Warm weather has arrived in Colorado, and many of us are looking to get outside and enjoy the great outdoors. With so many people using the same trails, parks, and open spaces, there are a few things we can all do to preserve the places that bring us so much joy.
If you’re a trail regular, you’ve probably heard this before: Leave No Trace. Pack it out. Poop responsibly. Below are a few reminders you might not hear as often but are equally important in making sure that recreation doesn’t wreck the outdoors.
Save It on a Rainy Day
It’s a gloomy day and most people will be staying home. It can be tempting to hit the trail in the rain, but water is a trail’s worst enemy and your feet or tires will only erode the trail faster. As the saying goes, you don’t have to go home… but you shouldn’t go to the trails.
If it is a sunny day and you encounter mud – splash through! Though not ideal, this is better than going around it. Stepping off-trail will widen the trail and destroy vegetation. Besides, what’s the fun in going outside if you don’t get a little dirty?
Keep Trail Mix Off the Trail
It’s easy to toss an apple core into the woods; it’s not as easy for that apple to decompose. It can take two months to break down while orange peels can take two years! Plus, your half-eaten granola bar makes the trail a tasty – and thus dangerous – place for wildlife and humans alike.
If you feel bad sending food scraps to the landfill, look into home or municipal composting options. If composting isn’t feasible for you, that’s OK! Use the trash can; don’t turn the trail into one.
Embrace Existing Trails
You may have read stories about people illegally building trails or mountain bike jumps. Even more common are “social trails”, paths worn over time by people going off-trail to take a shortcut or see a new view. But trails are built the way they are for a reason. Land managers can spend years planning a trail and how to reduce its impact on the environment. When you alter a trail or wander down a social trail, you put your short-term desires over the long-term needs of nature.
Instead of taking trails into your own hands, take part in the process. Follow land managers on social media or contact them directly to stay informed about public comment periods, open houses, and other ways to weigh in on trail changes.
Take the Trail Less Traveled
Even when you follow Leave No Trace principles, visitation has an impact. Dozens of feet add up, wearing down trails and putting extra strain on amenities like bathrooms, trash cans, and parking lots. Crowded trails also create a greater disturbance to wildlife and result in people going off-trail to get around others.
Consider giving your favorite trails a break by exploring new areas and going at off-peak times if possible. You may even find a little peace and quiet, away from other people!
Put the Public in Public Lands
Nearly three-quarters of Coloradans recreate outside, and there aren’t enough resources to keep up. Rocky Mountain National Park is the 3rd most visited National Park in the nation and has nearly $17 million in backlogged maintenance needs for trails alone.
Recreationists shouldn’t leave it up to land management agencies to take care of the land because with limited funds, they simply can’t do it alone. Numerous nonprofit organizations, including Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado (VOC), offer countless volunteer opportunities throughout the year to lend a helping hand and address critical needs across the state.
Groups like these – and individuals like you – are increasingly important to the preservation of Colorado’s trails, parks, and wild places. With so many people enjoying the outdoors, it is up to all of us to mitigate our impact.
Learn about volunteer opportunities at voc.org/volunteer, talk to park rangers, call out bad behavior when you see it, and check out online resources to make you a true outdoors enthusiast – NOT a wreckreator!
It’s no secret that Lexus is the luxury arm of Toyota. And to that end, the GX series is also known as the Toyota Land Cruiser Prado with variations on options and trims by region, etc. The first in the series was the GX 470 (J120), released in 2002 to be the third SUV from Lexus. It used the same 4.7-liter V8 engine as the larger LX 470. The GX 460 is the second generation (J150) and was released in November of 2009 with Toyota’s 4.6-liter 1UR-FE V8 engine. The Lexus GX 460 is a body-on-frame construction vehicle with full-time four-wheel drive using a Torsen center locking differential and an electronically controlled hi-lo transfer case.
To put the GX 460 to the test, we had a pretty typical Colorado winter weekend. We loaded up our family of four with ski and overnight sleeping gear and drove from Boulder up to Breckenridge to get an afternoon of skiing in before heading on to Buena Vista where we stayed in a cabin at a ranch to enjoy some winter fun with a number of other families. In all, we covered over 300 miles with some significant stretches of fairly snowy road conditions. The GX 460 comes in three trim options: The GX 460, GX 460 Premium, and GX 460 Luxury. The specific vehicle we drove was a Silver 2019 / 9710A GX 460 Luxury which meant it came with a slew of bells and whistles and as driven priced at $67,834.
