2023 rafting season shining following record winter in Roaring Fork Valley
Following a record winter in the Roaring Fork Valley, the 2023 rafting season has shaped into prime condition for those looking to get out onto the water.
A season that has allowed for those looking for different types of adventure to have the opportunity to do so, the spring season’s runoff has been one that has been unheard of in recent years.
With the Roaring Fork Valley experiencing water levels that have seemed ageless in recent memory, this year’s rivers have provided raft-goers the experience of both soothing waters and the fierce rapids that have made Glenwood Springs and the rest of the Roaring Fork Valley a staple for thrill-seekers and even-tempered explorers alike.
A winter season that produced a record-breaking snowpack in the western region, where those living in the valley saw a 200% increase in median snowpack, according to the United States Natural Resources Conservation Service, Defiance Rafting Owner Gregory Cowan said this year’s conditions are more than he could ask for.
“It’s been a wonderful start to the season,” e said. “The weather broke at the right time when we started at the beginning of May, and it has made it possible for any level rafter to have the opportunity to enjoy the waters.”
Dealing with a state-wide drought that has lasted a number of years, Middle Colorado Watershed Council Executive Director Paula Stepp said this year’s water levels could very well be considered an anomaly.
“I have lived in this valley a long time, and I haven’t seen these types of water levels since the ’80s,” she said. “Having a great year is amazing to see but by no means does it mean that this drought is over.”
With the high waters surrounding the Roaring Fork Valley, Glenwood Adventure Company CEO Ken Murphy said that this year’s water levels will make for a long season for those looking to indulge in whitewater rafting to have the chance to do so.
“What has made Glenwood Springs so popular for white water rafting is the variety that those looking to participate have been given,” he said. “With these high water levels, we are looking at having a good chance at having a longer season for people to enjoy this community’s waters, but it really depends on how the rest of the summer season shapes out.”
While this season’s high waters continue to look promising for the industry, he says it’s not up to those in control of booking trips.
“It’s a contemplating industry,” he said. “Mother Nature is our boss during the summer season, and so we have to hope everything goes in our favor for the continuation of this season.”
With all of the added snow, some may wonder if Sunlight Mountain Resort will be open during the week next week.
The bad news is, they’re not planning to be open during the week next week. But the good news is, Primo lift will be open this weekend, according to Troy Hawks, the communications director at Sunlight.
Changes of hitting some fresh powder sound like they will be high too.
“Saturday into Sunday and maybe through Monday, there’s sporadic chances of snowfall throughout that time,” Grand Junction-based National Weather Service Meteorologist Scott Stearns said in a report earlier this week.
The season opening is only a week away. Be ready for it Dec. 9.
One way to help them maintain steady hours and get a free ski pass is to apply for a job, or inquire about jobs at email@example.com. The mountain is hiring and excited to get some new fresh faces at the lifts. Additional updates can be found on the website or on their Facebook page.
Top tips on how to do Carbondale Mountain Fair
Longtime Carbondale Mountain Fair volunteer and partaker Jeff Dickinson offers two ways to do the fair if you want to maximize the number of old friends you bump into or new people to meet — which, let’s face it, is a good bit of what Mountain Fair is about.
“You can either stay in one spot and let everyone come to you, or you can move around and try to see everybody who’s staying in one spot,” says Dickinson, who these days helps run the Cantina.
Speaking of which, the Cantina, with its array of beer selections and drink specialties, is a good place for reunions and making a new acquaintance or two.
There’s also the food vendor lines, the dancing area in front of the gazebo stage, and of course that chance meeting on Main Street.
However you choose to do Mountain Fair, though, get ready to have fun, take your mind off things and see and hear some stuff you don’t see and hear too often.
