife Refuge to open visitor center

by Larry Joseph Calloway The Baca National Wildlife Refuge is coming out of rehab. It’s going cautiously public, without enough money. A 3,300-square-foot visitor center with a striking view of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains is under construction at the historic Baca Ranch headquarters. And the long-considered 15-year management plan will become available this month […]

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Gold fever in the San Luis Valley

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Gold fever  in the San Luis Valley

  by Mary Lowers Since the first few explorers of European origin entered the San Luis Valley (SLV) stories of gold and silver discoveries have been told.  Not all of the tales were fantasy. From 1859 to the present, Colorado mines have produced over forty-five million troy ounces of gold. The mines on the west […]

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The Sangre de Cristo Fault & Crestone’s role in earthquake studies

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The Sangre de Cristo Fault & Crestone’s role  in earthquake studies

  by James P. McCalpin Crestone played a pivotal role in the development of the science of studying large earthquakes and the hazards posed by them. It continues to play an important role by example even today. This odd situation resulted from the chance events described below. Geologists have long known that the Sangre de […]

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by Larry Calloway Tom Tucker spreads his fingers. This is the way the water used to run, he says. Spanish Creek, like the others that flow through the Baca Grande subdivision, no longer fans out as it pours into the San Luis Valley. Its newborn water from the high basin south of Kit Carson Peak […]

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The Origami House— innovative next steps in the self-sufficient dwelling House design & construction by Burt Wadman

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The Origami House— innovative  next steps in the  self-sufficient dwelling House design & construction by Burt Wadman

by  Patrick Moore Forget the notion of any house you’ve ever seen or thought of. Architect Burt Wadman has designed and built a boldly original, conscientiously engineered, super efficient off-grid home which does not compromise life style in traditional senses and is beautiful. It is classified as “fortified construction” to endure extreme weather conditions, and […]

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