Saturday, March 28, 2020

Pastimes of grounded geezers

How to enjoy being sequestered

by Dawne Belloise

It was actually rather sweet that the local governments took on the roll of mom and grounded all its senior citizens over the age of 60. It makes a statement that the community values its elders and moves to protect them.

In this mountain town, many of our sexagenarians and older are in far better shape than most Americans in their 40s, but the COVID-19 virus that has ravaged the world and thrown us into a full-on lockdown can wreak
havoc with the healthiest seniors, and just as important, strain our limited medical resources, hence the reason to sequester yourself, Boomer.

If you need assistance, supplies, food or medications, even errands run, there’s a Facebook page called Local Love, started by Heather Connor, that matches
volunteer services with those in need and focuses on local, highrisk people who are isolated or quarantined, as well the hourly wage earners who are now out of
work. You can access this page at

Initiating a self-imposed isolation or quarantine doesn’t mean solitary confinement, with today’s social media, internet streaming and live conferencing technology. We’re fortunate up here in our paradise because we can enjoy the outdoors without running into snifflers and contaminants or spreading those germs ourselves. We have open space, wilderness and plenty of
roads that lead to feeling freedom despite the legally imposed or self-imposed quarantine.

Sure, there are wide ranging aspects and consequences of this COVID-19 virus that’s got all of us biting our nails (but don’t— don’t put your fingers in your
mouth or touch your face, and for cripe’s sake, wash those hands) but let’s not focus on that right now. Here are some things for geezers to keep themselves occupied until this thing passes—and it will, and we’ll all work together to get through it because that’s who we are as a community.

Fresh air and sunshine

When the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 screamed across the world, medics discovered that even severely ill flu patients who were attended to in the outdoors, sunshine and fresh air recovered better than those treated indoors.
This practice seems to have prevented deaths among both patients and the medical staff. We now know that ultraviolet radiation in sunlight works as a natural disinfectant and fresh air can help mitigate viruses and other harmful germs. Plus it just feels good to be outside in the mountains. So, get yourself out into the day.

Snow stuff

Just because the lifts aren’t spinning doesn’t mean ski season is over. There’s plenty of snow in the backcountry and you can still skin up the mountain. There are lots of sledding hills in town to slide down and bring out your
inner child. It’s still peak season for snowmobiling in the backcountry. You can Nordic ski or snowshoe out to Gothic, up the Slate or Washington Gulch for
close destinations.

Al Smith is still grooming Cement Creek for Nordic skiing and snowshoeing. The Crested Butte Nordic Center is still grooming their trails and plans to continue through April 12 and possibly longer, as long as conditions
allow. Executive director Christy Hicks says, “It’s important, now more than ever, that we continue to get people outside, so we’re going to do everything
possible to make trails and equipment available to people.”

There are free trails open to the public as well—Town Ranch on the east side of town loops out 5k all the way to Riverbend and the Rec Path is being groomed. The Rec Path can be used for walking, but it’s best to do that in the mornings when the snow is still firm and you don’t posthole and destroy the grooming for
skiing. Season passes are now only $50 and can be purchased online, along with discounted equipment, at Hicks notes that people can also make a donation in lieu of a pass to help support the Nordic Center.


You can circumnavigate town, doing the bridges tour, avoiding downtown and peopled areas. Right now, Peanut Lake Road is gorgeous with its spring views of Paradise Divide and Gothic Mountain and the migratory birds will begin showing up soon as the lake begins to melt. In fact, we’ll probably see the first robins arrive this weekend. Kebler Pass Road is a sweet little two-mile hike up to the trailhead for the Irwin and snowmobiling parking area, and an easy walk
down. Just pick a road or trail and go.

Take a drive

Check out the melting process on Blue Mesa, head over to the Black Canyon as both north and south rims are open, or just cruise up Black Mesa Road
(Highway 92 over the dam), stopping at the various overlooks to peer down into the canyon. Taylor Canyon is also a sweet drive closer to home.


Roaring Judy ponds are open and you can spend many hours in the sun trying to outsmart those fish. Ice fishing on both Taylor and Blue Mesa reservoirs
is still good right now, and the East River is starting to get decent for fly fishing, as is the lower Taylor River and the lower Gunnison River at Cooper’s Ranch. Neversink is just west of Gunnison and is great for both fishing and hiking. If you feel like a drive, the Pleasure Park at the Gunnison River Gorge is a happening spot for fly fishers. Just keep your distance from people and pack a lunch so you stay out of the North Fork Valley restaurants and such.


Grab your townie and head up Peanut Lake Road, Kebler, the mountain or just gently cruise around town. Road biking is great this time of year and so is fatbiking, which you can do on the Nordic trails.

Four walls and more

You don’t ever have to be alone or without conversation with today’s technology and social media. Between Viber, Skype, Zoom, Facetime, Facebook and Messenger and a multitude of computer and phone apps, you can have a virtual cocktail party with all your friends in a group conference. Online, you can learn a new language, find a guitar teacher (there are several local ones who will give you online lessons), jam with other musicians or get heady into academics and take the free online classes now offered by the Ivy League colleges. Read all those books and New Yorker magazines that have piled up on your coffee table all winter. Binge watch those Netflix series you fell behind on. Take a cooking class or learn how to sew. You can go virtually anywhere in
the world.

Download the Zoom app at for your phone or computer to stream yoga, meditation and workouts from some of your local venues that are offering these services. The Community Yoga Co-op is offering some classes streaming live. Thrive Yoga is starting to set up their classes via streaming, as well as meditation sessions.

Still need a workout? Yes you do. Core will be closed but offers workouts, also via live stream, from the Zoom app. Call Core at (970) 349-6613, find them on Facebook or

Get some culture—MUSEUMS

An amazing link from Travel & Leisure ( listing virtual tours of 12 museums across the world is worth an afternoon or rainy day. Google “12 Museums Around the World virtual tour” or in your browser go to

Learn to make Jewelry

Local Meaghan Young has a wonderful online jewelry class called the Silversmithing Club ( that teaches the art of silver working to create earrings, rings and other ornamentation. It’s a good time to learn this ancient craft and adorn yourself and your friends or perhaps develop it into a new career.

One thing is for certain: You’re in the best place you can be during a pandemic, not only for the environment and outdoors, but especially for the wonderfully caring community members who lift each other up and take care of each other.

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