The ride into and from the mountains was very smooth with independent double-wishbone suspension in the front and four-link suspension in the rear. Both the front and rear use coil springs with gas-pressurized shock absorbers and a stabilizer bar. We had very few instances where we were on any sort of rough road, so we can only speak to pavement driving, which was excellent. Even though the GX 460 is taller than the average SUV at 74 inches, it did not feel like it was awkward to handle. Nor did it feel top heavy in high speed sharp turns. And, it was easy to turn thanks to the power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering. What was unremarkable however was the tease of having three indistinguishable drive modes. A switch in the center console next to the shift lever gives the driver the choice to drive in Sport, Standard, or Comfort mode. I couldn’t feel a difference amongst those—I guess I’m not enough of a princess to feel the pea.
Controls of the center console (clockwise from upper left): rear height control, drive modes, high/low 4WD, crawl speed.
While we didn’t have any rough roads to negotiate the GX 460 does show it’s Toyota Land Cruiser pedigree with all kinds of features like Toyota’s Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KISS) and crawl control. We did however have a lot of slippery conditions and the GX 460 always felt stable. The full-time four wheel drive certainly did its part on the slick roads and we did have an instance where we needed to pull off of the road down a snowy berm with unknown under snow surface conditions to make an emergency diaper change. Just for fun to get out of there I flipped the drivetrain switch to L4 and the GX 460 didn’t even flinch to get us up and over that berm and back onto the snowy road on the standard provided 265/60 R18 mud and snow tires. I would not have done that maneuver in anything other than a four-wheel drive SUV and that shows where the versatility of the “utility” aspect really comes to play.
The view from the third row.
This rig did come with the tow hitch and advertises a 6,500-pound towing capacity. We didn’t use that, but we do often travel with our bikes on a hitch mounted rack, so this vehicle would serve us well in that capacity. The GX 460 also has a switch on the console for the rear height air suspension control to help adjust the height of the tow ball to match your trailer. The icon on the switch however makes it look like it would raise and lower the body on all four wheels for greater overall ground clearance for rock crawling or the such. Alas, that was not the case. Still, a nice feature when needed.
All filled up. Note the skis poking out.
We did however stuff the GX 460 to the gills. On average, the Lexus GX 460 runs a little on the small side as far as cargo space is concerned for three row SUVs. Since our test model didn’t include the optional cargo cross bars (and from my limited research, it looks like the easiest option is to buy the cross bars from Lexus to fit in their unique rail system), we couldn’t use our roof top box. So everything, including skis, had to go in the main cabin. The lifesaver here was the center ski split in the second row bench seat, though it’s also available with second row captains chairs which will naturally leave a space between the two for skis. With just four of us traveling, the versatility of being able to collapse the third row into cargo space worked out just fine. There’s only 11.6 cubic feet of space behind the third row which only provides about a foot of depth so it’s fine for a few bags of groceries or an emergency kit and that’s about it. Since the third row seats recline a bit (rightfully) that foot of depth narrows quickly as you move upward so only skinny tall items will fit back there. When the third row is lowered the cargo space goes to 46.7 cubic feet and that’s what we filled from floor to ceiling. If you don’t have kiddos to haul, you can get a total of 64.7 cubic feet by lowering the second row of seats.
The skis come all the way through.
Where the third row did pay off was when we had unloaded all of our gear into our cabin at the ranch and then we could invite friends to carpool with us for a run into town—an ideal use. The third row is not a place to put adults for a long road trip.
Full passenger mode.
The most curious of all the design elements related to hauling—specifically to loading the GX 460 to haul things—is how the rear door swings open. It opens from left to right, that is, it swings towards the curb side in left side steering/right side of the road driving countries like the United States. That means when you’re loading or unloading along the curb at the hotel or at the airport, you have to go around the opened rear door to get things in or out. Disastrous? No. Inconvenient? Certainly in some instances.
Rear door opens to the right… towards the curb.
Very little cargo space with all three rows up.
