We realize it's spring when an April day combines snow flurries, afternoon rain and thunder, intermittent sun and evening temperatures in the twenties. And the next morning the grass grows even greener. On this town's main street the look of the season is layered with the one constant: muddy boots, for this is, unofficially, mud season. But what amazing mud.
Western Colorado specializes in what's known locally as adobe soil, which harbors so much clay you find yourself wearing built-up shoes in a matter of minutes. If you forget to painstakingly scrape it off, when it dries you'll find your new platforms have been transformed into concrete - great for Frankenstein imitations. That's why every spring it's wise to designate "sacrifice shoes," the ones destined solely for mud work.
Spring announces itself more vividly up in Montana near Glacier National Park. The Hungry Horse News says grizzlies have woken up, "shaking off a winter's slumber, and heading out across still snowbound land in search of a spring feast." The feast is usually elk or deer carcasses but we hear competitors are also visible and active - young lions.
Who's doing what
Singer and songwriter Walkin" Jim Stoltz is at it again, logging more miles - 20,000 miles so far - through America's wildlands. This year, his 23rd trek, Jim will walk the 2,750-mile Pacific Crest Trail through California, Oregon and Washington to raise money for three groups he believes make a difference in protecting wildlife and wild places. The groups are the Northwest Ecosystem Alliance, Predator Project and the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance. To find out more, write Wild Wind Records, Box 160477, Big Sky, MT 59716 (406/995-4906).
Ramon, the insurance salesman turned defender of trees in the Cove-Mallard roadless area of Idaho, reports that he is recovering nicely from brain-tumor surgery last month. Ramon, once Robert Amon, was doing his roadshow of college campuses in support of Idaho wilderness when a set of seizures signaled all was not well in his head. A five-hour operation in a Philadelphia hospital turned him into the "Miss Daisy of the enviro-bozo movement," he tells us, but "this is good as it gives the hippies something useful to do - drive - and gives me the opportunity to act imperious." Ramon can be reached at 5 Sandhill Road, Blairstown, NJ 07825 (908/362-6657).
Freelance artist Peggy Allen Jackson tells us an environmental group changed her name to Johnson and we repeated the error, and by mistake, we wrote to subscriber Jack Foster of Tucson, Ariz., care of Flathead Press. We quickly heard from him:
"We here at Fathead Press (i.e., me) resent scurrilous twists on our name. We are Fathead, not Flathead. If you don't know what a fathead is, you're not from my generation or anywhere close to it. Synonyms: numbskull, dimwit, peabrain, and most any other Uncle Fletcherism." Ok, ok!
" Betsy Marston for the staff