Backpacker Magazine: where to raise your kids

It comes as no surprise to me that Backpacker Magazine has named Boulder, Colorado as the #1 place in the US to raise an outdoor kid. Boulder has a lot going for it: 300 sunny days per year, relatively low crime rate, beautiful scenery, fairly low taxes, a major university, proximity to a large metropolitan city (Denver) and an international airport, close proximity to the Rocky Mountains allowing a plethora of outdoor activities such as skiing, hiking, climbing, rafting – I could go on and on!

Hallet Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park

Hallet Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park

The only thing is, I’m not the only one who knows this, due in part to the many “Best Places” articles that have been written over the years, such as the one in Backpacker Magazine. But population growth here is nothing new. In fact,  Boulder instituted its first growth ordinance in 1976. I first came to visit Boulder in 1991 and decided to move here in 1996. Since then, I’ve watched the area surrounding Boulder grow at an unchecked rate. Bloated suburbs, congested roads, compromised air quality (oh, that’s right, it all blows over to Nebraska), and the social chill that accompanies overpopulation has made Boulder a somewhat different place Read More

Independence Day in the Black Hills, Mount Rushmore’s Celebration


Mount Rushmore Fireworks

With July 4th coming up this Saturday, the Black Hills are brimming with excitement. Mount Rushmore has celebrated July 4th with one of the largest fireworks displays in the country for the past twelve years and this year’s event is sure to be another memorable display.

When I saw the fireworks at Mount Rushmore a few years ago, I had been busy rock climbing in the Needles near Sylvan Lake. By the time we got back on the Needles Highway to get to Mount Rushmore, traffic was already heavy. So we decided to turn around and try to come in from the east, but it was too late. People were everywhere and cars had pulled off at every turnout and on the shoulder of the road to try and secure a place with a clear view of “The Faces”.

I decided that I had better do the same before it was too late, but there was just no place to pull over. The air was getting cooler so I knew the sun had begun its descent over the hills Read More