In this installment of our ongoing series of features on roadside attractions in Southern Colorado and Northern New Mexico we stop off at the lovely Valley View Hot Springs in the San Luis Valley. True to its name, the series of mostly warm pools (with the exception of the small round hot tub [...]

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In our most recent installment of Western Skies, we explored the proximity between the perceptions and realities of the West and cowboy culture. We made a visit to the Western Jubilee Recording Company in Colorado Springs on a recent night where famed cowboy poet, Waddie Mitchell recited his poems and Western guitar player, Rich O’Brien [...]

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For photographer and avid hiker Matt Payne, hiking Colorado’s highest summits has become infinitely more than a conquest or “bucket list.” The creator of 100Summits.com, Payne picked up the love of “list” hiking from his father as a boy and turned it into an avocation. Using an unusual combination of ratings data [...]

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The Interior Department says it will work with Colorado on three water and land conservation projects…and, officials have closed the Baca County Fairgrounds as a precaution until further notice due to the recent outbreak of Equine Herpes Virus.

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Cheyenne Mountain State Park played host to this past weekend’s Cheyenne Mountain Explosion professional mountain bike race, but the park also has its fair share of beginning and intermediate rides on well-maintained forest trails that offer fantastic up-close views of Pikes Peak granite on the south face of Cheyenne Mountain, which, [...]

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For photographer and avid hiker Matt Payne, hiking Colorado’s highest summits has become infinitely more than a conquest or “bucket list.” The creator of 100Summits.com, Payne picked up the love of “list” hiking from his father as a boy and turned it into an avocation. Using an unusual combination of ratings data [...]

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With the weather set to get up into the 70s in the next few days we thought we’d dust off this feature about one of our favorite local trails from June 2009.

The Palmer Trail (to Red Rock Canyon) from High Drive is a nice afternoon mountain bike ride for intermediate riders that’s [...]

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Return to Space Mountain

On February 28, 2011 By

For all the unquestionable beauty of our ubiquitous natural surroundings, even the Front Range and Garden of the Gods can become hard to truly see in any meaningful sense. Like “THE MOST PHOTOGRAPHED BARN IN AMERICA” in Don Delillo’s novel “White Noise,” the local scenery can become advertisements for ideas about the local scenery. We thought about his as we wandered through Garden of the Gods on a warm, late afternoon last week as the sun was just about to drop behind Pikes Peak…

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In the late 19th Century, the residents of Colorado Springs celebrated the fertility of their thriving new city by festooning themselves and all manner of their conveyances with flowers. The Flower Parade marched the streets of downtown Colorado Springs from 1893 to 1912, when it was transformed into a more “Cowboys and Indians” type [...]

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The debate about whether graffiti is art or vice-versa is a bit tedious, if you don’t mind us saying so. There are certainly instances where some young wastrel’s poorly scrawled tag amounts to little more than a dog lifting his leg on a hydrant. That said, the hideous paint-roller cover-up jobs (usually in brown [...]

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(Slide show is best viewed in full-screen mode by clicking on the arrows in the lower right-hand corner of the player. Click the right and left arrow buttons on the lower left to move through the slides. All photos by Noel Black and Michael Myers.)

One year ago, photographer Michael Myers and [...]

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Would That It Would Snow

On December 8, 2010 By

Last year on this date, we posted this little slide show of a x-city skiing adventure after a huge snowstorm turned the city into a lovely winter playground.

There are few things more magical than cross-country skiing through city streets on a snowy day. But snow, sustained cold temperatures and lack [...]

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We say it a lot here on The Big Something: Our open spaces are our greatest local treasures. Who among us hasn’t enjoyed Red Rock Canyon or the newly added Section 16 at least once? Today, City Council will consider the purchase of the Anderson property, which would add 72 acres to the newly purchased Corral Bluffs open space just east of Colorado Springs.

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The Original Monster Truck

On October 25, 2010 By

This historic Chevy commercial was shot on the declivities of Pikes Peak by Alexander Film Company. At first it seems that this might be nothing more than a routine drive up the Pikes Peak Highway in an attempt to impress the less savvy of their would-be customers with the dramatic backdrops offered by Pikes Peak. But then they actually drive the truck up… well, not straight , but pretty darn straight up at least a part of the mountain.

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Williams Canyon Then & Now

On October 19, 2010 By

If you missed the aspens in the mountains, Fall is just getting started on the cottonwoods and gambel oaks in the lower elevations and the mild weather looks to hang on in the 60s through the weekend. This past weekend we went to one of our favorite in-town hikes: Williams Canyon.