Rear window pops open to get those last few pieces to fit. Just remember to get them out this way or they’ll end up on the ground when you open the rear door.
The 15 city/18 highway for a combined 16 mpg is OK for a vehicle of this size but begs the question on why Toyota can’t make a more efficient engine when the much bigger and higher towing capable GMC Yukon XL can get 20 mpg on the highway. We didn’t have enough gas stops in our testing window to bother with calculating out our own numbers since the claimed mileage is fine and probably won’t be that big of a decision factor for someone in the market for a vehicle like the GX 460.
Amenities & Comfort
With the Luxury package at our disposal, amenities were numerous although all of these are not necessarily limited to the Luxury package. There are multiple airbags throughout the cabin for all three rows, voice assist, rear traffic alerts, backup camera, parking assist cameras (mounted under the exterior rear view mirrors), leather trimmed seats, 10-way adjustment power front seats, heated second row seats, 3-zone climate adjustment, rain sensing wipers, moonroof, auto-dimming high beam headlights, and an incredible Mark Levinson sound system.
Of particular interest to us for family travel was the drop-down backseat view mirror. We also liked the discrete and covered USB power port in the center console above the shifter, the independently adjustable center armrests for the front row, the versatile (and stowable) center console cup holders, and the large storage space available under the center armrests—an ideal place to keep snacks and toys to cater to the demands made from the second row. And, of course in winter testing conditions like this, the heated mahogany steering wheel is truly a luxury.
Independent center armrests… but won’t move forward with a drink in the cup holder.
Only a 120v A/C power plug in the cargo area, no 12v plug.
The Lexus GX 460 is a very family friendly vehicle. From the above mentioned rear-seat view mirror that drops down from the overhead center console to the child seat anchor points for across the entire second row and the illuminated running boards for those determined little ones who insist on climbing themselves into the vehicle. Not to mention all the great safety features that come with the GX 460 to keep all that precious cargo safe by helping avoid collisions in the first place, but to protect them if the unfortunate does occur. And while we would mostly keep that third row folded down for cargo, the ability to be able to load up your kid’s friends is awesome and just plain fun to maintain the “Cool Dad” moniker for those spontaneous runs to the ice cream parlor.
September 2017, the rivers were once again fishable, bike trails very rideable, and the fire bans had just been lifted. Chris Bivona, Vail Valley local and well-known ski bum was hatching a plan and Ski Town All-Stars, premium and custom hat company, was born. A little over a mile from Gondola One at Vail, Chris shoved a sewing machine and a hat press into his small kitchen; with a little spill over into his living room. His idea was simple. The lifestyle ski-town people live is the epitome of “living the dream.” Why not make a brand that embodies the attitudes and values that ski-towners hold dear to their hearts? That way whether you’re a 150-day local, or a city liver who takes their one ski trip a year, you can show the world you belong to the team and do your best to chase the dream.→
Early on the STAS brands deep roots in the ski industry led to big wins with organizations like The Lindsey Vonn Foundation, High Fives Foundation, and Vail Valley Foundation. It also helped to have people like Aspen local Chris Davenport and Vail local Mikaela Shiffrin being spotted in STAS lids. The brands early successes and top-notch media content gave way to an ever-increasing Instagram following (@skitownallstars) and assisted in the growth of the company. In August of 2018 Ski Town All-Stars made their first location change and moved into Bivona’s new garage. With the increase in space the company was able to add another hat press, a t-shirt press, and hire on a couple more employees. In true ski town fashion these employees were all part time, all had at least one other job, and all enjoyed skiing and partying more than any of their 2-5 jobs. In the new and larger office, Bivona and his crew of ski bums began cranking out hats by the hundreds; then by the thousands. It wasn’t long before that garage was starting to get crowded.→
By March of 2019 the brand was really starting to catch on, and
the Ski Town All-Stars DM’s were being filled daily with pictures of STAS
rocking their lids and the lifestyle all over the world. Babes in Switzerland,
studs in Moab, and ripping skiers in Portillo were all eager to share their
adventures and hopefully get a feature on the STAS Instagram. Bivona and the STAS
workforce were having trouble keeping up with all the orders flying in. It was
time to expand. Coincidentally a commercial space was available right down the
road in East Vail.→
As of May 2019, Ski Town All-Stars is headquartered in Pitkin
Creek Plaza in East Vail. They have a retail space and custom hat bar in the
front of their office and their manufacturing shop in the back. Their own had
this to say:
“At Ski Town All-Stars, we are believers in Monday Missions, in shot skis and dawn patrols. We believe in days spent on the river, and nights laughing around the campfire. Most Importantly we believe in giving back to the places that have given to us.”
