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Best Of 2001

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Best Of :: Sports & Recreation

Best Moonlight Walk

Although it's sometimes difficult to tell the difference between the lights on E-470 and the light of the moon, the evening walks at the Plains Conservation Center, a 1,100-acre plot of preserved prairie, can still transport you to another time and place. The center hosts a walk during the full moons of every month except January and February. Each one celebrates a different feature of the natural world, but all delve into history, ecology and cultural stories about the moon. For instance, there's the Hunger Moon in March, when walkers carry warmed baked potatoes, and the Coyote Moon, during which you can call out to the local "moondogs" to see if they'll respond. All walks start at about 7:30 p.m., last a little more than two hours and end with a campfire and marshmallow roast. Everyone is invited, although reservations are required, and the center discourages small children because of the length of the walks.

Best Bike Ride -- Trail

The biggest problem for Denver's mountain bikers is that there are so many good trails to choose from, starting with the serpentine paths along Cherry Creek and extending to the numerous routes crisscrossing the hogbacks and foothills just west of town. For variety and a tough nearby challenge, though, you can't get much better than Mountain Lion Trail, a seven-mile tangle of roots, rocks, stream crossings and steep climbs only a half hour west of Denver, in Golden Gate State Park outside of Golden. The rangers list the trail as moderate, but beware: That's only for hikers. Two-wheel travelers will find it considerably more rigorous. Follow the signs off of Route 93, west of Golden.

Best Bike Ride -- Trail

The biggest problem for Denver's mountain bikers is that there are so many good trails to choose from, starting with the serpentine paths along Cherry Creek and extending to the numerous routes crisscrossing the hogbacks and foothills just west of town. For variety and a tough nearby challenge, though, you can't get much better than Mountain Lion Trail, a seven-mile tangle of roots, rocks, stream crossings and steep climbs only a half hour west of Denver, in Golden Gate State Park outside of Golden. The rangers list the trail as moderate, but beware: That's only for hikers. Two-wheel travelers will find it considerably more rigorous. Follow the signs off of Route 93, west of Golden.

Best Private Climb

When you're trying to bag all 54 of Colorado's fourteeners, Culebra Peak could be your steepest challenge. Not because it's such a difficult climb; the mountain rises relatively gently above what used to be the Taylor Ranch west of Trinidad in Culebra County. The problem is that Culebra Peak stands on private land, and while previous owners would let climbers in -- charging as much as $40 per person -- in 1999, the peak became off limits to mountaineers entirely. But last July, the Colorado Mountain Club was granted access to take thirty people to the top of Culebra. At $30 per climber, it went so well that the club hopes to schedule more trips this summer. That 54th peak? It's almost in the bag.

Best Private Climb

When you're trying to bag all 54 of Colorado's fourteeners, Culebra Peak could be your steepest challenge. Not because it's such a difficult climb; the mountain rises relatively gently above what used to be the Taylor Ranch west of Trinidad in Culebra County. The problem is that Culebra Peak stands on private land, and while previous owners would let climbers in -- charging as much as $40 per person -- in 1999, the peak became off limits to mountaineers entirely. But last July, the Colorado Mountain Club was granted access to take thirty people to the top of Culebra. At $30 per climber, it went so well that the club hopes to schedule more trips this summer. That 54th peak? It's almost in the bag.

Best Discography

It wasn't so long ago that the guys of Boulder-based OAITW were a decent-enough disc-tossing bunch. But they weren't getting any younger, and so a couple of years ago they decided to do something so drastic it is virtually unheard of in many Frisbee circles: practice. It paid off. In 1999, the masters-level (a mere 33 years old and over, in the skewed view of disc throwers) squad won the Ultimate Frisbee national championship. That, in turn, qualified the team to compete in last summer's quadrennial world championships, held in Germany. The team members, some of whom are actually in their -- gasp! -- forties, won. Three more years of bragging rights.

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Best Moonlight Walk: Plains Conservation Center

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