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Now the Calwood Fire moving into Lyons, Colorado Area

October 18, 2020

View from the Fey Lyons farm in 1972, Stonebridge Farm as it named. The mountains in the background are aflame today. The Feys (my inlaws) had a farm outside of town for many years.

Both sides of the Rockies from the Colorado Front Range north of Boulder to western end of the Rockies just east of Salt Lake – fires everywhere.

While still a ways from the Denver metro area, still, the fires are getting rather close to home now, including places near and dear to our hearts. The air quality index for the region continues to be poor to moderate – with places like Ft. Collins, Loveland, Longmont it spiking to dangerous levels.
This is the latest news I could find from a google search – 3 hours old.
I had mistakenly thought that the fire which is causing Jamestown to evacuate was a part of the Cameron Peaks blaze, now aflame for more than 2 months since August 13 and the largest fire in Colorado history… but no, it is a second fire which has ignited called the Calwood fire, threatening Lyons, the smoke of which has been billowing across Boulder, Niwot and Longmont – seen from Denver. It is moving quickly in a number of directions, including east towards the plains.
The the Calwood fire has exploded in a number of direction with great force. It has been exceedingly dry here in Colorado for some time – something that has worried me as I wake each morning and look for rain and find none in the forecast. 60 mile an hour winds have made things worse.
Now this…

One of the places now under fire alert is Lyons Colorado – a few miles outside of which –  where Nancy and siblings grew up… where we spent so much time over the years, where our 1975 wedding reception was held in field along the property’s west ditch.  The farm, Stonebridge Farm, could be on the fire’s path from what I can tell.

At one point last night, the fire jumped to the east of Highway 36 towards Longmont, the north-south road between Boulder and Longmont, but firefighters were able to neutralize it.

As of this morning: Road Closures according to the Boulder Office of Emergency Preparedness.

  • Olde Stage @ Lee Hill Drive
  • Lee Hill Drive @ Lefthand Canyon Drive
  • Broadway @ US 36
  • Neva Road @ US 36
  • Nelson Road @ US 36
  • St. Vrain @ US 36
  • Hygiene Road @ US 36
  • Overland Road @ CR 87
  • Overland Road @ Peak To Peak Highway (CO 72)
  • Lefthand Canyon Drive @ James Canyon Drive
  • Peak To Peak Highway (CO 72) @ CO 7
  • South St. Vrain @ Old South St. Vrain
  • Lefthand Canyon Drive @ US 36
  • US 36 @ CO 66
Evacuation center is open at 1333 Iris Ave. in Boulder.
This YouTube was taken sometime last night, posted at 3 am this morning –  .
CNN article follows
An earlier related blog entry.

Our Bowl 1924-1999

October 17, 2020

you were there

when we needed you

that’s more than I can say for most people

an original

75 years – came with the house, they say

now you sit in the alley

waiting

for that great toilet reaper

to sweep you and those 75 biodegradable years away

i try to imagine

what you went through

and what went through you

 

Rob Prince – 1999

(a poem – I guess you can call it that – I found among old papers)

Roxborough State Park – Front Range Colorado Gem

October 14, 2020

 

Roxborough’s 300-million-year-old red sandstone Fountain Formations that tilt at a 60 degree angle

From our home in Northwest Denver, Roxborough State Park is some 35 miles away, south past the Chatfield Dam and onto North Rampart Road. When I first came to Colorado 51 years past, there was “nothing” out there, that is to say a few ranches along the edge of the mountains reaching out onto the High Plains. Now it’s a different story with the development cancer extending to the edge of the park. That the park itself didn’t get gobbled up in some development scheme is about as close to a miracle that I can think of. Visiting Roxborough anytime of year is worth the effort, but to do so on a mild and sunny day in early October with the trees and bushes turning different shades of green, brown, yellow and red only adds to the experience.

There must be a story behind its preservation that I’ll unearth one day. Whatever, it is, among the state’s natural wonders, or what hasn’t been developed, mined, fracked or nuclear bombed (Project Rulison, Rio Blanco), radiated for milleneum’s to come (Rocky Flats) or otherwise poisoned by unchecked development or breathtakingly stupid or dangerous federal projects (Rocky Flats, Rocky Mountain Arsenal)as of yet.