We’re really getting into the swing of things now. With two months of our tour down—and some exciting events on the way—we’ve got an epic summer ahead. We’ve visited all our favorite spots in the Blue Ridge Mountains (and discovered some new ones). Later this month, we head to the craggy peaks of Colorado for some high elevation climbing, craft beer sipping, and maybe even snowboarding if the snow stays in the high country. Take a look at the gear that keeps us going through each new adventure.
When it comes to van-ready cookware, Sea To Summit’s Sigma 2.2 Cookset checks all of the boxes. It consists of two marine-grade stainless steel Sigma Pots, two Delta Light Bowls, and two Delta Insul Mugs that all nest neatly inside the largest pot to make the perfect lightweight and compact kitchen set. The Sigma series is Sea To Summit’s most durable cookware option, making it perfect for everyday use in the van.
When we’re on the road we’re adamant about making our own fresh and healthy food. The Sigma 2.2 helps make that a reality. Both pots have convenient strainer lids that rest neatly on the pots when they’re not in use. We’re not always able to park on a perfectly level spot to make our meals. The grippy heat-absorbing base ensures that the pots will stay on our two-burner and not slide off. When we’re finished cooking the Sigma is easily cleaned and stashed back inside itself. The Pivot-Lock handle keeps everything nice and secure which we really appreciate on rutted-out mountiainroads.
The Skyline UL Stool is the perfect companion for minimalist packers who want to roll extra light,or van-dwellers who want to save space. Weighing in at about one pound, this stool packs down so small it fits inside a large-mouth water bottle. This is the smallest addition to the Big Agnes line of camp furniture and your butt will thank you for packing it when you don’t have to sit in the dirt after a long day on the trail.
One reason that the Big Agnes camp furniture line is leading the pack is their hubless design. This feature saves on space and makes for stronger construction. The poles that make up the frame are color-coded and shock-corded making for simple setup. The Skyline UL Stool comes with direction printed on the stuff sack, but you won’t need them. We’re impressed by the Skyline UL Stool. It’s small but mighty and comes with a maximum size to comfort ratio.
These trekking poles make us feel like super hikers. They are sleek, comfortable and very strong. These are the lightest and most comfortable poles that we have used to date and this year they have updates to the locking mechanism. LEKI was founded in 1948 and has been on the cutting edge of ski and trekking pole technology ever since.
The Micro Vario Carbon poles are made out of 100% carbon, making them some of the lightest and strongest poles on the market. Perfect for climbing, trail running or small tours – these “Z” style folding poles pack down and expand in a second and are easy to stash in a crowded van or gear closet. Weighing just eight ounces per pole, these are perfect for the ultralight hikers out there. Everything about using these poles is a breeze. At just 15 inches long when collapsed, they fit perfectly into our gear drawers and are great for taking on a plane. If you have ever used poles while hiking then you know that straps play a huge role in overall comfort. The LEKI Skin Straps used on the Micro Vario will allow you to forget that the straps are even there. The straps are also easy to adjust and lock into place. We’ve used these poles on some fairly aggressive scrambles and they have held up without any problems. With a 20cm adjustment range, they’ll fit almost everybody.
Often we gather atop mountains, in forests, or on rivers to gaze, wonder, and work to protect the future of these wild places. Some gather at base camps with crampons, ice axes and climbing ropes, ready to ascend on rock, snow and ice. Few, after often dangerous journeys, gather atop the world’s highest peaks.
On June 1, 2019, climbers and Coloradans will gather at the American Mountaineering Center for the Excellence in Climbing Celebration. The community event at the home of the American Alpine Club will feature an open-air vendor village, carnival games, food trucks, tours of the American Mountaineering Museum, and local beverages. The outdoor celebration will be followed by noteworthy climbers’ inductions into the Hall of Mountaineering Excellence and will include a keynote from climber and writer Kelly Cordes, the H. Adams Carter Literary Awardee.
