January exodus

HCN’ers get into the backcountry, editor Betsy Marston sees Berlin and art director Cindy Wehling takes a trip to Hawaii.

  • From left, Danielle Venton, Krista Langlois, Tay Wiles and Sarah Gilman soak up the sun in the Grand Canyon.

    Logan Woods-Darby

As if the short, cold January days were not depressing enough, it was also a bit lonely at High Country News’ mothership in Paonia, as a good portion of the staff deserted us for some or all of the month. Copyeditor extraordinaire Diane Sylvain made her annual pilgrimage to St. Benedict’s Monastery near Snowmass, Colorado, for several days, leaving the rest of us to try to avoid lapsing into commas. Meanwhile, art director Cindy Wehling bailed to Hawaii for a week of well-deserved vacation.

Writers on the Range editor Betsy Marston gallivanted around the world, to Ireland and Spain, before spending a few weeks in Berlin, Germany. Her husband, HCN’s legendary publisher Ed Marston, wrote: Berlin is thus far living up to expectations. Bitter and raw “suicide” weather; overcast even when Berliners call it sunny; and gruff store employees who think retail service is telling you to stop bothering them. But a wonderful city nonetheless because of its fascinating past and present and all the foreigners here, in a nation that used to be 98 percent German.

Then there was a mass exodus into the Grand Canyon, via rafts, by Web editor Tay Wiles, contributing editor Sarah Gilman and correspondent Krista Langlois and contributor Danielle Venton, along with many others. They got on the river at Lees Ferry on New Year’s Day following one of the biggest snows on record, their rafts covered with several inches of powder. But over the next three weeks, as they made their way through the Big Ditch, the weather improved. So much so, in fact, that it was perfect for a wedding: Langlois married her beau, Jesse Mogler. The bride, reputedly, wore a lifejacket; no word on whether the groom was equally prepared.

Fortunately, our solitude was broken by one visitor: Erin Minks of Alamosa, Colorado, who stopped by with her daughter, Noelle, while tracking down “a nest” of old college friends who live near Paonia. Erin had recently unearthed an issue of the magazine that she’d saved, from over 15 years ago. She says it influenced her work as a staffer for Mark Udall, Colorado’s former senator, and that she plans to keep reading in her next job: forest planner for Rio Grande National Forest.

Judith Lewis Mernit, in her Feb. 2 story about Gov. Jerry Brown’s uncertain climate leadership (“The Limits of Legacy”), said the organization 350.org led a Feb. 7 climate march in Oakland, California. A number of environmental and labor groups collaborated on the march, of which 350.org was just one.

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