It takes close to an hour to get there, a fact which has discouraged us from spending more time at Roxborough then we have. Last time we had hiked this park, I got some decent shots of a spotted towhee. Hoping to repeat that, or find another bird not common in northwest Denver, I brought my monster lens (150-600 mm), but on that score came up short as we saw very few birds of any variety, and those we did see were too far away to photograph. A group of 4-5 Stellar Jays crossed our path at a distance and a circling red-tailed hawk looked promising. Took a dozen of it but only one or two were not blurry. That”s how it goes photographing brids. Sometimes you win (rarely), sometimes you lose (mostly) but the fact that the photos are digital and not film based, softens the blow. Anyhow, frustration and disappointment come with the hobby

Birds might have been scarce but the geological history of the place – if you follow the guide book or have a basic knowledge of the place – makes up for it. Read more…

Syria ravaged by new forest fires, people trapped in burning homes, children displaced

October 13, 2020

Syria ravaged by new forest fires, people trapped in burning homes, children displaced

https://piazzadcara.wordpress.com/2020/10/10/syria-ravaged-by-new-forest-fires-people-trapped-in-burning-homes-children-displaced/
— Read on piazzadcara.wordpress.com/2020/10/10/syria-ravaged-by-new-forest-fires-people-trapped-in-burning-homes-children-displaced/

Turkey’s Well-Earned Bitterness…but

October 5, 2020

Turkey – a global crossroad

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Be that as it may, Turkey has emerged as “a player” seeking a more pronounced place in the Mediterranean sun. Needless to say, finding a way either through force, diplomacy or some combination thereof, to partake of the region’s far from exhausted energy wealth is a high priority.  Although for the most part I am critical of Turkey’s current role in the region – in Syria, Iraq, Libya and now Azerbaijan-Armenia- the question still emerges: why shouldn’t Turkey, with its population of 85 million and its rich history in the region, enjoy more regional influence?

It is rather a question of how they go about it. 

There are certain realities, lessons from History that it appears not to have appreciated, primary among them are two: 1. The Ottoman Empire is dead and will not be resurrected; using that imagry might play well domestically but throughout the region, especially in the Arab World, it is a reminder of a long rejected colonial heritage. 2. The geo-political realities of the region (the roles of Iran, Israel, Russia, China, Greece and even NATO) severely limit its possible use of force. It needs another modus vivendi more heavily based on trade, diplomacy. 

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Turkey wants its share of the eastern Mediterranean’s wealth from natural gas and oil, from which it has been excluded for the past hundred years sincce the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. Tayyip Erdogan’s narrow ethnic nationalism and regional ambitions are linked to regaining its position of influence lost when the Ottoman Empire turned to dust.

Ankara’s historic bitterness is deep and well founded – but misdirected.

Turkey has been – since the collapse of the Ottoman Empire – the target of imperialist intrigue starting with the Treaty of Sevres – a failed attempt to partition the country – to its subservient role in NATO and its mistreatment by the European Union. This explains in part – and not in small part – its current aggressive politics – its scramble to become a regional more decisive regional power.

Broader geo-political shifts are also at play.

With the collapse of the USSR thirty years ago the glue that kept certain regional competitors – Turkey, Israel, Iran, Saudi Arabia – connected in an anti-communist uneasy alliance has broken down. U. S. influence and prestige – and with it American ability to dictate policy has lost some of its edge as well. Into this growing power vacuum, regional players see an opportunity to – within certain limits – maximize their regional influence.

Turkey’s initial attempts at geographic expansionism have run into a buzz saw of its own making, its biggest blunder – and failed gamble – its support, encouragement of foreign takfiri mercenaries in Syria and its failed attempt to participate, along with other countries and under U.S. direction, in the abortive effort to partition Syria. Its goal of taking a chunk out of northern Iraq – in the cynical name of self-defense, will, likewise prove unsuccessful.