Photo by Sam Andree
The 2019 inductees to the Hall of Mountaineering Excellence—Laura Waterman and Ken Yager—have made the world a better place.
The conservation work Guy and I did in the mountains came naturally, like climbing,” said Waterman, a climber, conservationist and author. “It was just something we felt strongly about and it was important, more than that, essential, to spread the word. Frankly, I think—I hope—all climbers feel this way about their favorite places, the [places] that keep us sane.”
Photo by: Ken Hopper
Yager, a climbing guide and founder of both the Yosemite Climbing Association and Facelift, remarked, “As a young climber I read about the adventures of Tom Frost, Royal Robbins, Arlene Blum, Fred Beckey, Yvon Chouinard, Richard Leonard, and many of the others that have received this award. To be included with my climbing heroes is an honor that is hard for me to fathom.”
Tickets start at $20 for the Block Party from 3-7PM. Elevation Beer Co. and Upslope Brewing Company will be pouring during the festival. Limited $50 Block Party and Presentation tickets include dinner, the award presentations, and Kelly Cordes’ keynote from 7-9PM. Patron ticket holders will enjoy a VIP Reception, a behind-the-scenes tour of the Museum and Library, and food provided by Picaflor. All attendees will have access to a silent auction full of outdoor gear deals, artwork, and unique experiences.
We look forward to kicking off a summer of adventures with this community.
About American Alpine Club
The American Alpine Club is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization whose vision is a united community of competent climbers and healthy climbing landscapes.
Prepare yourself for a big summer (and fall) of music, beer, wine, films, yoga, hula hoops, downriver SUP rallies, conversations, bike races, dog jumping contests, campouts and community. The annual Elevation Outdoors Festival Guide is here to help you choose and plan from an incredible assortment of happenings this summer where you will be able to partake in everything from swaying to Phil Lesh bass lines to sipping craft whiskey to fist pumping with Michael Franti to hitting the the dirt with the best trail runners in the Rockies. Pack the cooler, load up the vehicle, turn up the volume and dig in.
Wednesday Night Trivia
Every Wednesday, 7-10pm
Every Wednesday night from 7-10pm, 10 Barrel asks the questions. Provide all the right answers and you can win swag and beer. Don’t, and it’s still a blast.
Dance to live music, eat great food, crush your friends in yard games, all while sampling beers on tap at this spring fling held in the back parking lot at the Upslope Brewery. You are sure to see EO staff here and, best of all, it’s free.
Colorado fest season kicks off here when Head for the Hills—a post-modern bluegrass, progressive string band—hits the stage with Daniel Rodriguez (of Elephant Revival) and Whippoorwill at Mishawaka Amphitheatre.
Summit County’s Wilderness Sports may be closing down its Second Tracks Consignment shop upstairs, but the famed retailer still wants to give loyal customers a chance to buy/sell/trade used gear. The 9 a.m. swap kicks off a whole day of celebration for the coming summer and a cookoff—and it raises money for The Cycle Effect, an Eagle-based non profit that works to empowers young women through mountain biking.
Bentgate Presents: Bike Packing with Justin Sumoni
Are you bikepacking curious? Head to Bentgate to learn valuable tips and tricks from the experienced bikepacking fiend and La Sportiva athlete Justin Simoni, who will share a trip breakdown from the pages of the new bike packing guidebook he’s currently at work on.
Held in the mountain town EO readers voted “Best of the Rockies,” this four-day paddling blowout includes comps and other fun events in whitewater, flatwater and land races in the heart of Buena Vista. You can plunge in or simply kick back and enjoy the party.
This second annual daylong musical happening at CU’s Macky Auditorium will feature Jim James, Gregory Alan Isakov, Neyla Pekarek and more. It benefits the Future Arts Foundation, which provides arts opportunities for Colorado youth.
Live music, food vendors and craft beer make this street fair a winner. Don’t miss the Sunday Sayonara event with The Lil Smokies and tasty bloody marys and mimosas. Combine it with the Eagle Outside Festival (see below).
Test new bikes at the bustling demo and sign up for events like the RippinChix Skills Clinic or races like the new Enduro or the Intergalactic Footdown Championship. Finish up by getting down at The Bonfire Block Party (see above).
