Lake Nighthorse: Open for Business and Pleasure
by Indiana Reed
As both a recreational and water-supply resource in the region, Lake Nighthorse is Durango's latest shining star. Its opening in May of 2018 is indeed cause for celebration. Writer Reed says 50 to 80 years went into the negotiations, planning, studying, design and construction of the new reservoir, as well as many millions of dollars. Lake Nighthorse, less than two miles from Durango, has about 1,500 surface acres of water and is managed by the city's Parks and Recreation department. Open to water recreationists, the lake's users include kayakers, canoeists, motor boaters and paddleboarders. And, providing excellent fishing, it is stocked yearly with brown and rainbow trout, as well as kokanee salmon.
Sherri and Jeff Watson: Nature's Oasis Here to Stay
by Indiana Reed
La Plata Locals Sherri and Jeff Watson are celebrating the 25th anniversary of the opening of their health-food grocery store, Nature's Oasis Natural Foods Market, now located south of town on U.S. Highway 160/550. Originally opened on north Main in 1993, the market has blossomed into an inspiring retail operation of nearly 21,000 square feet that is the epitome of sustainable Durango embraced by both locals and visitors. Today, Nature's Oasis is a shopping destination, a one-stop, must-see market for healthy groceries, vitamins, supplements, bakery, deli, meat, liquor - even gifts. The 25th-anniversary celebration will be held throughout the summer of 2018.
Levi Kurlander: Inspires Kids
by Ben Brashear
A professional mountain biker who rides for the Orange Seal off-road mountain-biking team, Kurlander is a young Durango cyclist achieving success. And, he is the executive director at Durango’s nonprofit bicycle-rider developmental organization, Durango Devo. Brashear’s interview with the biker and Chad Cheeney, Kurlander’s former coach and a Devo co-founder, gets to the heart of the young cyclist’s abilities to inspire kids. Kurlander was a member of the now-famous Fort Lewis College cycling team, which has achieved more than 22 national championships so far. He says he has some 45 big race events planned for this season.
Fun and Fantasy: Featuring Navajo Folk Art
Jackson Clark II, one of the partners in Durango’s renowned Toh-Atin Gallery, says that folk art has become an established and important part of Native American art, with many artists featured at top museums throughout the Southwest. At Toh-Atin, works are featured from Navajo Delbert Buck that are “wonderful, whimsical portrayals of Native American people and animals in unique situations,” says Clark. "Delbert always uses humor in his work and always brings a smile to your face. ... Delbert loves to carve and loves to create works that make people feel good!" Buck, who has been creating the sculptures since he was only 9 years old, is recognized as one of the most respected artists in the field.
Excursions ~ Into Remote Wilderness Aboard the D&SNG
As many thousands of passengers prepare to visit Durango’s most popular attraction, the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad realized that the future of the steam-engine locomotive and its bright-gold passenger cars had more to do with witnessing the precious splendor of the remote backcountry along the rails than with hauling precious metals out of the mountains. Now adventurous residents and visitors know there is access to the famous backcountry in the San Juan National Forest and the Weminuche Wilderness made possible through short-stop excursions on the train. Adventure combinations and many special-event trains round out the seasonal offerings.
Top Picks ~
What's New to See and Do
With many ideas and choices for events and activities around Durango, this issue’s Top Picks includes sultry jazz performer Storm Large and her band, the headliners for the annual Jazz on the Hill dinner, concert and party at the Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College. The 25th Hardrock 100-Mile Run in Silverton, Music in the Mountains at Purgatory Resort, and the incredible cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde National Park are also featured. A local getaway, Ouray, shows off its new pool, while the Center of Southwest Studies at Fort Lewis College opens a new copperplate etchings exhibit.
History ~ Restored Rochester Celebrates 25 Years
by Fred Wildfang
Celebrating 25 years since its complete renovation in 1993, the Rochester Hotel has added to its amenities with its Secret Garden and its new R Space shared workspace next door. A hub for coworking and collaboration, R Space at the Rochester is attracting a lot of attention, according to owner Kirk Komick. Komick and his mother Diane Wildfang bought the Rochester Hotel on Second Avenue downtown when it was already more than 100 years old. Other exciting anniversaries this year in Durango include Mountain Bike Specialists and the Bar D Chuckwagon Suppers, now 50 years old; and Maria’s Bookshop, celebrating 20 years under owners Andrea Avantaggio and Peter Schertz.
Diversions ~ Selected Area Events
Galleries and Goods ~
Durango Cowboy Poetry Gathering
Durango Cowboy Poetry Gathering shows off its poster art selected for the 2018 gathering which was created using an original acrylic painting by Santa Fe artist Poteet Victory. Called Sunshine Equine, the poster promotes the 30th annual gathering Oct. 4 through 7. With a list of shopping options that showcase fine art or unique accessories, Galleries and Goods is a useful tool. The Eye on the Arts calendar is a schedule of upcoming artist shows and gallery exhibits.
