Dear Friends

  • INTREPID "FREDDY": She broke curfew at Stanford University


Summer visitors

Rick and Lucy Daley stopped in on their way to the Desert Museum in Tucson, Ariz., where he will be the new director. Rick is former director of the Denver Botanic Gardens, while Lucy was director of international students for the University of Colorado, Denver College of Business.

Artist Phil Undercuffler came by on his way from a conference at Solar Energy International in Carbondale, Colo. Solar energy is capturing his interest, he says, since he's living off the power grid in Madrid, N.M.

Mike Welsh, who is working on his doctorate in political science at the University of Oregon in Eugene, stopped in to chat about the range management advisory councils set up by Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt. He wonders if the councils are truly a move toward grassroots democracy, "or are we just refusing to deal with environmental issues on the national level?"

Rob Chifelli from Washington, D.C., came through and told us how he caught up with back issues of High Country News aboard a research ship in the South China Sea. He was part of a U.S.-Chinese team sent to study monsoons, but two weeks of bright sun left the team with little to study and lots of reading time.

Jim Horvath, who lives outside Boulder, Colo., dropped in to tell us about a development proposed "for the last piece of open space on the Front Range" between Golden and Boulder. And Carol Oldershaw from Prescott, Ariz., came by during a trip to Snowmass to meet up with Ann Phillips, mother of former intern Sara Phillips.

Rob Fillmore, a geologist at Western State College in Gunnison, Colo., stopped in on his way to Utah, where he's writing a book about the geology of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

Readers Eric Odell and a friend were searching for boreal owls when they did a fly-by. They had just spent the day on Grand Mesa, north of Paonia, searching nest boxes for chicks. Our cold spring meant that most of the birds were too small to band, and some had not yet hatched by the fourth week of July.

Bertha and Hugh Musser, from Salt Lake City, stopped in to subscribe. Though they'd been reading their daughter's copy, "she doesn't like to share." The couple was visiting a great-grandfather's ranch in nearby Lazear on their way to Denver.

Marty Durlin, who runs public radio KGNU in Boulder, Colo., stopped in with her mother, Marjorie Conklin, of Honolulu. Marty's dad, Charles Conklin, had a distinguished career as speaker of the Colorado House back when that body was not firmly Republican; Conklin also worked for Mo Udall when the Arizona Democrat chaired the House Interior Committee.

In other news ...

Thanks to reader Julia Brown, who lives just outside Paonia, we read up on her mountain-climbing mother. During the 1940s, Winifred "Freddy" Hubbard took to heavy ropes and climbing peaks after some Stanford University coaches barred women from tamer sports.

"We don't have a track program for women because it's too hard on your bodies," one instructor told undergraduate women. More welcoming was the university's Alpine Club. But after Freddy joined the group, she frequently violated the curfew for women, since climbs up the Yosemite Valley lasted well into the night. To get an early start for the crags, she finally took to rappelling out her dormitory window. You can read more about the intrepid Freddy, Class of "49, in Stanford's Historical Society magazine, Sandstone & Tile, fall 1997. The group can be reached at P.O. Box 2328, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94309.

Congratulations to Mike Davis, a historian and journalist in California, for winning one of the MacArthur Foundation's "genius' awards, this one paying $315,000. Congratulations as well to Jason "Andy" Lenderman, former intern here, who has been hired by the Albuquerque Tribune to cover education. Belated congratulations as well to Helena, Mont., author Leonard Schonberg, whose first novel, Deadly Indian Summer, sets up a culture clash between traditional healers on the Navajo Reservation and a young doctor working for the Indian Health Service. Publisher is Sunstone Press, Box 2321, Santa Fe, NM 87504.

Thanks to Dan Hess of Wickenburg, Ariz., for the local phone book, and thanks to Erick Sorensen, for sending us a "laundry ball" developed by him and his twin sister, Fern Gunderson. The Gunderson Laundry Ball replaces laundry soap and lasts for at least 2,000 loads, he tells us. Call him at 888/452-4968 for details.

Readers took us to task recently on two accounts: Wildlife biologist Hugh Wollis from Canada says decades-old lagged trees, those left for fire-fighters, wouldn't have hard-to-reach rungs just because the tree got older: "We would expect the tree to grow from the top and the rungs would stay in place relative to the ground."

Ben Mason in Ruidoso, N.M., says Elephant Butte Dam on the Rio Grande River in New Mexico doesn't cause flooding in El Paso, as we wrote June 22, it prevents it. "I was born in El Paso in 1922, a half-dozen years after dam construction, and lived there for much of my life and have never seen any instance of the Rio Grande River rising from its banks. Flooding is common, but it is caused by storm runoff from the Franklin Range, a steep, rocky desert mountain that bisects the city." Making the runoff worse, he adds, is poor planning and relatively uncontrolled development.

- Betsy Marston for the staff