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for people who care about the West

Camping excitement and late spring visitors

A scorpion startles staffers and we welcome friends and new coworkers at the HCN office.


With spring warming up, camping season has come to western Colorado. On an early May weekend, a group of editorial staffers ventured into the nearby Gunnison Gorge Wilderness to test our tents and bags. The trip was bittersweet, celebrating Editor-in-Chief Brian Calvert’s birthday while saying adieu to Assistant Editor Anna Smith, who will work for HCN from Portland, Oregon. But we made some new friends, including the tiny scorpion that crawled onto editorial intern Jessica Kutz’s ball cap, completely disrupting our card game. The little fella had to be shooed — very politely — into a patch of bunchgrass before play could continue.

Meanwhile, some non-venomous friends have visited our Paonia office.
Peg and David Engel came by in their 20-plus-year-old pickup with attached camper, after hiking Comb Ridge in Bears Ears National Monument. Both work with an organization called Stay Cool, which seeks to bring climate change curricula into schools.

Alan Apt and Nancy Olsen, from Nederland, Colorado, dropped by on a Friday afternoon, on their way home from a five-day camping trip in Utah’s San Rafael Swell. The longtime subscribers talked about their hometown’s growing pains, as new residents arrive from elsewhere on the Front Range, especially Boulder. They left as Research Fund contributors. Thanks, folks!

Gregory Staple, a longtime resident of Washington, D.C., likes to spend time in Marble, Colorado, in the mountains east of town. Gregory, who calls HCN a “national treasure,” had lunch with Development Director Laurie Milford and Publisher Paul Larmer, and shared thoughts on expanding our readership in California and on the East Coast.

Subscriber Johanna Solms visited while on an extended trip around the West. Johanna, a Colorado native whose father set up one of the first alpine research stations outside Boulder, reads HCN to keep tabs on the West from her home in rural Wisconsin.

We also welcomed new staff members. Debra Muzikar and Rebecca Hemer have joined our customer support staff, so next time you call you might hear their friendly voices. Debra comes to us from Aspen, where she worked in the nonprofit world. Rebecca just moved to Crawford from the big city of Grand Junction, Colorado. When she’s not at work, she’s hanging out in the garden with her 4-year-old daughter, Briley. Josh McIntire, who still works part-time for the Delta County Library District, is joining the tech wizards in the IT department. When he’s not at work here (or fixing a library computer), Josh is likely chasing around one of his four kids, or enjoying a movie.

Corrections: A caption from our Research Fund page, (HCN, 4/16/18), incorrectly said Gates of the Arctic musk-oxen came from Russia; they arrived via Greenland. “What to do with an extra billion or two?” (HCN, 4/30/18) called New Mexico Sen. Tom Udall chair of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs; he is the vice-chair. We regret the errors.