Ear to the ground

“We tried to go carnie watching and hit up some free entertainment. But when it came down to it, we just didn’t have the energy.”  

– A local couple on one of the side-benefits of having the carnival back in town

The inner Indy

Durango went on the international map as a good place to “tap your inner Indy” last week. With the latest Indiana Jones film, “The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” now in theaters, USA Today offered tips for would-be adventure archeologists.

“This might be a good time to up your adventure ante,” the paper wrote. “Just try to avoid dangling above snake pits and being chased by boulders.”

In the story,National Geographic’sBoyd Matson, host of “Wild Chronicles,” shares his favorite “intrepid getaways.” Among the top picks are Marrakech, Morocco, “for a scene that could be plucked straight out of the new film,” and Machu Picchu in Peru, “gain some explorer creds by hiking the Inca Trail.” Everest base camp, King Tut’s tomb, and Papua, New Guinea, were also on Matson’s must-do list of places to play archeologist.

And for the more budget-conscious Indiana, Durango and the Four Corners also made the cut. Matson spotlighted the region’s rich Puebloan culture and said, “A visit to Anasazi ruins is like an Indiana Jones expedition in search of a lost civilization that mysteriously disappeared.”

He advised travelers to “Start in Durango, Colo., with a visit to the cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde, then drive down to Chaco Canyon in New Mexico.”

Last of its kind

Is Purgatory’s alpine slide on the verge of becoming a valuable relic? Recent events in Beaver Creek and Vail suggest that the local ride could become one of the last of its kind.

Plans for alpine slides at both those ski areas were recently put on hold.

At Beaver Creek, a proposed alpine slide was blocked by homeowners, who say the noise and appearance are inappropriate for the resort. A similar plan on Vail Mountain is also on the back burner, while the Forest Service first analyzes proposals for new chairlifts and snowmaking.

Unlike Durango Mountain Resort’s nearly 30-year-old track, the Vail “coaster” would have steel rails that carry two-person sleds on a 3,000-foot track at Adventure Ridge. Ironically, the Durango-based Colorado Wild has formally objected to Vail’s slide because it is “urban-type recreation.”