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You don’t have to be a rock climber or a mountaineer to appreciate the outer limits of human ability and endurance to which these athletes often push themselves. For the past five years Colorado College graduate Pete Mortimer (’97) has been helping to curate Reel Rock, a mini touring film festival that features most daring and innovative climbers and mountaineers from around the world. This year’s festival includes films about a free climber who uses a base parachute instead of ropes to ascend some of the most spectacular climbs in the world by himself; a speed-climber and alpinist who climbs the Eiger in under 3 hours; and two young men from Boulder who complete the most technically difficult bouldering routes in the world.

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Last Friday, I joined the 4th and 5th grade classes from Buena Vista Elementary School for a field trip to the Fountain Creek Nature Center to see what we could see. And see we saw: butterflies, snakes, snails, birds, bugs, spiders and much more. If you haven’t been to the FCNC of late, or ever, do treat yourself to a couple of hours of and some time at the visitors center at any time of year.

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While the term arborglyphs is usually reserved for the tree carvings of Basque and Irish sheepherders who used aspen trunks to communicate with one another came to the United States to tend sheep in places like the Pacific Northwest and Nevada there’s a strange poetry to the furtively carved initials and hearts that scar the aspens along the old road to Cripple Creek. Usually little more than crude initials, a heart and perhaps a date, these scratchings, taken as a whole, are less acts of senseless vandalism than amorous expressions inspired in part, no doubt, by the irresistible beauty of the aspens.

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Ode to Section 16

On September 29, 2010 By

Yesterday, the Colorado Springs City Council approved the purchase of Section 16 from the State of Colorado, adding 640 acres of adjacent open space to the already remarkable Red Rock Canyon Open Space and the recently purchased White Acres, preserving for the community an inestimable treasure that will be a legacy for many generations to come. Local teacher and writer Eva Syrovy is a regular at Section 16 and wrote this essay, which accompanies the slide show above.

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Yesterday, in the first installment of our journey down the Lower Arkansas River from Pueblo to Avondale, we found our way onto the river, wobbled around a bit and discovered the joys of this seldom-traveled, slow-water canoe trip. In the second part, here, we see a lots of weird things and piles of concrete, some handsome wildlife, and a lot more river-beaten trash. The we take an unplanned dip in the river and…

See the exciting conclusion of our two part series!

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Late last month, Craig Richardson and I, having heard only rumors of its passability by boat, decided to take a trip down the lower Arkansas River from Pueblo to Avondale. So we purchased a used Mohawk canoe from a gentleman on Craiglist for $220, borrowed some paddles and life jackets and, drove to Pueblo and …

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It’s almost impossible to believe how controversial many of Christo and Jean-Claude’s projects have been. After all, they work with fabric. Yet even in New York City the infamous Orange Gates took 26 years to realize after many controversies. The Over the River Project, which would cover 5.9 miles of the Arkansas River, is no different and there are 11 days left to comment.

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Wanda Reaves, Project Manager for the Colorado Mountain Reclamation Foundation invited The Big Something on morning sojourn up the Queens Canyon Quarry scar. Shrouded in mystery for the mere fact that it isn’t open to the public, Wanda helped us demystify the history, the reclamation process and why it is that it is unlikely ever to become an open space or a public park.

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News

AP
October 22, 2014 | NPR · State and local health officials will begin monitoring all passengers entering the U.S. from countries hard hit from Ebola. The monitoring will last for 21 days.
 

AP
October 22, 2014 | NPR · A month after a man armed with a knife leapt the White House fence and got deep into the first floor of the building, another man made a run across the north lawn Wednesday night.
 

AP
October 22, 2014 | NPR · The St. Louis Post-Disptatch has obtained an autopsy report on the shooting of Michael Brown. It leaves a lot of questions about the shooting of the 18-year-old by Officer Darren Wilson.
 

Arts & Life

Luma Bites
October 22, 2014 | NPR · Two entrepreneurs have developed new tricks to make food that’s literally illuminating, using ingredients that are as natural and unprocessed as possible. It’s just basic food chemistry, folks.
 

October 22, 2014 | NPR · When Gerard Russell was a diplomat in the Middle East, he met followers of ancient religions facing extinction. His new book includes the origins of the Yazidis, who are fleeing the Islamic State.
 

October 22, 2014 | NPR · Atavist Books launched with aims of upending the print-first publishing model. Now it’s announcing its plans to close. Meanwhile, partnerships between public libraries and airports are taking off.
 

Music

October 22, 2014 | NPR · Steven Ellison has built an impressive reputation among critics and fans in the know for mixing hip hop, jazz and electronica into something original. But even for the aforementioned followers, the new album from Ellison — better-known as Flying Lotus — is a surprise. It’s all about death, not as something to be mourned but as a journey to be anticipated.
 

Mountain Stage
October 22, 2014 | NPR · The West Virginia natives, both widely respected in the world of string-band music, perform live.
 

Courtesy of the artist
October 22, 2014 | WXPN · The rootsy folk-rock band formed after its singer heard a harpist through his apartment wall.
 

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