UP BEAR CREEK | From Drought to Monsoon
by Art Goodtimes
Jul 29, 2013 | 2618 views | 0 0 comments | 67 67 recommendations | email to a friend | print

GULLYWASHERS … It’s been one of those unpredictable Rocky Mountain spring/summers. One of the worst droughts in memory for most of May, June and July, and then monsoon downpours that flood both sections of the San Miguel Canyon – the Placerville to Norwood stretch first, and then a couple days later the Placerville to Deep Creek segment. The area around Newmire (Vanadium) was hit particularly hard. All the culverts got totally clogged, and water was running across the highway in one spot just upstream from the Silver Pick Road, even after most of the mud had been scraped off the highway … Road crews did a great job – both our local CDOT workers and our shorthanded but ever capable County Road and Bridge Department. Sheriff Bill Masters even did a handheld video drive-through that he posted online – better than any newscast … But, truth to tell, the unexpected is one of the things I love about the San Juans. It’s difficult terrain. Subject to rockfall, mudslide, avalanche, highway wildlife and wild storms. Not for the faint of heart … To live in the mountains, through all the various seasons – snow, mud, heat and rain – takes a special kind of person. Someone able to risk dangers and survive adversity. Soft city people need not apply. And yet even urban refugees can learn to adjust, if they’re willing. And motivated. And if they have the help of their neighbors, because that’s the secret of living in the rural West. It takes a rugged individual to cope with calamities, but it takes a community to support an individual’s grit.


RASTA TOM … Friends and family of former Tellurider Thomas A. Herzog held a celebration of his life this past weekend on his land at Haycamp Mesa near Dolores, where he’d built his cabin and shop. A fine carpenter, he came to Telluride in the early 80s and developed a reputation for craftsmanship, exquisite ironwork and jewelry … Diane Adelson, also a former Tellurider, had become his loving partner. She nursed him through the final illness that claimed his life last month … His family was quoted in the obituary that ran in the Cortez papers: “A Renaissance man with a quick, wry sense of humor and a legacy of selfless giving, his motto was ‘One Love.’ His Harley often sat in the warmth of his solar-powered living room” … He will be missed.


PES REPORT … The report I co-wrote with Linda Luther, Dr. Joshua Goldstein and Shayna Brause regarding San Miguel County’s successful Payment for Ecosystem Services pilot project is finished. It was the final requirement of my Colorado State University’s Center for Collaborative Conservation fellowship I received in 2010. The paper details the entire process of paying ranchers and county landowners to allow a Colorado Natural Heritage Program botanist to inventory for rare species on suitable private lands. Two new populations of one rare plant was found – one clump significant enough to draw an A rating from CNHP (indicating hundreds of plants in good condition) … The San Miguel County Open Space Commission is considering a more expansive PES project to help ranchers in doing habitat restoration for the Gunnison Sage-Grouse, given the success of the pilot.


CAT TALES … That’s the name of a new column in the Dove Creek Press by Cathe Hill – for the last several years music teacher at the Dove Creek School and now retired. Cathe, a marvelous singer, and her painter husband Bruce used to live in Norwood and continue to have lots of friends in both communities.


SHARLENE NUSSER … This lifelong Nucla’s resident  is making waves with her new crime novel, Burn Valley Vengeance (Foolscap & Quill, Littleton, 2012). Set in Montrose County, the romance-mystery has garnered some good reviews and Nusser is making the rounds of libraries and bookstores in the region, from Grand Junction to Dolores. According to the author, Burn Valley is really Nucla, but lots of other locations are familiar to San Miguel Basin folks – Norwood, Naturita, Dove Creek … It’s the 12th of 14 novels she’s written, but the first to make it to publication. As she told the San Miguel Basin Forum, though the locations are real, the story and the characters are completely fiction … Available locally and online.


SHOES … Doc Homer was right in Barbara Kingsolver’s novel, Animal Dreams (Harper Collins, 1990). It’s the shoes, all sizes, all purposes … I prize my leonine collection. Orthotic leather slip-ons. Spring mud boots. Ankletop tennis shoes. Summer Vibram lace-ups. Sandals. Flip-flops. And my furry L.L. Bean moccasins … Changing shoes is like taking off city scales and slipping naked into the outdoor rock pool at Orvis. It’s turning off the world, pulling in one’s claws, and lazing with the pride.




Lone Cone Road



Gray snake cloud

with the moon for an eye

Blue sky smeared with cirrus


& then the pink & wool

pastels of daylight’s



Frogs in the Snyder pond

this drought year post-monsoon

breck-ka-ka-ex ko-axe ko-axe


But bicycling back

from the Gurley Ditch

not a peep


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