Ride a stunning century route along the rolling hills of Turquoise Lake Road, around the Mineral Belt Trail, through the rarefied air of the historic Leadville Mining District—and turn around and head back to Buena Vista.
Upslope Brewing 5K Colorado Brewery Running Series
Join Colorado Brewery Running Series at Upslope Brewing for a 5k-ish course that starts and ends at this awesome brewery! Weave through the surrounding area at whatever pace you like, no matter what, there’s a beer waiting for you at the finish line.
Head to the 30th iteration of this Colorado cycling classic to compete on three road courses (40, 62 and 100 miles) or two gravel routes (27 and 56 miles)—or hop along on a fun family ride (eight miles).
Come join in on the country’s largest celebration of mountain sports or just ogle Olympians. Don’t miss three free nights of concerts, including Rapidgrass, Joan Osborne and Citizen Cope at the historic Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater.
FIBArk is the oldest whitewater festival in the world! The festival, best known for its paddling events, will include so much more this year, its 70th year. Head to downtown Salida for four days of whitewater, free music from national acts and an always hopping beer garden.
Pop it open. The West Elk wine-makers invite you to North Fork Uncorked. Meet local wine-makers, take part in vineyard tours and tasting, and enjoy farm-to-table dinners or food-and-wine pairings with local chefs.
The Classic kicks off with the Sip of The Summit on Friday, June 21 with arguably the highest altitude beer tasting in the country. Saturday’s Toast of Vail is the biggest tasting of the weekend and will feature a wide variety of breweries from around the country as well as various food vendors and live performances all in the heart of Vail Village.
The Denver Deluxe combines all summer essentials for an incredible afternoon music fest. Jam to live music all afternoon with cold beers on tap and burgers flipping. The event will also feature live art from local street and graffiti artists. This is a family-friendly event and kids under 12 are free.
This festival is more than fun and games: It celebrates the importance of clean water for everyone, bringing people together to celebrate at the headwaters of the Taylor and Gunnison Rivers and regional creeks off the Continental Divide.
Float into this celebration of the Uncompahgre River and the Ridgway community. Events include SUP races, an inflatables race, a hard shells race and “Junk of the unc” race. Riverfest is produced by a Ouray nonprofit that is dedicated to helping protect the Uncompahgre River watershed.
It’s time to double dip. For the price of one festival ticket here you get access to unlimited tastings from over 50 breweries. Enjoy shows at the Surf Hotel’s stunning Ivy Ballroom and the Beach Stage, where Head for the Hills will play on Friday evening.
Float around in oversized pools while you get your mug filled with a refreshing lager, or relax on our sandy beach, Wibby Riviera style! Live island music will be pumping from the shaded pavilion’s main stage or hit the silent-disco-arcade taking over the blacked-out, air-conditioned taproom.
The premier hoedown for bluegrass aficionados features Sam Bush, Punch Brothers (playing bluegrass), I’m With Her (the collaboration of Sara Watkins, Sara Jarosz and Aoife Donovan) and all the hot pickin’ you can handle.
Taste from a selection of 100+ beers, ciders and more from 40 different breweries at this annual throwdown. The action goes down at Denver’s Mile High Station spreading out into the parking lot where there will be live music and food trucks.
Australian adventurer Dan Bull set yet another world record when he took a boat up the highest mountain in Chile.
no bull dan bull breaks the ice on his world-record-setting paddle in the shadow of chile’s ojos de salado, the highest active volcano on the planet. / photo Courtesy Dan Bull
Dan Bull likes to get high. Until January, the 38-year-old held the Guinness record for the youngest person to climb both the Seven Summits (the highest peaks on each continent) as well the Seven Volcanic Summits (the highest volcanoes on each continent), a feat he ticked off in 2017. And last March, the Aussie broke the record for highest kayak trip on the planet when he paddled the 18,723-foot alpine lake just below the summit of 22,615-foot active volcano Ojos de Salado, which is the highest peak in Chile and highest volcano on the planet. To pull off the mile-and-a-half-long paddle, Bull had to haul a custom kayak up the mountaineering route on the peak with climbing gear, a kit that weighed over 110 pounds (he refrained from using supplementary oxygen as per Guinness rules). “As I climbed toward the summit of the highest volcano in the world, I experienced the worst snow seen in two decades. I was trapped inside my tent, high on the mountain, for three days, surviving gale force winds up to 140 kilometers per hour and wind chill down to -45°C,” he says. Bull found the lake frozen over when he reached it, and had to use his ice ax to chip out a lane for the kayak to reach open water. “Water froze instantly as it splashed onto my gear,” he says. “I knew that if I fell in, I’d be dead very quickly.” So what’s the next height for Bull to top? “ I’m considering a shot at the highest swimming world record,” he says. “I’m not a swimmer, so I’d be starting from scratch.” Track his progress at DanielBull.com.
