Ear to the ground

“Really productive. I made a key-chain.”

-FLC student’s response to being asked how his day was going

Dudes land in Durango

“Dude! It’s the perfect family vacation.”

You guessed it. Durango got more national press this week just ahead of the busy summer vacation season. This time, Durango, and specifically Wit’s End Guest Ranch, received top billing in an Associated Press story on dude ranches.

“You’ve been to the seashore, you’ve been to those fancy resorts and maybe even on a cruise, and you’ve probably spent time and money taking in big city sights and shopping,” Roger Petterson wrote. “Perhaps it’s time to explore something new – or old – where you can get a sense of the Old West, enjoy wide open spaces from the back of a horse and maybe tame a wild trout.”

Wit’s End, the high-end resort north of Vallecito Lake, topped Petterson’s picks for the best place to get in the saddle and tame trout.

“Don’t worry, you won’t be bedding down in a musty old bunkhouse; just check out their lodging section and then click on the photo gallery,” Petterson wrote. “Along with extensive fly fishing and the expected trail rides, this ranch’s recreation menu includes tennis, hunting and mountain biking.”

Nine Quarter Circle, a family ranch in Montana, also made the cut. Petterson ends the story by advising would-be dudes and dudettes to visit the Texas Travel directory, the official Arizona Guide and the Dude Ranchers Association, along with other Internet sources for that perfect vacation.

Feline fame and fortune

Think that tame trout is ready for a life in pictures? The La Plata County Humane Society has announced its annual Pet Calendar Photo Contest. The only catch is that the pet has to be a shelter animal alumni.

Owners of would-be pet pin-ups have until July 15 to submit photos of their animals. All photographs must be at least 4-by-6 inches or in a digital format. In addition to the photograph of the animal adopted from the La Plata County Humane Society, each entry should include a short story about the animal and a $5 donation. Households are limited to three entries.

Contest winners earn eternal pet glory, a free calendar and 25 Durango Dollars. For more information, entry forms and a list of rules and regulations, visit www.lpchumanesociety.org.