Dear friends

  • Gudy Gaskill

    Ed Marston

Let the waters flow

As the days grow shorter and darkness comes earlier, we look for signs that winter isn't really closing in. Octogenarian David Brower helped us out the other day with a cheery phone call at dusk from California. He had surprising news: The club's board had just voted unanimously to support emptying the year's worth of Colorado River now stored in Lake Powell. Sure, electric power would be lost, but the river would flow freely again, he said. It was the kind of bold proposal Brower is famous for, and hearing it felt like a blast of spring. We weren't even daunted by hearing that in Utah, state and local officials greeted the idea "with immediate negative response," according to the San Juan Record in southern Utah.

Trail builder visits

For the first time in our experience, we found Gudy Gaskill on pavement rather than on her 500-mile-long Colorado Trail, which runs from Durango to Denver, Colorado.

But she was on Colorado Trail Foundation business, passing through Paonia on the road from Durango to Aspen, to talk about the trail her crews over a period of years built and are now maintaining and improving.

It's continuous work, she says, because fires, high water and erosion and deadfalls are constantly making war on the trail.

But that's all under control, in a dynamic, day-to-day sort of way, Gudy says, since volunteer crews exist for the entire trail. Her main concern is that the trail is much more heavily used by non-Coloradans than by Coloradans. She and her fellow volunteers built it for everyone, she says, but "we especially want to see it used by those who live here." That's why she was on the road, rather than on the trail, to show people within Colorado slides of the country the trail passes through and to tell them it can be hiked in its entirety in about six weeks, or in day, week or month-long segments, thanks to trail loops and relatively frequent access.

The trail is run by the Colorado Trail Foundation in cooperation with the various national forests it passes through. For information, or to join ($25 for individuals; $50 for families), and receive Tread Lines newsletter, write to Gudy Gaskill, CTF, P.O. Box 260876, Lakewood, CO 80226-0876.

* Ed and Betsy Marston, for the staff

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