I was in the city of Paris last month, and no other place in the world reminds you of the beauty people can create. The city made me think about how I can better dedicate the time I have left on this planet to trying to leave it more beautiful. I know Paris is a far cry from the wilderness but there was one phenomenon I witnessed here that I see far too much of in the outdoors back home in Colorado: incessant cell phone photography.
It seems that some people are more obsessed with taking photos of great works of art than they are with actually looking at them and experiencing them. The crowd surrounding the Mona Lisa, elbowing to take crappy photos of it or turning around for selfies with that famed smile, has become just as much an experiential art piece as the painting itself, a statement on how our society only views beauty as something to be captured and claimed. Why not just stop and spend some time with the art, see it, interpret it? I have no basic problem with taking photos of art. But when you simply snap and move on, you are engaging in something bizarre.
I all too often see this happening in the outdoor space, too. On one side, outdoor photography has always been about ego gratification. Hey, we all want a shot of us shredding that steep line or standing out on that precipice. But all too often, influencers are simply heading to beautiful, rare, all too rapidly disappearing places for no other reason than to rack up more followers.
I’m guilty, too, I guess. It seems to be a basic instinct for us in this age, an addiction as bad as cocaine in the 1980s. So here is the first thing I want to commit to doing to try to help bring some sanity to this pressure-cooking planet. I will leave my phone in my pocket more. I may miss out on some incredible posts, but I may also find a sense of peace that seems to be missing from my skull recently. I won’t tell anyone where I went. The place, the view, the moment will be part memory and imagination.
I thought about the power of memory when Notre Dame burned, too. I have been to the cathedral several times throughout my life and it always impresses in a different way. This time, I thought about the building of the place, how it took lifetimes, how nameless artists put their mark and personality in a building meant to serve something far beyond individual lives. I also experienced it differently because of the people with me. My kids were here for the first time. I viewed it through their perceptions. My mom has been to Paris many times since she was 11 years old, and this was the first time she climbed to the top of the bell towers on Notre Dame. Her smile stayed with me. I also looked closely at the cathedral’s stone and saw fossils in it—it gave me a sense of deep time, that rock once on the bottom of the ocean could build this. Yes, I took some photos, but I looked beyond my phone.
When it went up in flames, I thought how odd that the memories we made there were now more powerful images, and even more powerful memories since they carry a weight we did not know they would have two weeks later. I thought about so many wildfires that I have fought and seen ravage beautiful wild places. About how important the memories we make in this fading paradise should be to us. About how we need to get out and see more with the people we love.
Like many desert towns, Kanab is most known for what it’s near. Long heralded for its proximity to Zion, Bryce Canyon, the Grand Staircase, and Lake Powell, the draw of Kanab has been as a staging area and hub for those passing between the nearby national parks. That’s going to change soon. Here in 2019, Kanab is on the cusp of becoming its own destination, with enough local adventures, history, culture and comfort to keep in you town for a couple of days. Home to just 5,000 residents, a growing dining scene, vacant hikes and cheap lodging and camping, it’s time to spend a few days discovering Kanab – before everyone else does.
Food in most remote, small mountain towns is usually basic and traditional, centered around thick cuts of meat and fried potatoes. While you can certainly find your hearty meals in Kanab at places like the Iron Horse and Juniper Ridge, there is a surprisingly diverse range of options to accommodate all palates and diets. Most restaurants in Kanab have legitimate vegetarian options, and a few take it a step farther: Peekaboo Canyon Wood Fired Kitchen is an all-vegan restaurant specializing in wood-fired pizza and vegan plates; Angel’s Village is a vegetarian lunch buffet (only $5) with a large patio overlooking a canyon. Places like Rocking V and Wild Thyme Café have diverse menus with a little more complexity in their recipes and fixings: pasta, fish, steaks and salads. The finest dining in town is at Sego, where the presentation is as good as the taste. But don’t worry, it’s not too fancy – you can still show up in hiking boots. And be sure to wake up with coffee and breakfast burritos at the Kanab Creek Bakery.
