Ear to theground

“I did try a spoonful, but promise I didn’t swallow.”

– A Durangoan after experimenting with wellness and indulging in a taste of medical marijuana ice cream  

King of the Ark

A Durango man earned “father of the river” status during last weekend’s 62nd FIBArk Whitewater Festival in Salida. Mike Freeburn, the 46-year-old assistant principal at Durango High School, took home the ultimate Father’s Day gift on Sunday – top honors in the marathon 26-mile Downriver Race.

The downriver race is the event that first got the FIBArk festival started in 1949. The 26-mile race through class III water runs from Salida to Cotopaxi and has always drawn some of the best boaters in the country and world to the starting line. Freeburn also won the race in 1991.

“This year there were no flips and no swims but the wind was wild at times. Sometimes it was a head wind, sometimes a cross wind and near the end it was a tail wind – it was blowing me places I didn’t want to go,” Freeburn told thePueblo Chieftan. “I just got a nice pace going and maintained it. I did not feel like I had to kill it.”

Proving that experience offers the edge on youth, Gary Lacy, 54, of Boulder took second in the race, his 36th consecutive FIBArk. And proving that youth can never be overlooked, Durango’s Cully Brown, age 14, took fourth. “He is the up and coming future of this sport,” Freeburn told the paper.

All in the all, Durango enjoyed a fairly dominant weekend in Salida. Among many strong Durango finishes, local women, Jana Freeburn, Nancy Wiley and Janet Wiley, went 1, 2, 3 in the master women’s kayak slalom. Rogan Brown took first in the junior slalom, and Corey Nielson took first and Art Zemach enjoyed third in the master men’s slalom.

Outdoor types

Forget the honor of “Best Mountain Biking Town” bestowed byOutside MagazineandNational Geographic Adventurer’stag of “Best Place to Live and Play.” Durango’s got a brand new feather in its blaze orange cap.Outdoor Life magazine recently named the local burg one of the “200 best towns in America for outdoorsmen”

Outdoor Life hunted and fished through thousands of towns throughout the country before compiling the list. “Gun-friendliness of each town’s state, huntable and fishable species nearby, proximity to public land and waters, and the potential for taking a trophy-caliber animal or fish nearby” all weighed into the magazines choices.

Durango cracked the list at 111. The town received high marks for the abundance of high quality trout streams. Big game hunting and Durango’s wealth of large racks also figured in the ranking.




In this week's issue...

January 25, 2024
Bagging it

State plastic bag ban is in full effect, but enforcement varies

January 26, 2024
Paper chase

The Sneer is back – and no we’re not talking about Billy Idol’s comeback tour.

January 11, 2024
High and dry

New state climate report projects continued warming, declining streamflows