If you go…
Carbondale Mountain Fair Select Events
Noon — All vendors open
4 p.m. — Opening blessing and community drum circle
5:15 p.m. — Music: Red Hill Rollers
6:45 p.m. — Sopris Soarers aerial dance
7:45 p.m. — Music: Death by Dub
7 a.m. — Mt. Sopris Runoff (14 mile) and 4 Mile to the Fair runs
10 a.m. — Vendors open, performance by Crystal River Ballet
10:30 a.m. — Fly casting competition
11 a.m. — Pie baking competition
11:30 a.m. — Music: Queen Bees
Noon — Singles horseshoes (Glassier Park)
1 p.m. — Adult limbo contest
2:15 p.m. — Carbondale Police vs. Fire Department Tug-O-War
2:30 p.m. — Music: Elk Range Bluegrass Band
4 p.m. — Womens Wood Splitting competition; Salsa dance lesson at the Makers’ Park
5 p.m. — Sopris Soarers tribute to mothers
5:15 p.m. — Music: Los Mocochetes
6 p.m. — Potters Throwdown Relay, judging canopy
7:45 p.m. — Music: Magic Bean
9:30 p.m. — Dance of the Sacred Fire fire dancers
8 a.m. — Porcupine Loop mountain bike race and costume contest
8:30 a.m. — Group yoga in Sopris Park
10 a.m. — Vendors open
11 a.m. — Music: Tarell Martin and C2 Mass Choir Gospel; Cake baking competition
*For the full schedule of events, visit carbondalearts.com/mountain-fair, or pick up a hard copy at the gate
For those first-timers wondering how best to take in Mountain Fair — the three-day arts performance and visual arts spectacle that takes place this Friday, Saturday and Sunday in Sopris Park — just ask the many locals who help make it happen year after year for some sound advice.
Here are five things to consider to make your Mountain Fair experience the best it can be.
If you live in Carbondale, or happen to be staying in town for the weekend, your best transportation bet is to walk or bike.
Vehicle parking is limited, though there are some good options for those who arrive early in the day, and at least one good paid option for a good cause — the Mt. Sopris Nordic Council parking lot at the Colorado Mountain College Lappala Center at Seventh Street and Colorado Avenue.
“Bike is the No. 1 best way to get there,” said Bob Schultz, another longtime Mountain Fair volunteer. “Even if you drive, if you have a bike rack, bring the bike.”
Bike corrals are located off of Seventh Street near the town pool and on Weant Boulevard behind the Forest Service building, noted Sarah Overbeck, communications director for Carbondale Arts, which puts on Mountain Fair.
Those coming from out of town also should consider taking a RFTA bus to Carbondale.
“Especially if you plan to be partaking in the Cantina offerings, I’d say take the bus,” Dickinson said.
As was the case last year, the Mountain Fair footprint expands onto Main Street again this year, meaning the downtown section will be closed between Fourth and Seventh streets starting at 8 a.m. Friday until 9 p.m. Sunday.
Also, leave dogs and other pets at home, not in your car, and definitely don’t bring them to the park. Dogs and glass containers are not allowed in the park.
Bring water in your own bottle, too. There are water filling stations located throughout the park.
While Mountain Fair doesn’t have a “tarp run” when the gates open like big music festivals, there is a little bit of jockeying for position to get the prime “hang out spot” in front of the gazebo.
“It is a day-by-day thing,” said longtime Mountain Fair Director Amy Kimberly. “We don’t allow tarps or blankets to stay overnight, so those have to be removed at the end of the day.”
Fair goers can set out blankets and low-profile chairs (not the high-back variety) and umbrellas starting at 3 p.m. Friday, but keep in mind you’ll need to leave room for the community drum circle at 4 p.m.
Mountain Fair no longer has a shade tent lottery, but a community shade tent is provided on the Euclid Avenue side of the park.
“Afternoon is when the sun is most direct, so that’s usually the hottest part of the day,” Schultz said. “But there is a nice row of big trees on the west side of the park that provide some nice shade later in the afternoon.
“If you do go over to the shade tent, be nice and give up a seat for someone who may need it more than you,” he also advised.
Dickinson suggested volunteering to help out with one of the many duties necessary to keep the fair running smoothly.
Again, there’s always a little jockeying for position to get the prime spots to watch the most popular Mountain Fair contests, especially men’s and women’s wood splitting and limbo.
