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Know the West

Finding funk in Western Colorado, sadistic races, corrections


The mornings are getting chilly; local harvests are at their peak. Up in the mountains, the aspens have changed color early and winter is tapping at the door. As the color moved down the mountains, many visitors came with it, taking advantage of this lovely time of year to drop by Paonia.

Susan Nunn visited HCN while on a tour of western Colorado, hunting for a future home. "It better be funky or I won't fit," she said. In Paonia, we told her, every house is funky in its own way. Nunn ran a guest ranch in southern Arizona for a decade, working as both the general manager and chef. She has since pursued an interest in writing (she wrote a Writers on the Range column for HCN last summer) and is completing her MFA in fiction writing from Antioch University in Las Vegas. She is currently living in Joplin, Mo., taking care of her parents.

Another Paonia prospect was Jenny Chapin, who came to town on a "recon trip." The western Massachusetts resident turned 50 last year and decided it was time for a change. She's shopping for a future home in a small, friendly town where she could teach yoga and eat lots of organic food. After some Internet research and discussions with her brother, an HCN subscriber, she visited Paonia. "Maybe I could teach yoga to the coal miners," she said, only half joking. We wish her luck with her big decision, and hope to see her back in town soon!

Colorado's known for its extreme sporting events. When readers Mike and Chris Wilke came by to see us in the first week of September, Mike was on his way to the Imogene Pass Run, a 17-mile race through the San Juan mountains that finishes in Telluride, Colo. "It's like a death march with 1,200 of your best friends, or fellow sadists," quipped Mike, who completed the race last year. Since the couple lives in Tucson, Ariz., the run's elevation -- just over 13,100 foot at its highest point -- really gets the heart rate up, he said. Chris, who prefers tending her organic garden, was happy to show her support from the sidelines. We don't blame her.

On their way back from a wedding in Telluride, Brett Macalady and Anna Drexler-Dreis of Winter Park stopped in to say hello. They had spent the weekend camping at the Blue Lakes and hiking Mount Sneffels. Brett spends his summers as a fly-fishing guide on the Upper Colorado River and his winters on ski patrol, and Anna studies pine beetles for the Colorado State Forest Service. They each had a magazine shout-out recently: Anna's co-worker, Mike Battaglia, was interviewed in a May story on wildfire and bark beetles, and Brett's boss, Jeff Ehlert, was featured in Headwaters, a movie reviewed on our Goat Blog. It's a small world!

That smallness was further in evidence when we got a note from reader John Benjamin, who sent in a photo of Tamara and Will Benjamin reading High Country News in Marojejy National Park in Madagascar. The park is "home to the few remaining Silky Sifakas, or Lemur Blanche" -- creatures threatened by illegal logging of rosewood and ebony for the rising Chinese market. Fortunately, John wrote, the Duke University Lemur Project is working to help protect the animals and their forest.


The article "Back to the land" in our Sept. 3 issue incorrectly stated that California was not subject to the Fugitive Slave Act.

Also in that issue, the article "Cracking the ozone code" misidentified Brock LeBaron as the Utah Department of Environmental Quality's head of air quality. He is the deputy director.

The article "Fire fights" in our Sept 17 issue incorrectly stated that Kirtland's warblers live in burned Western forests. In fact, they live in burned forests in Michigan and Wisconsin.

We regret the errors.