Dining Showcase ~ Good Karma...
Himalayan Kitchen Makes Meals Prepared with Love
by Indiana Reed
Giving back, paying it forward, and karma are guiding principles for Chef Karma and Jyamu Bhotia, owners of the restaurant on the corner of 10th and Main, this year celebrating 10 years. With roots reaching deep into the heart of Nepal, where both Karma and Jyamu were raised in an impoverished village, the cuisine of the Himalayan Kitchen is a unique assortment of Nepalese, Tibetan and Indian offerings. Indiana Reed interviewed the owners and tried many samples and says, in general, the East Asian cuisine is health-oriented, with spices such as cumin, ginger, cinnamon, garlic and cardamom essential to the unique flavors. Open daily at 992 Main Ave.
A complete alphabetical listing of area restaurants.
LIVING IN STYLE
Living Green ~ Streetlight Retrofit Helps Sustain Durango
by Indiana Reed
When it comes to sustainability, Durango is ahead of the curve. That is something that makes the community proud as the City of Durango, the Business Improvement District (BID) and the La Plata Electric Association (LPEA) try to save energy and improve the quality of lighting on city sidewalks and streets. Recently, the city has partnered with a Pennsylvania manufacturer (Spring City Electrical Manufacturing) to provide Durango with new light fixtures that replace the original LED “acorn” lights installed downtown in 2010. Besides being energy efficient, the new cast-aluminum outdoor lamps are historic-looking, durable and dark-sky compliant.
Artist Profile ~ Folwell Studio Celebrates 25 Years
The very first Paul Folwell Studio Show took place in 1993, as friends dropped by the converted garage outside Folwell’s small house on County Road 203. That year, it became official. The garage was now a full-fledged painter’s studio, the workplace of a man who made his living creating art; who every day went to work with oil and canvas and the image of the sun going down shimmering in his mind’s eye. Now, 25 years later, Folwell, who was once part of the original team that created Purgatory Ski Resort in the mid-60s, is today an artist known for his oil paintings of outdoor sports and landscapes.
High Country ~
Columbine Lake: The Crown Jewel of the San Juans
by Sven Brunso
The San Juan Mountains surrounding Durango and Silverton are home to dozens of spectacular high-alpine lakes; a handful are in a league of their own, including the sparkling gem known as Columbine. The azure waters of Columbine Lake are rivaled only by a few places in the Rocky Mountains. Still a relatively unknown hike, the trail starts north of Silverton off Highway 550 at an elevation of just over 10,000 feet. Hiker and writer Brunso describes all the details of this challenging but most rewarding walk in the woods and high country.
Dream Home ~ Cascade Pointe at Windom Ranch
With captivating views and a comfortable elegance, the home is 25 miles north of Durango just off U.S. Highway 550 within the 210 acres of the Windom Ranch conservation area. Represented by Legacy Properties West/Sotheby’s International Realty, Cascade Pointe has 35 private acres covered in native stands of aspen, ponderosa, juniper and gamble oak. It is 11,700 square feet and built to maximize the lake and mountain views with many outdoor overlooks, patios and balconies. The home is landscaped with two ponds and a boulder-built waterfall. Attached at ground level is a three-car, heated garage, with another three-car, heated garage below. A stunning property with gorgeous photos and more details in the full article. Legacy Properties West/Sotheby’s International Realty has a centrally-located downtown office and plans to open an additional office at Trimble Crossing north of Durango later this summer.
Looking at Books ~ Lost Stories from Louis L'Amour: Son Gathers Unfinished Manuscripts
Tall, dark and handsome like his father, Beau L’Amour was in Durango in December of 2017 to sign copies of the book he compiled of the unfinished works from his late-father's archives. His dad Louis L’Amour was often called Durango’s “favorite son” and was one of the world’s most popular novelists. Famously, Louis wrote a long series of books in Durango about the Sackett family from an upstairs corner room at the Strater Hotel beginning in about 1966. The guest room, No. 222, now has a bronze plaque honoring the prolific author and the time he and his family spent there each August for more than a dozen years. Louis L’Amour’s Lost Treasures, Volume One was published in October of 2017.
Giving in Style ~
Honoring First Responders: The Hundred Club of Durango
by Indiana Reed
The Hundred Club of Durango hosted its 41st annual banquet on Nov. 16 at the Henry Strater Theatre to honor local fire, police and sheriff departments. The club is a behind-the-scenes 501 (c)(3) corporation in La Plata that was established in 1974 following a terrible downtown fire that killed two first responders. To this day, within 72 hours of an injury or death of an on duty fire, public safety or law enforcement member, The Hundred Club provides the family with a substantial contribution to help with immediate financial, emotional or advisory needs.