New to the contest lineup this year is the Potters Relay Throwdown at 6 p.m. Saturday in the judging canopy, where teams of clay workers will try to be the fastest to work the potting wheel.
Timing is everything to head over to the open space for the big contests before whatever band is playing wraps up, or maybe draw straws to dispatch someone to head over and grab a patch of grass.
“People are pretty good about letting little kids wiggle up front to watch,” said Schultz, offering another piece of etiquette advice — short people up front, tall people in back.
“If you really want to see the wood splitting, get there early and hang out for a while,” Dickinson said. “It’s good to pick which bands and contests you really want to see, and plan accordingly.”
It’s also important to take breaks from the heat, he said.
“Hydrate and have plenty of sunscreen handy,” Dickinson said. “Even if you don’t feel like you’re doing much, just wandering around the park takes a lot out of you.”
A reprieve to a downtown restaurant or watering hole is also a good way to get out of the weather, be it sunshine or rain, he suggested.
Community radio station KDNK also broadcasts live from the park all weekend, so it’s possible to listen to the music from the comfort of your home for a spell before heading back out.
The arts and crafts and food vendors open at noon on Friday, before the rest of the fair gets going in earnest.
Smart shoppers know that’s the best time to hit the many arts and crafts vendors that will be on hand for Mountain Fair.
“That’s the best time to shop, because the park is still relatively quiet,” Kimberly said. “Anytime during the weekend is also good to go by the Carbondale Arts silent auction booth for some of the best deals.”
Saturday and Sunday mornings are also popular times to do some serious shopping before the crowds come out and before the heat or rain storms hit.
Last year, organizers made the decision to space the booths apart a little farther and to place some out on Main Street and Weant Boulevard. That also helped people feel more comfortable given pandemic concerns.
As Schultz puts it, “We may be done with COVID, but COVID is not done with us. It’s still good to spread out so the people who want a little space can still come to the fair.”
Vendors can also be found in the Makers Park at Main and Sixth streets, which is also where the silent auction and the valley artists booths are located.
Mountain Fair is known for having a good mix of favorite festival food and some unique eats to keep the taste buds happy and the energy level up.
The most popular booths tend to have long lines, especially later in the day around supper time.
“If the line for your favorite fair food is long, try something a little out of your comfort zone,” Dickinson suggested. “You might just learn about a food you didn’t know you liked.”
Those lines can be a great place to meet and chat with people, too, Schultz said.
“It’s actually a pretty social time,” he said. “I’ve met a lot of new people in town and people visiting from out of town just waiting for my food.”
For those wanting to enjoy a beer or other alcoholic drink with their food, Dickinson suggests hitting the Cantina first and sipping the drink while in the food line, instead of the other way around.
Also, if you don’t want to lose track of the kids for long stretches of time, give them only a little bit of money for food, snacks, games and such at a time.
“That way they’ll always come back and find you,” he said.
Mountain Fair is also big on using compostable plates and utensils to minimize waste.
“So we need people to be mindful of sorting your waste at the trash stations,” Overbeck added.
The Cantina is also run by different community nonprofit organizations that get to keep a portion of the proceeds from their shifts. Beverages are all sourced from Colorado.
Creole Stomp brings Bayou flavors to Summer of Music Wednesday night
Arts & Entertainment briefs for the weekend of June 24
Music on the Mountain series begins
The Saturday Music on the Mountain series kicks off Saturday at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, featuring a performance by Dance of the Sacred Fire and music from the Gasoline Lollipops.
Music takes place from 6-9 p.m. every Saturday (except July 2 and Sept. 3) through Sept. 17 for the enjoyment of park visitors who purchase a daily or seasonal pass.
More information at glenwoodcaverns.com/events/music-on-the-mountain.
Children’s chorale performs June 25-26 in Glenwood
The Colorado Springs Children’s Chorale is celebrating its 45th anniversary year with a concert tour, including two free performances at the First Presbyterian Church in Glenwood Springs, at 7 p.m. Saturday and during 10 a.m. Sunday worship.
