Red sandstone cliff bands rise as high as you can see until they meet a blue bird sky. As you hike through the sandy bed the route narrows; your shoulders touch each cliff wall. The water that cut these sand stone canyons gives the rock a feathered effect as if an ice cream scoop carved them. Abruptly, the route takes you over a 5 story rappel where you dangle for a moment in space secured by expert rope-smiths. Relaxing around the camp fire that evening you recall something about courses and tests, but they feel a million miles away.
This week and the week after tend to be a little scary in the San Juan Mountains and the Sangre de Cristo’s around the San Luis Valley. Why? It is the beginning of the July 4th holiday and for so many people that means the great outdoors. I think that is awesome that so many folks are inspired to go out and enjoy this country’s beautiful public land. Unfortunately many of them are doing it the way they were taught to do it 30 years ago by their fathers, etc. Things have changed, there are a lot more people in the world and a lot more people enjoying the outdoors. So I would encourage everyone heading out this next week to take a few minutes and review the Leave No Trace guidelines (http://www.lnt.org/programs/principles.php) for whatever activity you are engaging in in the next few weeks. We have to take care of our space to prevent it from being regulated to the point where we have to sign a contract to use the bathroom, and on the bright note, to make sure it is here for generations of Americans to enjoy. Enjoy being out with your families and help us take care of our public lands.