Scratch the metamorphosis bit

The notes from readers continue to roll in regarding our plans to redesign High Country News. We'll spare you the details, but it's great to get some thoughts from the outside world, since we've been staring at our work for so long that we're all a bit cross-eyed.

We received this reassurance from reader Philip Cloues, a mining engineer and mineral economist with the National Park Service who, we suspect, was a science professor in a past life. HCN is not, he wrote, going through a metamorphosis. "The caterpillar changes to a butterfly or moth, the tadpole changes to a frog or toad and thus we see metamorphosis in its true definition - But the dull, unattractive snake" - I'd referred to the paper as a snake, for a reason that escapes me now - "will always look 'more feisty and up-to-date' upon its shedding, yet maintain its core shape and avoid any pretext to metamorphosis."

Phew.

For those of you who have had quite enough of this talk and are ready for some action already, rest assured that the new HCN is on the way. Barring catastrophe or complete meltdown of our design staff, the first issue to sport our new "skin" will hit your mailboxes May 26.

Hurry up and stop

HCN Marketing Associate Sarah Wright recently organized a troop of hearty souls to run in the Race to Stop Global Warming in downtown Denver. Team HCN included Sarah, her sweetie, Blaine Reilly, and Bob Kalenak, whose better half, JoAnn, is HCN's do-it-all designer and Web tech. Joining them were JoAnn's brother, Michael Ashby, and Chris Horn, a family friend. The race was a benefit for the Green House Network, a Portland, Ore., nonprofit in search of solutions to climate change. Sarah smoked the rest of the team, finishing the 8 kilometer race in 40 minutes, 57 seconds. News staffers enjoyed talking to subscribers who dropped by the HCN booth to buy T-shirts and books, and just shoot the breeze.

Which way to spring?

HCN subscriber Glenn Gilmore is a guy who's not afraid to take the scenic route. His recent trip from his home in Hamilton, Mont., to Gunnison, Colo., was no exception. He flew to Denver just in time to be marooned by the great blizzard of 2003, which buried parts of the city under two or more feet of snow, closing down roads and schools and businesses, and sending giddy telemark skiers to the Redrock amphitheater to carve turns. When the roads opened before the airport did, he rented a four-wheel-drive and made the long trip over the mountains to Paonia. After a visit to the HCN offices, he said he planned to drive back to Denver and hop on a bus to Gunnison (which, by the way, is much closer to Paonia than it is to Denver), pick up a car, and drive back to Montana (which is nowhere near Paonia, Denver or Gunnison).

Gilmore, an architectural blacksmith who specializes in ornate fireplace design, was chipper. "It's not that bad," he said. "Think of Lewis and Clark." We were relieved to get a postcard a few weeks later, saying he made it back home to Hamilton.

Gilmore wasn't the only one to brave the blizzards. Jim Stephens of Park City, Utah, stopped by the office. Matt Robinson, who teaches ecology classes in Cortez, Colo., also swung through to say hello.

Visiting from Florida (what got into them?) were Joe Kakareka, who teaches at Florida Gulf Coast University and Paul Andrews, who is retired from SUNY Fredonia and living in Sanibel. With them was David Andrews, who runs a Barnes and Noble bookstore in Thornton, Colo.

HCN subscriber Tim Mackey from Crested Butte, Colo., also dropped by. Mackey reported that the skiing had been outrageous, though he'd taken a spill the day before and knocked himself on the head so hard he wasn't sure where he was when he stood up again. His friend, Anne-Marie Campbell, dislocated her shoulder on the slopes a few days earlier. They were headed to Snowmass to do some skiing. We called ahead to alert the ski patrol.