The renowned choir features 38 elementary, middle and high school student singers.
The concert is free, but donations to support the chorale and First Presbyterian Church’s local outreach programs are welcome.
Discounted tickets could be offered to school groups wanting to visit Hanging Lake
Pending approval from Glenwood Springs City Council, teachers will be able to bring their classes to Hanging Lake for a reduced rate of $3 per student beginning in May.
The discount won’t apply to individual students wanting to visit the national natural landmark just east of Glenwood Springs on their own, but rather classes as a whole.
“Hanging Lake has so many different educational components,” said Ken Murphy, H2O Ventures co-owner. “It’s teaching about protecting a resource, the geology of Glenwood Canyon and the uniqueness of the public-private partnership.”
Last year, the U.S. Forest Service and city of Glenwood Springs awarded H2O Ventures the contract to run the Hanging Lake shuttle service, which launched May 1.
The seasonal shuttle service was part of a larger permit-reservation system, which capped the number of visitors to Hanging Lake to 615-people per day.
The price for a peak-season reservation from May 1 – Oct. 31 costs $12 per person and includes a shuttle to the trailhead. An off-peak reservation from Nov. 1 – Apr. 30 costs $10 per person.
According to Murphy, the discounted rate would apply to elementary school classes all the way up to students pursuing a higher-education degree.
The reduced rate will be available to classes Monday through Friday during May, September and October.
“Anytime we can reduce barriers for children to be able to experience the outdoors and a natural wonder like Hanging Lake, we should take it,” Mayor Jonathan Godes said.
Based on the number of visitors to Hanging Lake during the 2019 peak season, Murphy was confident the trail could accommodate the additional field trips.
According to Murphy, in May 2019 the trail had a daily average of 327 hikers. Additionally, during September and October the trail had a daily average of 357 and 217 hikers respectively.
“I support the discount,” Councilor Charlie Willman said. “I think it’s good and am glad we are able to offer it.”
According to the contract, in order for educators to be able to utilize the student discount, the field trip must have an educational component.
Additionally, student discount tickets must be purchased through the school hosting the trip and may not be purchased online.
“Nobody is generating revenue from these school groups or these educational components,” Murphy said. “Part of that $3 also goes back into the resource.”
Roaring Fork Mountain Bike Association, Glenwood celebrate completion of newest South Canyon trails
Volunteers cleared debris as Guns N’ Roses “Welcome To The Jungle” blared over a loudspeaker at South Canyon’s cleanup and ribbon cutting ceremony Tuesday evening to mark the opening of new trails.
Standing on a recently installed new bridge, Glenwood Springs Mayor Jonathan Godes and Roaring Fork Mountain Bike Association (RFMBA) Executive Director Mike Pritchard cut the red ribbon to celebrate the addition of three new trails to the South Canyon Trail System.
In 2015, RFMBA worked on a concept trails plan for areas surrounding the city. The plan studied how to evolve current trails, but also identified land for potential new trail systems.
Shortly after its completion, the city and Garfield County helped with getting the wheels rolling even more so by contributing funds to RFMBA and its partners’ efforts.
“We hired some professionals who helped us identify the unique opportunities and constraints within the canyon here,” Pritchard said of the way funding facilitated the South Canyon trails plan.
“We were able to come up with a trail system that’s maybe about 18 miles of trail, over the coming years,” he said.
A significant portion, 8.5 of those 18 miles, were completed last fall and include three trails known as Tramway Trail, Lightning Bug and Coal Camp.
Classified as easy, the shared use Tramway Trail features a 780-foot ascent spanning 3.2 miles. The two-way trail utilizes the Canyon’s eastern slopes with portions following the same route that was once used to transport coal to the railway at the Colorado River.
The Tramway Trail, in particular, begins with a repurposed bridge that was moved from its former resting place on Red Mountain.