When it comes to lodging, affordability is a common theme in Kanab – even though there’s lots to do nearby, most people still pass through, and the prices still reflect that roadside stopover mentality. Many budget-focused hotels, like the Rodeway Inn, Cowboy Bunkhouse and Redrock Country Inn, can be had for less than $60 a night. A boutique experience – perhaps as a treat after a long hike or road trip – hovers around a reasonable $100 per night at the Canyons Boutique Hotel, complete with in-room fireplaces. If you’re looking to stay on the rustic side, there are many RV and tent camping sites in town, like Crazy Horse and Hitch-n-Post, where you can set up for the night. There are also camping options outside of town, such as the sites at Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park.
Kanab has a great mix of around-town activities and easy-access adventures in the surrounding landscape, and most of them receive only a trickle of visitors. Peek-a-boo Slot Canyon, where you can see moqui steps and ancient carvings, can be reached two ways: On foot (three miles to the canyon entrance), or via a four-wheel drive tour (Forever Adventure Tours) that explores the expansive sandy and rocky desert terrain prior to a guided hike of the canyon. Try out Coral Pink ATV Tours at Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, which takes you through the myriad of trails within the dunes, culminating with a valley view at sunset. Up for a sunrise hike? Sit beneath The Toadstools as the morning light illuminates its unique formations.
In town, get a feel for the life of an early Utah pioneer at the Kanab Heritage House, or check out the Native American artifacts of the Anasazi and Navajo Indians at the Moqui Cave, home to more than 1,000 arrowheads, centuries-old ceremonial pots, jugs, bowls and working tools. For a feel-good afternoon, animals lovers will want to take a free tour of the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, the nation’s largest no-kill shelter for companion animals. Lastly, one of the best perks of staying in Kanab is that you can show up for the in-person lottery at the local BLM office, which greatly increases your chances of receiving a notoriously hard-to-get permit to hike to The Wave, a highly photographed sandstone rock formation that allows only 20 visitors a day (read more about the permitting process here).
Why would anyone want to get punched in the face? That is the question that continues to surface in gym locker rooms and around offices, as thirty-two individuals with no previous boxing experience prepare to step into the ring for the very first time. These brave men and women are fighting for those who can’t in Haymakers for Hope’s second annual “Rumble in the Rockies” event, with a common goal: knockout cancer.
Photo by Phil Lambert
Haymakers for Hope, a not-for-profit organization that raises money in the fight against cancer through large-scale charity boxing events, is bringing a brand-new lineup of fighters to the Fillmore Auditorium on June 6th. Tickets are officially on sale to watch thirty-two local men participate in their first USA Boxing sanctioned amateur bout. Each participant has been training tirelessly in and out of the gym, to get in fighting shape and raise money to find a cure for this horrific disease.
Photo by Rachel Gianatasio
Since its initial event in 2011, Haymakers for Hope has raised more than $11 million for cancer research, awareness, survivorship and care. The organization has transformed more than 650 ordinary participants into extraordinary amateur fighters by pairing each participant with a local boxing gym and coach to guide them through the intense and demanding four-month training cycle. At the inaugural Rumble in the Rockies, the organization raised over $210,000 to knock out cancer. This year’s fighters aim to raise $300,000 and ticket sales will go towards their goal.
Photo by Phil Lambert
“Building off the excitement of last year’s inaugural event at the Fillmore Auditorium, we knew there was something special about the Mile High City,” said Co-Founder, Andrew Myerson. “This was reflected by a drastic increase in both sign-ups and fundraising leading into our second annual ‘Rumble in the Rockies.’”
Haymakers for Hope’s “Rumble in the Rockies” will host 32 fighters to 16 bouts. Each bout is scheduled for three, two-minute rounds, and the entire boxing card is sanctioned by USA Boxing. Doors will open at 6:30pm with the show starting at 7:30pm.