Following a similar trajectory, its effort to gain a foothold in Libya where the oil and natural gas wealth is considerable, has stalled. Not sure that Tayyip Erdogan understands – but he seems to – that in a Turkish military confrontation with Egypt (supported by the Saudi’s, U.A.E. and probably Israel) that Ankara at best, will get a terrible bruising and at worse suffer a decisive defeat. Read more…

Hundreds of Sudanese troops enter Saudi Arabia en route to Yemen: Report

October 3, 2020

Hundreds of Sudanese troops enter Saudi Arabia en route to Yemen: Report

https://piazzadcara.wordpress.com/2020/10/03/hundreds-of-sudanese-troops-enter-saudi-arabia-en-route-to-yemen-report/
— Read on piazzadcara.wordpress.com/2020/10/03/hundreds-of-sudanese-troops-enter-saudi-arabia-en-route-to-yemen-report/

Audio: “The United Nations at 75: The Hope and the Reality of Its Role In The Middle East” Tuesday, September 29, 2020 -Hemispheres, Middle East Dialogues, hosted by Jim Nelson.

September 30, 2020

United Nations, New York – Swords to Plowshares

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Ibrahim Kazerooni and Rob Prince on KGNU – Hemispheres, Middle East Dialogues discuss the hope and reality of the United Nations on this the 75th anniversary of the end of World War 2 and the founding of the United Nations, the disconnect between the sentiment expressed in the General Assembly and the actions of the Security Council, reduced often to little more than a rubber stamp of U.S. foreign policy initiatives. Concerning the Middle East, they detail the failure of the UN to be a key player in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, its complicity in the NATO invasion of Libya and the overthrow of the Khadaffi government and its shameful role in the U.S. supported shameful Saudi war against Yemen.

And yet the world needs, now more than ever, an international forum to address and take action on global problems that continue to accumulate: climate change, the nuclear arms race, racism and poverty in the world, and now pandemics like ebola and COVID-19.

Can the United Nations be reformed, democratized or is it too far gone and needs to be replaced by a new international forum for global stability and progress?

 

“The United Nations at 75: The Hope and the Reality of Its Role In The Middle East” Tuesday, September 29, 2020 @ 6-7pm MST, KGNU: Hemispheres, Middle East Dialogues, hosted by Jim Nelson.

September 29, 2020

Visiting the United Nations headquarters in 1954. from left to right front row: Rob Prince – age 10; cousins Judy Magazine – age 12, David Magazine – age 11. Back Row left to right: Aunt Pearl – Pearl Magazine, Aunt Mal – Malvina (Magazine) Stone. Our aunts tried to educate us

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“The United Nations at 75: The Hope and the Reality of Its Role In The Middle East” Tuesday, September 29, 2020 @ 6-7pm MST, KGNU: Hemispheres, Middle East Dialogues, hosted by Jim Nelson.

Two historic landmarks – 75th anniversary of the end of World War 2, 75th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations. Its mission, as stated in its charter, to “save succeeding generations from the scourge of war” – right there at the beginning. Still as vital as ever, maybe more than ever, but… hasn’t fulfilled that mission in the Middle East. Why not? What changes needed for it to be more effective?

All that and more – tonight on KGNU – 1390 am, 88.5 fm in Denver, streaming at http://www.kgnu.org

One World – An Ostrich Approach Won’t Cut it, “America First Means America Last”

September 29, 2020

Earth Day, April 2017. Denver, Colorado

Friends… the U.S. – it is not just Trump – has, over the past two decades in particular, pushed China and Russia into a stronger strategic alliance that will not just reshape their relationship – but, melodramatic as it might appear – the world as a whole. It results from bipartisan American bullying, the vilification of the leaders of both countries, Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping, a policy of surrounding both countries will military bases and engaging in all kinds of disruptive activities.

In this period after the collapse of the USSR and E. European Communism, when, had the U.S. used the power that it had judiciously, it could both avoided the precipitous decline we are now facing. It’s decline could have been graceful, manageable and lasted centuries – no world power lasts forever – instead it is graceless, a danger to itself, its citizenry and the rest of the world – on a road to nowhere. Leading the charge for the moment, one Donald Trump who has done untold damage to an already ailing body politic, both domestically and globally. If Trump remains in power, the dangerous circus will continue; if defeated – as hopefully will happen – it, the circus, will continue as well, but at a slower, somewhat more manageable and humane pace.