“Part of the project was to install this new bridge and to get trailhead map signs in at two locations,” Pritchard said. “And, we have intersection signage at each of the trails so that people can find their way. The trails are bike optimized, but we do see hikers and runners enjoying the trails.”
With a 450-foot descent spanning 1.7 miles, Lightning Bug earns a “more difficult” classification and travels downhill only.
According to the South Canyon history description, Lightning Bug was the name given to the electric locomotive that ran on the original South Canyon coal mine tramway’s gauge tracks.
The name was coined by miners who saw sparks fly when the trolley’s overhead lines transitioned between circuits and wires.
Also categorized as “more difficult,” Coal Camp ascends and descends 915 feet over 3.6 miles. The trail begins in the canyon’s lower meadow before a steep climb takes users through shady spruce and a pine forest. Coal Camp was a nickname given to the 1903 company town that took shape to support the area’s mining operations.
Future South Canyon trails, not yet completed, include the Alpine Slide, Red Onion, Gem Trail and Horse Mountain.
“It’s really awesome to see these dozens of volunteers just taking the bull by the horns and saying, ‘we want this asset to be nice, welcoming and safe for everybody.’” Mayor Godes said. “If you are going to take an area like South Canyon and develop something on it, having a low impact, non-motorized use is a great asset.”
According to Godes, all of the new South Canyon trails were designed to respect other uses and facets of the canyon, including the Glenwood Springs Gun Club, the city-owned landfill, historic coal mining artifacts and wildlife habitat.
Jazz Aspen Labor Day: Zac Brown Band’s Jimmy De Martini on this summer’s big stadium tour
Summer stadium tours are the stomping grounds of rock and pop star giants — an increasingly rare breed who can fill these huge outdoor sportsplexes with tens of thousands of fans in dozens of cities. The Zac Brown Band now walks among those platinum-selling, Grammy-winning mammoths of summertime.
Only a handful of acts can pull off a stadium tour these days — this summer, the other major ones in the U.S. were Jay-Z and Beyonce, Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift.
Playing mostly baseball stadiums over the past three months, the Zac Brown Band has spent the summer on one of the season’s biggest and most popular tours. Their “Down the Rabbit Hole” run has the band headlining Safeco Field — home of the Seattle Mariners — on Friday before coming to headline the Jazz Aspen Snowmass Labor Day Experience in Snowmass Village on Sunday night.
The Labor Day music festival, with a sell-out crowd of about 10,000 expected Sunday, is actually a smaller gig for the band these days when it mostly plays to crowds two and three times as big.
“I love playing baseball fields,” fiddle player Jimmy De Martini said in a phone interview from Atlanta during a recent tour break. “The atmosphere is amazing and our crowds really get into it when we play outside.”
They’ve set out to smash the perception of stadium shows as impersonal, cookie-cutter affairs. These big stages, De Martini believes, have had a positive effect on the band’s performances, inspiring them to make each night a unique and major event with a freshly crafted set list, surprise covers and new interpretations of their country rock catalog.
“Sometimes when you play amphitheaters, things look the same and feel the same when you go up there night after night,” he said. “But when you’re playing a baseball stadium there’s such a unique culture to each city that they put into the construction and the culture of baseball that you can feel you’re in a different spot every time you get onstage.”
The band last headlined Labor Day here in 2011 — a sellout that capped a major rebound event for Jazz Aspen, doubling the attendance from 2010 and launching its continuing partnership with concert promoter AEG. (The 2018 lineup actually includes all three main stage acts from 2011’s closing Sunday: Zac Brown Band; Fitz and the Tantrums, who play Saturday evening; and Michael Franti, who opens the festival today.) The dramatic mountainscapes surrounding the Jazz Aspen festival grounds in Snowmass Town Park — and the oxygen tanks backstage — made for a memorable experience for De Martini and his bandmates, he said.
“It’s an amazing landscape and great inspiration all around,” he said. “Everybody seems to be in good spirits and happy to be there.”
As musical tastes have splintered in the streaming era, Zac Brown Band is one of the dwindling number of pop acts pulling off a big-tent approach — making a bid to be the country band that non-country fans like, with a reputation for astonishing live show’s that anybody will love.
