Ear to the ground

“Why’d you guys chase him off? I’ve been feeding that bear for a week so I could get a photo.”

-Perhaps the biggest all-time example of bear stupidity during a late night last week on Durango’s east side.

Return of La Niña

She’s back! Like an unwelcome house guest, La Niña is once again taking shape off the coast of Baja.

The cool-water phenomenon typically makes for a drought winter in Southwest Colorado, while the rest of the state enjoys an abundance of the white stuff. Colorado got an early taste of La Niña over the weekend. Many mountain towns received copious amounts of early-season snow, while Purgatory reported 3 inches and the snowline hovered somewhere around Red Mountain Pass.

Contemplating the winter to come, National Weather Service meteorologist Joe Ramey recently commented that it’s definitely another La Niña winter. That means that Durango and Southwest Colorado could be in for a bone-dry December and January, while the rest of the state wallows in waist-deep dumps.

Durango’s last flirtation with La Niña was two years ago. At that time, the San Juans had as little as 34 percent of average snowpack going into January. In contrast, the early winter of 2005-06 was record-breaking for the swath from Crested Butte to Steamboat Springs, where 400 inches of snow fell during the same period.

The upside of that La Niña came after January, when Durango and the San Juans came up to speed and the rest of the state lapsed back into a so-so winter.

The other half

Marisa Asplund-Owens left her bike at home last weekend and went on the road. The Durango-based professional cyclist traded wheels for running shoes and managed to win the Moab Half Marathon on Sun., Oct. 21. The 13.1-mile “Other Half” Marathon is the companion race to the Canyonlands Half Marathon held each spring in Moab. The course begins at Dewey Bridge and follows the Colorado River Road toward Moab.

During her first endurance run ever, Asplund-Owens faced off against more than 1,500 other distance runners and nearly broke the course record. With a time of 1 hour, 25 minutes and 25 seconds, Marisa took first for the ladies and 15th place overall.

Last Sunday’s finish crowned a remarkable season for Asplund-Owens. In the spring, she won the coveted Gila Monster stage in the Tour of the Gila road race. Shortly thereafter, she took second place in the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic. As if that’s not enough, Marisa taught full-time at Escalante Middle School and squeezed in a wedding, marrying local cycling coach Steve Owens.


In this week's issue...

May 11, 2023
Digs for dirt bags

New hostel offers hikers, skiers and other frugal fun hogs place to hang their hats

May 4, 2023
Saving the cemetery

Proposed apartments spur efforts to preserve historical burial grounds

May 4, 2023
Rico reprieve

Small mountain hamlet to remain resort-free, for now