Keep taking potshots at Russia, Putin; keep attacking China for its human rights shortcomings, magnified beyond reality when it comes to both Hong Kong and the Xighurs. China and Russia will deal with their own human rights shortcomings. We’ve got a circus of shortcomings here in the USA to address. People in glass houses…

Beyond the fact that it either exaggerates or actually fabricates false scenarios concerning both country, these character assassinations have another disturbing consequence: they crminalize detente, making it difficult or impossible for any mainstream politican to pursue serious dialogue, certainly with Russia and more and more with China over issues of climate change, the nuclear arms race, or our more immediate global problem: defeating the global COVID-19 pandemic

“America First” means America last…

Read more…

Audio Tape: “The 2020 Presidential Elections and the Prospects for Middle East Peace” Tuesday, September 22, 2020 @ 6-7pm MST, KGNU: Hemispheres, Middle East Dialogues.

September 23, 2020

Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed (MbZ) with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

The audio tape of last night’s KGNU program. Transcript will follow.

Tonight on Hemispheres the Middle East Dialogues with Ibrahim Kazerooni and Rob Prince. This evening Ibrahim and Rob will discuss the 2020 U.S. election and the prospects for Middle East peace. Currently, with hot spots all over the Middle East from Idlib Province in Syria, to Israel’s open air concentration camp in Gaza, to Yemen where the Saudis and the United Arab Emirate continue to commit war crimes with U.S. weapons; to Libya where a dangerous faceoff between Turkey and Egypt is still possible; to Washington DC where the Trump Administration is placing “snapback” sanctions against Iran despite the Security Council rejecting the idea. Kazerooni and Prince will ask the question, what are the prospects for peace, if any, that either candidate can offer? All that and listener phone calls will be welcome. That’s the Middle East Dialogues tonight on Hemispheres

 

“The 2020 Presidential Elections and the Prospects for Middle East Peace” Tuesday, September 22, 2020 @ 6-7pm MST, KGNU: Hemispheres, Middle East Dialogues. 

September 22, 2020

Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed (MbZ) with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

“The 2020 Presidential Elections and the Prospects for Middle East Peace” Tuesday, September 22, 2020 @ 6-7pm MST, KGNU: Hemispheres, Middle East Dialogues.

With Ibrahim Kazerooni and Rob Prince; hosted by Jim Nelson

We are probing – sometimes with the aid of an electron microscope – searching for Middle East peace doves.

What are the prospects for peace in the Middle East if Biden wins or if Trump is re-elected? The United States has, over the years, through its policies of “humanitarian intervention” based upon “American Exceptionalism” created numerous “hot spots” throughout the Middle East. In fact the entire region is in crisis. Can either of the possible U. S. presidential hopefuls dampen these fires and reverse them, so that the region moves from one of unending war and suffering, to one of peaceful reconstruction?

What are the similaries, differences in Biden and Trump’s Middle East polices?

All that and more! Tonight, Tuesday, September 22, 2020, 6-7 pm Mountain States Time at KGNU, Boulder (Colorado). 1390 am, 88.5 FM, streaming at http://www.kgnu.org “Tune In On-line”.

“Spies of Warsaw by Alan Furst (and some comments on Philip Kerr and Douglas Downing as well)

September 21, 2020

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These kind of books create something of an illusion about WW2, of which Spies of Warsaw is a classic example. What’s missing? The broader picture. Of course there is historic value to place individuals in historically trying circumstances to explore how it is they deal with such situations but at a certain point, this strength can become a weakness. For as moving – and emotionally satisifying – is the ethical framework of a Mercier, or a Norwegian transport ship captain, or a Polish nobleman, no matter how clever, brave or, ultimately, generous of spirit each is (or isn’t), World War II was prepared and fought on an entirely different, broader level, the level of governments, of military, of diplomacy and of battles. The courage, the sacrifice involved is social in nature. It is that social element that is missing. Plus given their portrayal of Soviets as ruthless thugs, they contribute in their own way to the criminalization of detente today.

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1.