Ten years on from the band’s 2008 breakout hit, “Chicken Fried,” the Zac Brown Band’s sound is a country music that’s broadly defined and probably would have been called “rock” a generation ago. The Georgia-based, eight-man band ignores the traditional confines of the country label and is unafraid to experiment with the genre, digging into Allman Brothers-styled Southern rock jams and more far-flung territory. The band’s most recent album, “Welcome Home,” released last year, is a largely acoustic and straightforward rootsy record that followed 2015’s “Jekyll and Hyde,” which saw the band experimenting with the sounds of dance, pop and jazz.
De Martini, an Atlanta native, met Brown in 2004 when each of them were making the rounds on the local live music scene. After one gig, the bartender — Wyatt Durette, who has become one of Brown’s songwriting partners, including penning lyrics for “Colder Weather” — put De Martini in touch with Brown. De Martini sat in with Brown at a sports bar the following night, and after this unassuming gig Brown asked De Martini to join what would become Zac Brown Band.
“I knew there was something special the first time I played with Zac,” De Martini recalled.
Bar bands in Atlanta — like most everywhere — rely on cover songs to keep crowds engaged. Brown, for the most part, did not. That signaled to De Martini that Brown was on to something with his sound, his songwriting and his burly, bearded stage charm.
“With your originals, people don’t usually care too much,” he recalled. “The opposite was true of Zac. … I knew it was special. I don’t think I knew it would get quite to this level, because this is a dream come true.”
Ironically, now that the band is at the pinnacle of American pop music, cover songs are a staple of its vaunted live show.
On this summer tour, the band’s eclectic and unexpected choices of covers have drawn fans’ notice and sparked social media buzz. Sets have included inspired arrangements of selections far from Zac Brown Band’s country rock wheelhouse, like the Beastie Boys’ “Sabotage” and Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” and Living Color’s “Cult of Personality.”
A handful of the stadium shows have also included their spin on the Dave Matthews Band’s “Ants Marching,” with which De Martini has a long personal history. He first made a living in music as the fiddler for the popular early 2000s Georgia-based outfit Dave Matthews Cover Band, playing the Boyd Tinsley parts.
“It’s cool, it’s a full-circle thing,” De Martini said.
When Zac Brown Band first played stadiums years later, it was opening for Dave Matthews. As they’ve returned to those venues this summer for the first time, they’ve honored those old days with “Ants Marching.”
“We were talking about it, like, ‘Remember the last time we played here we played with Dave Matthews Band? Let’s play ‘Ants Marching!'” recalled De Martini.
That spontaneity has been a cornerstone of the cover-heavy summer tour. The band spends an hour or so warming up in the tour bus before they take the stage and working on some surprises for each show.
“Sometimes we’ll have never played a song before and we’ll just run through it two times on the bus and then go play it in front of 20,000 people,” De Martini said. “It’s cool that we can do that.”
You can’t do that with some songs, though, he noted. Perfecting the mini rock opera movements and harmonies of their barn-burning take on Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” for instance, required dedicated rehearsal time before the tour kicked off.
Meeting that challenge has impressed fellow musicians on tour. Nahko, the front man for Nahko and Medicine for the People, who opened for Zac Brown Band on three nights of the summer tour, recalled the first time he Brown and band attempt “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
“He started playing Queen — anytime somebody starts playing Queen, you’re crossing your fingers that they don’t f— it up,” Nahko recalled this summer with a laugh. “And he slayed it. … That’s when you know a band can really play: when they can do a Queen cover really well.”
Sometimes nearly half the Zac Brown Band’s show is made up of covers, alongside older hits like “Knee Deep” and “Keep Me in Mind,” mixed in with a handful of songs from “Welcome Home” each night like the nostalgic trip to the band’s early days “Roots” and the father-son tearjerker “My Old Man.” They’ve been using the stadium spectacle to ratchet up the poignancy of “My Old Man,” shooting live video of fathers and sons in the crowd and playing it on the jumbo screens at stadiums along with old photos of the band members and their dads.
