Debra Van Winegarden

Position: Special to The Herald

McMillan Peak: ‘A treasure to be shared’

Before writing this column, I checked in with Betsy Petersen. She has been climbing McMillan Peak near Red Mountain Pass on various routes for 20 years and has introduced the mountain to more than...

DATE: Sept. 19, 2020 | CATEGORY: Outdoors

The kaleidoscope summit of Grizzly Peak

In Durango, Grizzly Peak has garnered a considerable mystique. As viewed from U.S. Highway 550 south of the Cascade bend, it appears somewhat dark and daunting. It may be seen for a fleeting moment...

DATE: Aug. 8, 2020 | CATEGORY: Outdoors

A story of peaks and ponds: North Snowdon a Durango conquest

As you are driving north up U.S. Highway 550 about to top Molas Pass, look to the east and you will see Snowdon Peak. The mountain is distinguished by the “W” notched into its south ridge. ...

DATE: July 18, 2020 | CATEGORY: Outdoors

Smelter Mountain serves as outdoor classroom during COVID-19

The new coronavirus pandemic has upended our lives. Schools are closed, businesses shuttered and we are following stay-at-home orders. Daily exercise is essential to keep our heads on straight. For...

DATE: April 17, 2020 | CATEGORY: Outdoors

Spring break at the desert mountain of Mount Wrightson

A few years ago, I was on a small island off the coast of Maine when a friend strode into the kitchen with a topographical map of Mount Wrightson. “You really should climb this mountain. It’s the...

DATE: Feb. 21, 2020 | CATEGORY: Outdoors

Flaming hues of fall close to Durango

Nature has thrown the switch. Rabbitbrush pumps out the wattage. Gambel oak weaves flaming tapestries. Aspens spin translucent yellow disks. You needn’t drive up into the mountains to celebrate...

DATE: Oct. 12, 2019 | CATEGORY: Outdoors

Incomparable Uncompahgre Peak

If you are going to climb a Colorado fourteener this summer, why not go big? At elevation 14,309 feet, Uncompahgre Peak is the highest point in the San Juan Mountains. The first recorded ascent...

DATE: Sept. 7, 2019 | CATEGORY: Outdoors

Hematite Basin: Lake, Flowers and Peaks

Submerge yourself in a riot of flowers while hiking to Arctic blue Hematite Lake. A few miles east of Silverton, this trail will present a superb wildflower tour through mid-August. Satiated by...

DATE: Aug. 9, 2019 | CATEGORY: Outdoors

Oscar’s calls to those longing for high country

Finally, we can get high. The south-facing slopes of the big mountains in southern Colorado have shed their snow and are ready to climb. Ascend to Oscar’s Pass and Oscar’s Peak on non-motorized...

DATE: July 19, 2019 | CATEGORY: Outdoors

Natural sandstone arches of New Mexico

Perhaps you have heard tell of hidden natural sandstone arches in northern New Mexico, and among them a free-standing thin ribbon of rock. Anasazi Arch rises from its mother stone in a perfect...

DATE: June 28, 2019 | CATEGORY: Outdoors

Break out the hiking shoes at Barnroof Point

It is time to hit the dirt. It has been a big, long winter, and the lofty mountains of Southwest Colorado are inaccessible. But there is one open for business, one you probably have not thought of....

DATE: June 6, 2019 | CATEGORY: Outdoors

Sonoran super bloom at Mount Ajo, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

Way down at the bottom of the country, very near the Arizona border with Mexico, lies Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. The divide in the rugged Ajo Range delineates the eastern boundary of the...

DATE: March 8, 2019 | CATEGORY: Outdoors

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