Among writers who write spy novels, “spy masters” they are often called, Alan Furst is “up there.” In my book at least, he’s one of the better ones. I haven’t read them all but besides Furst, I’ve read a fair amount of Philip Kerr – who recently died – and David Downing too. Furst’s characters are, frankly, more credible – although credible or not Kerr’s Bernie Gunther and Downing’s John Russell are both sympathetic characters. The characters themselves are engaging vehicles that tell stories which, while fiction, reveal whole worlds. In a way they all deal with a similar theme: how to remain a decent human being in a nasty world in which it is impossible not to deal directly with “evil” – the evil of fascism. either as it is coming into being full blown after 1933, or in some cases, during World War 2 itself.

But then the credibility of the protagonists matters than the settings, the detailed description of place, the different historical moments leading to (or actually in WW2). It’s the background which matters more. For those who find history, especially the history of World War 2 “boring” reading any of these three is an interesting way to learn about the causes and main incidents that led to war. And all three of them know their history and know it with – at least it’s my impression – considerable accuracy.  By placing their characters smack in the middle of the war (in one place or another), readers can relate to the kind of emotional tension involved in so many moments of that war. The moments come alive and in a way that is often otherwise missing in “straight” history. Reading any of them, fiction becomes an effective way of learning history.

In the “real world,” whatever that is, neither Bernie Gunter, David Downing or the parade of upper middle class dignified protagonists that pepper Furst’s novels would have made it out of the first novel – and in most cases – out of the first chapter of the first novel. But they all do, manage to somehow wiggle out of the tightest situations again and again. If not, how could the authors write a series about them! Read more…

The Birds Are Dying…

September 19, 2020

Northern shovelers, “shoveling” – Arbor Lake. Arvada, Colorado . January 17, 2020

Ruth Bader Ginsberg died today; not necessary to elaborate on what that means, the whole country knows. The wild fires on the west coast continue to rage, here in Colorado too there have been mean ones – and the wild fire season has hardly begun. The air along Colorado’s Front Range is bad with the Denver Air Quality Index around 125 today, down from 150 or so yesterday. I’ve stayed indoors most of the time for the past week.  In parts of Portland yesterday it was around 400. News of a rash of involuntary hysterectomies in a Georgia ICE facilities, horrible news, while in Colorado the EPA slaps meat packer JBS hand when they should be indicted for murder for COVID-10 deaths and the news is that Denver cops killed three people this week.

And the birds are dying. Hundreds of thousands of them, perhaps more than a million.

Hard to evaulate the first reports but it appears the birds are dying and in horrific numbers. Was waiting for some kind of confirmation. I’ve posted just below an entire aricle from the North American Birds Field Ornithology which gives a plausible initial explanation. I’m not going to post photos of dead birds although there are enough photos on this article, along with video, to give a sense of it all.

Birds.

I’ve been photographing them and learning about them these past years… a retirement project. In New York City where I grew up I was generally oblivious of birds. Not trying to become – and am not – “an expert.” Nothing wrong with bird experts other than, with a few exceptions, I’d rather not be around them. Like “mushroom experts,” whatever I might gain in identification I lose in other ways: they take the joy out of bird watching for me; I avoid them and bird counts. Again it’s a personal thing, I just want to enjoy birds, connect a little bit, to nature and to their beauty and occasionally, as I seem to this past summer, get insights into their world, their behavior… and escape from mine, at least temporarily, get off this computer – on which I spend so much – too much – time , get a bit of exercise. Read more…

Poles and Jews – Magaziner, Prensky Origins… Part One; Even Prior to Auschwitz, Life was Tough

September 15, 2020

On the left – the Nieman River Basin – a small part of which extends into Poland near Bialystok where from whence hail the Magaziners and Burwicks. (Nieman is also spelled Neman and Nemanus.). The western branch of the Neiman begins in Belaru’s Pripyat Swamps, goes through Grodno in Belarus and Prienai (which the Jews living there called “Pren”) following northwest into Kaliningrad until it dumps into the Baltic Sea. My relatives were fishermen and rabbis living on the banks of the Nieman (at least according to “Aunt Mal”).

