Debra Van Winegarden

Position: Special to The Herald

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

The treasure of Durango’s Hidden Valley hike

Hidden Valley is happening. It is a beloved treasure located only a few miles northwest of Durango. The suspended valley is almost 500 feet higher than the Animas River, separated by a north-south...

DATE: Dec. 18, 2018 | CATEGORY: Outdoors

Boulder Mail Trail a classic in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

October is an ideal time to explore canyon country. The Boulder Mail Trail (BMT) traverses a vast plateau south of Boulder Mountain, Utah, incised with three major canyon systems. Walk through a...

DATE: Oct. 12, 2018 | CATEGORY: Outdoors

A realm of possibilities for climbing, hiking Lizard Head

Lizard Head, a vertical pillar of crumbling unstable rock, is Colorado’s most difficult and dangerous summit climb. Albert Ellingwood and Barton Hoag made the first multi-pitch technical ascent in...

DATE: Sept. 21, 2018 | CATEGORY: Outdoors

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