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Need a break from coronavirus? Here are 12 Colorado stories to get your mind off the pandemic

We promise: These have nothing to do with infectious disease

Lizzy Scully and Thad Ferrell paddle and fish on the Gunnison River in June 2018. (Steve Fassbinder, Special to The Colorado Sun)

Let’s face it: Everywhere you turn right now it’s all about the new coronavirus. And for good reason. 

COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, is spreading quickly across Colorado, prompting a rearrangement of daily life as we knew it. Many of us are locked in our homes, wondering when this will all be over and praying that day comes sooner than later. 

But it’s only healthy to change the subject when at all possible, and your friend at The Colorado Sun are here to help.

(If you do want to check out our coronavirus coverage, you can find all of it here.)

Here are 12 stories about Colorado that are both upbeat and have absolutely nothing to do with the coronavirus, or any other infectious disease, for that matter. Keep this handy and enjoy it whenever you need a break from the noise.

One quote in particular from one of these stories seems especially relevant right now: “I had to reinvent myself. I’m back but I’m different:”

Enjoy.


Alan Peak shows off a brown trout he caught in Fountain Creek, its banks lined with trash, near the Tejon Street overpass near downtown Colorado Springs on June 12, 2019. (Jesse Paul, The Colorado Sun)

1. Colorado Springs’ downtown creek has long been viewed as a blight. Then one man started catching trout in it.

Colorado Springs is one of only a few remaining Front Range cities without a creek or river being regularly used for recreation. “There’s so many opportunities,” said Alan Peak.

2. How does a rural Colorado county with three people per square mile send 30 students to an Ivy League institution?

A 19th-century lawyer came to Las Animas County to save his life. He built a fortune and, one generation later, inspired the scholarship that created a pipeline to Princeton University.

Trevor Thomas stops for a photo with his guide dog Lulu earlier this month on the Collegiate Loop Trail. (Photo courtesy Trevor Thomas)

3. He climbed and descended 50,000 vertical feet for 13 days — blind. His dog, Lulu, showed him the way.

Trevor Thomas, the world’s only blind, sponsored through-hiker, returned to Colorado with a new dog to take a second run at the daunting Collegiate Loop Trail.

4. Could Colorado see the return of grizzlies, wolves and wild bison? Here’s how Montanans coexist with them.

Up north, grizzlies are roaming in places they haven’t been in decades and there are enough wolves that hunters are allowed to shoot five apiece

Klaus Obermeyer takes to the pool every morning to swim nearly a half-mile before going to the gym. He turned 100 on Monday, Dec. 2, 2019. (Kesley Brunner, The Aspen Times)

5. As Aspen ski icon Klaus Obermeyer turns 100, he reflects on how he stays so fit and positive

“I aimed at making a lot of things better and make it more fun for people to be outdoors and to make skiing more enjoyable and safer and share that pleasure with more and more people. And it worked.”

6. Grand Junction used to be a place young people fled. Now, millennial entrepreneurs are flocking there for opportunity.

The Western Slope city is shedding its image as a Shangri-La for shuffling seniors. Could it be that Grand Junction is now cool?

The lifts stopped turning at Cuchara Valley in 2000 and following a history of closures at the southern Colorado ski area, the Forest Service pulled its permit to operate on public land in 2001. (Paul Smith, Special to The Colorado Sun)

7. A southern Colorado town is dreaming of a revived ski hill in the wake of Texas investors’ big busts

A nonprofit foundation plans to open a single lift accessing 56 acres at the former Cuchara Valley ski area in southern Colorado, which closed in 2000 after a parade of failed investors

8. A Colorado photographer thought he was alone in the Wyoming mountains. Then he heard a rescue helicopter.

Dean Krakel accidentally triggered a tricky search and rescue operation while sleeping in his tent — something that can happen with satellite messengers

An archeologist sifts through Garden of the Gods Park dirt in search of Gen. William Jackson Palmer’s trash on Nov. 19, 2018. (Jesse Paul, The Colorado Sun)

9. “This just does not happen”: A Garden of the Gods garbage heap is revealing big clues about the founder of Colorado Springs

Colorado Springs’ founder, William Jackson Palmer, left clues about his life in a trash dump that archaeologists have been sifting through for weeks

10. A deputy’s knack for sussing out mules has made a lonely stretch of I-70 the top drug-bust site in Colorado

Mesa County deputy Mike Miller has patrolled a stretch of desert west of Grand Junction for decades. The DEA says his busts have kept 20 tons of illicit drugs off the streets

11. An apple revival near Four Corners is restoring hundreds of historic fruits — and the local ag economy

Using DNA testing in southwest Colorado, the Montezuma Orchard Restoration project welcomes back apple varieties like Winter Banana, Blue Pearmain, Ben Davis and Esopus Spitzenburg — and businesses are sprouting around them.

Lizzy Scully and Thad Ferrell paddle and fish on the Gunnison River in June 2018. (Steve Fassbinder, Special to The Colorado Sun)

12. “I had to reinvent myself. I’m back but I’m different:” A southwest Colorado man recovers from a devastating mountain climbing fall

It was a fun day that Thad Ferrell can’t rememberbut the climbing partner who witnessed the fall can’t forget.

Bonus Round!

If you still haven’t had enough, here are a few more worth your time:

An archway over Manitou Avenue welcomes visitors to Manitou Springs on Jan. 29, 2020. (Mark Reis, Special to The Colorado Sun)
Kristen Amicarelle, right, and Kathleen George trim and package chocolate bars at Nuance Chocolate on Wednesday, February 5, 2020. George said she can package about 100 bars per day. (Valerie Mosley, Special to the Colorado Sun)
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