“It’s pretty emotional,” De Martini said.
The band has tour dates booked through October. After that, De Martini said, they plan to dig into their next album. They’ve already made progress on some songs — grabbing studio time between shows this summer. He is hopeful they’ll get a new record out in 2019.
“We’re definitely in that creative process now,” he said.
Friday, 5-7 p.m. Midland Arts Gallery showcases Silt-based pastels artist Margaret Uribe for the month of November. Her work is inspired by Colorado’s beauty. Her hand-carved stoneware tiles will also be available.
Midland Arts Gallery, 101 E. 3rd St., Rifle | Free | 625-3068 | midlandartscompany.com
Holiday Invitational at Carbondale Clay Center
Friday, 6-8 p.m. More than 30 local and national artists will display and sell functional pottery, small ceramic sculptures and jewelry. The show opens this week, but continues through Dec. 22, so you’ve got lots of time to shop.
Carbondale Clay Center, 135 Main St. | Free | 963-2529 | carbondaleclaycenter.org
Ten Thousand Villages Gift Festival
Friday to Sunday Get a jump on your holiday shopping while benefiting craftspeople around the world. This 31st-annual event offers home décor, jewelry, accessories, toys and more, all made by artisans in third-world countries.
Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, 1630 Grand Ave., Glenwood Springs | Free | 945-6848
Bow Wow Film Festival
Saturday, 6 p.m. Hey dog fans—we know there are a lot of you out there. This Saturday film fest is for you. Celebrate the bond between you and your canine with a series of short, dog-themed films. Beverages and snacks will be available, and your pup is welcome. Proceeds benefit Colorado Animal Rescue.
Third Street Center, 520 S. Third St., Carbondale | $12, $7 children 12 and younger | bowwowfilmfest.com
Line of Totality
Friday, 6-8 p.m. Join the closing reception of this exhibit during First Friday. Chris Hassig’s drawings have taken on an abstract tone and suggest the landscape around us. Metal sculptor Elliot Norquist’s work explores shapes and how they relate to one another. The two exhibit their distinctive art in this Carbondale Arts exhibit. Through Nov. 8.
The Launchpad, 76 S. Fourth St., Carbondale | Free | 963-1680 | carbondalearts.com
Monday, 7:30 p.m. Thunder River Theatre Company’s Diva Cabaret series continues with Nikki Boxer’s one-woman show, “Colored Lights: A Night of Music and Memories.” Riviera Supper Club and Piano Bar owner Jonathan Gorst will accompany on piano. Each previous show in the series has sold out, so plan ahead!
Gateway Canyons: The best kept secret in Colorado?
Where in Colorado can you see a one-of-a-kind 1954 Oldsmobile F-88 concept car, take a fast sports car out for a drive, see the canyons from a helicopter, play outdoor laser tag, take a horseback ride amongst spectacular scenery, relax at the spa, mountain bike, hike or learn the history of the area from a Curator of Curiosity?
Most of the guests we spoke to during our visit felt as though they had also just happened to stumble upon this special place. One of the best kept secrets in Colorado, Gateway Canyons Resort is a luxury oasis in the middle-of-nowhere, Colorado.
Surrounded by canyons on all sides, this resort is an interesting blend of New Mexican design style and enchanting vistas mixed with Colorado colors and locale. Created by the founder of the Discovery Channel, this resort has unearthed the history of the area to make it an interesting place to visit.
Gateway Canyons Resort Located in Beautiful Colorado
The drive to Gateway Canyons Resort is spectacular. It is different from the many other beautiful resort and Front Range landscapes. This area south of Grand Junction feels like the middle of nowhere, on a winding road sandwiched between canyons. The area to the north of Gateway Canyons Resort has some of the most vibrant orange and red colors of fall in Colorado. The many rock formations are ancient. During the summer months Gateway Canyons is actually a short hour drive from Moab on a dirt road.
