One of Denver's prime eccentrics, historian Phil Goodstein's made the city his oyster to mine, and that's just what he's done -- he's excavated every nook, cranny and obscurity in the town's history and turned the dirt into an entertaining series of trivia-heavy tours, loaded with stories about graft and ghosts and grisly murders, including his popular Haunted Halloween rambles offered each fall through Colorado Free University. You think you know this city, but Goodstein's got you beat.
While the rest of us toil and sweat to pay off the mortgage, the folks at Swallow Hill Music Hall came up with a better idea: make it fun. So, this summer they organized a pair of leisurely floats down the Gunnison River, with gourmet camp vittles and music to match: The first, which embarked last weekend, featured zen cowboy and songwriter extraordinaire Chuck Pyle at the entertainment helm; the second, scheduled for August, features poetic cowpoke-type Roz Brown. Proceeds go into Swallow Hill's mortgage kitty. What a great way to stay afloat.

While the rest of us toil and sweat to pay off the mortgage, the folks at Swallow Hill Music Hall came up with a better idea: make it fun. So, this summer they organized a pair of leisurely floats down the Gunnison River, with gourmet camp vittles and music to match: The first, which embarked last weekend, featured zen cowboy and songwriter extraordinaire Chuck Pyle at the entertainment helm; the second, scheduled for August, features poetic cowpoke-type Roz Brown. Proceeds go into Swallow Hill's mortgage kitty. What a great way to stay afloat.

This page is so handy and neat, you'll never again mail away for another brochure in anticipation of planning your Colorado camping trip. Want to go swimming? Rock climbing? Sailboarding? With a mouse for a muse, you can easily find the park that best suits your interests and specific needs, whether it's birdwatching, interpretive programs, school programs, wildlife watching, ice fishing or whatever. All you've got to do is log on and select from activities, facilities or specific parks -- then click, click, click, you'll be out in the sticks.

This page is so handy and neat, you'll never again mail away for another brochure in anticipation of planning your Colorado camping trip. Want to go swimming? Rock climbing? Sailboarding? With a mouse for a muse, you can easily find the park that best suits your interests and specific needs, whether it's birdwatching, interpretive programs, school programs, wildlife watching, ice fishing or whatever. All you've got to do is log on and select from activities, facilities or specific parks -- then click, click, click, you'll be out in the sticks.

Nomadic Mongolians became a horde because they knew how to survive, and you can bet the yurt played a part in their survival: A circular, portable tent that kept them warm while they hoofed it through the frigid wasteland, the yurt is now proving to be a popular alternative for winter campers in Colorado. Colorado State Parks now offers yurt accommodations -- skylighted, low-impact canvas tents wrapped around wooden frames and featuring wood-burning, gas or electric heat -- by reservation at State Forest and Ridgway state parks, for a reasonable fee (also coming soon to Pearl Lake, Mancos and Golden Gate state parks).

Nomadic Mongolians became a horde because they knew how to survive, and you can bet the yurt played a part in their survival: A circular, portable tent that kept them warm while they hoofed it through the frigid wasteland, the yurt is now proving to be a popular alternative for winter campers in Colorado. Colorado State Parks now offers yurt accommodations -- skylighted, low-impact canvas tents wrapped around wooden frames and featuring wood-burning, gas or electric heat -- by reservation at State Forest and Ridgway state parks, for a reasonable fee (also coming soon to Pearl Lake, Mancos and Golden Gate state parks).

They love their Greater Prairie Chickens up in Yuma County, where every spring the citizens like to provide ringside seats to the biggest show in town: The lucky folks who sign up are taken out to the lek (or booming ground) at four in the morning to watch the male prairie chickens do their strange and amazing song and dance for the chicks. You have to go there yourself to truly find out why it's called a booming ground, but it has something to do with the incredible bassoon-like bellowing that occurs when the randy boy chickens strut, flap and go head to head, all the while inflating and deflating bright red balloon-like air sacs on their necks in a desperate attempt to attract female attention. Sure, you could sit at home and watch Animal Planet instead, but trust us on this one: There's nothing else like it. Make your reservations early.
They love their Greater Prairie Chickens up in Yuma County, where every spring the citizens like to provide ringside seats to the biggest show in town: The lucky folks who sign up are taken out to the lek (or booming ground) at four in the morning to watch the male prairie chickens do their strange and amazing song and dance for the chicks. You have to go there yourself to truly find out why it's called a booming ground, but it has something to do with the incredible bassoon-like bellowing that occurs when the randy boy chickens strut, flap and go head to head, all the while inflating and deflating bright red balloon-like air sacs on their necks in a desperate attempt to attract female attention. Sure, you could sit at home and watch Animal Planet instead, but trust us on this one: There's nothing else like it. Make your reservations early.
Chris and Phil Switzer may be the state's foremost alpaca people -- they were the first in the region to raise the woolly creatures, and Chris -- who has a college degree in weaving -- has published a primer on how to spin llama and alpaca wool and runs workshops at the annual Estes Park Wool Market. Phil has credentials, too -- he helped form the Estes Park-based Alpaca Owners and Breeders Association, is a certified fleece judge and has run the alpaca tent at the wool market. And when they're not attending to all those duties, the couple raises and sells the fleecy beasts, keeping a herd of about fifty sweet and cuddly camelids (the babies are especially cute). Visitors should call ahead, and plan to peruse the Switzer's store for weaving supplies, fiber, books, tools and finished items. It's nothing to spit at.

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