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Yet an off-handed remark that came back to me recently suggested a more complex picture. I was asking my mother’s sister, “Aunt Mal” who was in her later years what was left of the family historian about the family history and she remarked something along the lines that, yes, some of the family had perished in the Holocaust – although whether they were executed in the first days of the Nazi Occupation or died in camps like Auschwitz remains unknown but that much of the family had been victimized earlier, during World War One and the turbulent years just after the war had ended.

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Over the next few months I am going to be reading and writing about Polish history – keep getting drawn in deeper and deeper. I suppose the question is why? The answer – It’s a personal matter: although most of us hardly give it a second thought – myself included until recently – my family comes from there. Of course many Poles – and some Jews – would say – your family history is Jewish, not Polish and some Poles would argue that Jews, even if they lived within the ever changing boundaries of what has been called “Poland,” are not truly Poles.

I find that argument – on both sides – silly and in some ways discriminatory.

Jews lived in the changing landscape of what today is Poland for hundreds of years. True enough the communities were largely separated, segregated – and yet for centuries they shared the same history, the same geographic space, the same political formations and as a result of geography, suffered similar fates being located in the middle of one of Europe’s great crossroads – with Russia to the east and Germany (and France and Great Britain) to the west, with Poland caught in the middle.

Some Jews may not like being called “Poles”… but what else were they? In any event, my interest in pursing this subject is personal.

Like many second and third generation assimilated Jews, this history was unimportant to me and generally stopped at the Holocaust. But with age and what I would like to think of as less personal stupidity and an understanding that history – be it family or in the broader sense – is important – and whether one realizes it or not, we are all a part of something “bigger” than the little piece of geography and history within which we currently find ourselves. And while much of my families Jewish history – other than the barest of outlines – died in the ovens of Nazi concentration camps, or earlier in fighting on the Eastern Front in World War I and in the regional wars that followed (like the Polish-Soviet War of 1919-1920) – we can learn a great deal about what our family went through given the chaotic historical narrative of the times.

My family history, and that of siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles and parents, is Jewish and from Eastern Europe, what is today three countries: Poland, Lithuania and Belarus, for a good part of the past 300,400 years a part of the Russian Empire. The relatives who could have shared more of it with me are gone. I did learn some from a maternal aunt, Aunt Mal, (Malvina Stone, b. Molly Magaziner), some of which is fascinating, some of which it turned out by the little research I have been able to do, is more “family lore” than actual history – but interesting all the same. Read more…

Stopping by Grizzly Creek on a snowy afternoon in January

September 12, 2020

Grizzly Creek – the site of one of Colorado’s worst fires – flowing into the Colorado River (above in the photo) on January 20, 2020. Incalcuable damage to birds and wildlife.

The fires in Colorado – bad as they are – are modest compared to those seeming to ignite the entire west coast from S. California to Washington State, although we’ve had some terrible ones with the forest fire season still quite young.

One of these Colorado fires, the Grizzly Creek fire, swept through Glenwood Canyon (just east of Glenwood Springs) closing down I-70 , the inter-state for more than two weeks. The fire began on August 10 closing the interstate during which time no vital supplies could be trucked in from the west on the interstate. I-70 was reopened on the 24 and then closed again for a few days. It reopened.

As of yesterday (Sptember 11, 20200 it was 91% contained – whatever that means – with about 100 personnel remain on the fire, monitoring the open containment lines and continuing suppression repair as roads dry to allow better access. The fire has consumed some 32,410 acres of land both north and south of the Colorado River at Grizzly Creek. Grizzly Creek flows into the Colorado River from the north.

This morning looking at the information on the fires here in Colorado on-line, I remembered that earlier in the year, on our way to Glenwood Springs to spend a few days in the mineral pools there, we stopped at a rest area at Grizzy Creek and I-70. We stopped there for about a half hour, walked around a bit, saw the spot where the creek flows into the Colorado River. There was a path leading up Grizzly Creek that was blocked by snow. We spoke about how sometime it would be nice to check the path out and hike up it a ways. We had passed that way many times over the past half century and never stopped. Decided it was time. Pleasant place, even given the cold temperaturs of that day. Below another photo of the Colorado River just east of Grizzly Creek, taken the same day, now charred beyond belief. Read more…