|From the Owner...
Spring is a mixed bag. Blue skies, dry roads, followed by snow, rain and mud... the same day... twice. Heh, heh, nature's little joke. The message: be nimble. Dress for bike or snowmobile. Very cool (Sorry, jokes abound). This month's newsletter is a good example. I offer ideas about birding, a generally dry endeavor - climate not subject. Meanwhile, Phil Chamberland charms us with snowmobiling in the Gunnison Valley. Phil is a great guy. His wife Missy is a fine valley physician, his daughter, an academic and an equestrian, soon off to college. He knows snow. Please come and enjoy our many fun activities.
Water Wheel Inn Owner
|Gunnison Valley Birding
|Birding. It's a bit like searching for diamonds, only these jewels are skittish and mobile.
Here, in the Gunnison valley we have fabulous feathered finery: the Gunnison Sage-grouse and Rosy Finches. The Sage-grouse is especially unusual and sensitive. During the spring, at dawn, the male grouse visits its particular mating campground called a 'lek', waiting for a chance visit, conjugal he's hoping, with a hen. The male inflates his chest and does an intricate dance — think 'disco' and you're close. Thanks to an organization known as Sisk-a-dee, you can come to Gunny and observe this incredible display and pageantry. This species walks a tricky tightrope with extinction. To allow grouse-friendly viewing, biologists from Western State College and the local state and federal agencies formed Sisk-a-dee, complete with an evening of expert classroom discussion/slide show, followed with an early morning viewing at the lek. I truly enjoyed it and I think you will too.
Rosy Finches, on the other hand, are a raucous group. They flock like the groups of sparrows from my California childhood. Only difference, their tummies twinkle magenta and they frequent Crested Butte.
This time of year Southern Colorado has a bounty of birds: Mountain Plover (www.karval.org), Greater Prairie Chicken (www.wraychamber.net, www.coloradobirdingtrail.com). Our Gunnison Grouse and Rosy Finches complete the feathered bouquet.
Here at the Water Wheel, we have a frequent guest and friend in 'Nop' Paothing. Nop is an incredible nature photographer with infectious enthusiasm. His grouse photos are the best I have ever seen. www.nopnatureimages.com.
|Snowmobiling in the Gunnison Valley
|For the second time in recent years, the snowmobiling community brought a large group of dedicated backcountry recreationalists to the Gunnison Country to enjoy the area's plentiful powder snow, well maintained trail system and friendly restaurants, shops and hotels. This event brought riders and their families from all over the western United States and the Mid-west to Gunnison, Almont and Crested Butte. Riders marveled at the alpine views, fresh snow and small towns making memories that will last a lifetime.
A banquet, awards ceremony and charity event were held in Almont that will benefit our efforts to keep public lands open for responsible motorized recreation. With an eye for safety and rider education, a raffle was held where participants received avalanche beacons, probes, shovels and clothing donated from retailers all across the country.
Riders of all ability levels found excellent terrain and snow conditions from the groomed trails on Kebler Pass, the powder meadows of Splain's Gulch to the trees and wide open bowls above beautiful Lake Irwin. With over 50 miles of groomed trails, the local snowmobile club, SnoTrackers, is looking to expand future grooming operations to provide safe, easy access to the Gunnison Country's public lands. We look forward to future events and working closely with local businesses and entities who actively support and appreciate the economic value of responsible winter motorized recreation.
Phil Chamberland / Vice President
Corey Bryndal / point man for "Forum Ride"
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This mid-week offer valid thru April 30, 2010.
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Slumber in one of our premier suites, relax in a warm Jacuzzi tub, sip champagne and nibble on decadent chocolates. Valid thru April, 20 2010.
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Annual Fur Ball
Al Johnson Uphill/Downhill Ski Race
Guest and Faculty Concert: Ensemble Vivente
Sink or Swim
Waunita Lek Watchable Wildlife Site
CBMR Closing Day of the
The Continuum Project
4 Paws Paradise
Reduce, Reuse, Re-Dress Fashion Show
Soap Style: Gunnison Soap Box Derby
Drums of Uncompahgre
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Events and Festivals
Our 10 Favorite Things