Gateway Canyons Resort Lodging
Gateway Canyons is a beautifully landscaped walking resort. Buildings built in an adobe Santa Fe style are scattered throughout the property. Its design maximizes outdoor living and the spectacular canyon views.
There are several different room types at Gateway Canyons Resort. They are all as beautiful as the exterior of the resort with thought to every detail. Some rooms even boast a private hot tub on the balcony. The casitas are set further back on the property for more privacy, spectacular views and are spacious. The outdoor showers in the casitas are a really lovely touch.
Things to Do at Gateway Canyons Resort
Don’t be fooled into thinking there won’t be much to do at Gateway Canyons Resort just because it is in the middle of nowhere. The resort was created by John Hendricks, the founder of the Discovery Channel. It seems he has designed it to share his interests and story with those who visit.
Gateway Canyons Resort Adventure Center
The Adventure Center is where you can arrange almost any type of group activity that you can imagine: off road touring in UTVs or Jeeps, sport shooting, high tech outdoor laser tag, archery, air tours in the resort helicopter and more.
On our brief visit, we only had time to take advantage of Palisade Ranch horseback riding, which we loved. After speaking to Mandy, the manager at the activities center, we were most disappointed that we didn’t get to try the outdoor laser tag. It does require a minimum of 10 people. Mandy excitedly showed us the high tech equipment while describing the experience as “freaking sweet.”
Gateway Canyons Auto Museum
An auto museum wouldn’t typically be on my to-do list, but without knowing much about it, I did know it was something my husband would love. As we were checking in we browsed around the lobby. A coffee table book immediately grabbed my husband’s attention — “The Performing Art of the American Automobile: The Hendricks Collection on Exhibit at the Gateway Colorado Auto Museum.” The auto museum is John Hendrick’s personal collection on display for resort guests. The highlight is the one-of-a-kind 1954 Oldsmobile F-88 concept car.
Hiking, Biking & Climbing Gateway Canyons Resort
Gateway Canyons offers many different guided hiking, biking and climbing excursions. Or, depending on your ability level you could explore on your own. The morning after a full moon I managed to get out prior to sunrise and hike a trail starting right on the resort property. The sunrise and full moon both at the same time was quite a sight.
Enrichment at Gateway Canyons Resort
It was fascinating to take in a talk from the resort’s Curator of Curiosity, Zebulon Miracle. He is a wealth of information about the area. The oldest rock layer on the resort’s signature landmark, “The Palisade” is 290 million years old. People lived in the area 1,200 years ago. One of the West’s most famous outlaws may have committed one of his first bank robberies in the area. As fascinating as Zebulon’s talk was, I can only imagine what a treat it would be to take one of his excursions.
Gateway Canyons Resort Spa
Our visit was a short one so we did not take time to experience a luxurious spa service ourselves. All of the treatments sound wonderful. We did manage to find time to enjoy the state-of-the-art steam room, sauna and outdoor spa all of which are accessible to all resort guests at no additional charge. It was the perfect way to relax after any of the active adventures the resort offers.
For the car lover, Gateway Canyons offers a fleet of luxury and sports cars available for rent. You can rent a Porche 911, Bentley Continental, Tesla Roadster and explore the windy mountain roads in a fast sports car.
Truly anyone would be hard pressed not to enjoy this oasis in the middle of beautiful Colorado. John Hendricks has managed to create luxury and every possible attention to detail in a magical place in the American West that otherwise people would never think or know to visit. I am very glad to know that most of the property acreage is under a conservation easement and that the resort is committed to energy conservation, protecting scenic landscapes and critical wildlife habitats.
For those who haven’t yet made Thanksgiving plans, it could be the perfect time to check out the resort. The chef is offering a special Thanksgiving dinner and there is a schedule full of special events available including a wine tour and complimentary excursions with Curator of Curiosity, Zebulon Miracle.
Liana Moore is Chief Mama Blogger at Insider Families and marketing director at Antlers at Vail. She can be reached at www.insiderfamilies.com, www.facebook.com/InsiderFamilies or firstname.lastname@example.org.